Fashion Ones to Watch Muse

Your new fashion icon: Hannah Bennett

University of York student Hannah Bennett speaks to Beki Elmer about being represented by leading model agency, IMG Models.

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Hi Hannah! How does it feel to be represented by such a prestigious firm?
I've only been officially signed since January so it's still pretty surreal to be honest. But I've been surprised by how lovely everyone is - there's a stereotype with the fashion industry that everyone is going to be mean and bitchy but within the agency there's such a great atmosphere, they really want what's best for their girls so they've been incredibly supportive and made me feel really welcome.

[caption id="attachment_121363" align="alignright" width="640"]Image: IMG
Image: IMG

You're already a famous face among York's student fashion publications, what took your modelling career to the next level?
I think being friends with the majority of the HARD Magazine editorial team definitely had something to do with that. Strangely enough I actually got into modelling through Instagram. I followed Jeni Rose on Instagram, who is the vice-president of scouting for IMG, because she was always posting cool pictures of the new girls they were signing and she just happened to click on my profile and got in touch with me that way. It was just pure luck that she happened to spot me. But it was definitely nice having already been on set and done a few shoots before I started- it meant I didn't feel completely lost when I first went on shoots with professional photographers.

What are the biggest ups and downs of the business? And what's been a highlight for you so far?
The industry seems to be entirely up and down. Everything is incredibly last minute too - I've received emails at 7pm before asking if I could shoot in London at 10am the next day and castings will quite often be only 24 hours before the show starts. The biggest ups and downs have got to be in Fashion Week. I went on six castings in one day and heard nothing then a day later booked my first show. Walking for Marques' Almeida has got to be my highlight, the adrenaline rush is just incredible, even just being backstage is amazing - at one point I had two different people doing my make up with a third physically pulling me away to do a run through - it's absolute chaos but so much fun.

Do you think this is something you're likely to pursue after uni?
Definitely. IMG is a great agency in that they don't just want flash in the pan girls, they want to try to cultivate a career and build up relationships with clients and are very particular about what jobs they send me on because of that. Hopefully I'll be able to commit to it full time for a while once I've left York, and maybe even travel to other countries and work there for a while.

[caption id="attachment_121364" align="alignright" width="640"]Image: IMG
Image: IMG

How on earth do you manage to juggle both uni work, IMG and still have time to socialise?
It can be tough - I've missed shoots in London and things in York because I've had deadlines or not been there. I've learnt to be very efficient on trains and managed to get decent amounts of work done on my way to and from jobs, plus there's quite often a lot of waiting around on set so I can take work with me. It's mostly just about making the most of the time you've got, I definitely miss a lot fewer lectures than I did in my first year because I know I've got to miss others and can't afford to miss them so much anymore. IMG have been really understanding as well, if I tell them I can't work for a week because I've got essays due in then they book me out, and I've got about four weeks booked off during exams so I won't be stressed about trying to do both.

Can you give any tips to students who want to pursue a modelling career?
As much as most girls still get scouted on the streets like the typical scouting story, I would say social media is an incredible new tool for agencies. I wasn't the first girl that IMG found on Instagram - there are actually about a dozen of us. They've now set up an account called We Love Your Genes especially for scouting. If you hashtag #WLYG on a photo then they have people who are there specifically to search through the photos for new girls. The account's got nearly 35,000 followers and there are over 146,000 photos with the hashtag and although other brands, such as Marc Jacobs's #CastMeMarc, have used social media to scout new faces, it's the biggest ever attempt of its kind.

You can find Hannah's full modelling profile here.

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