Chantale Nadeau Model Placement was founded in Toronto, Canada in 2005 and represents some of Canada’s most beautiful and successful models. Over the past decade we have launched and managed the careers of top models such as Richelle Dobson, Simona McIntyre, Dani Seitz and Sophie Touchet. We are always looking for our next super star.
Please read the following interview with Chantale Nadeau published in Dress to Kill Magazine in the Summer 2014 issue.
Chantale poses with a select group of her models currently working internationally. From left to right, Gaby Oulette, Fred Juneau, Ashtyn Franklin, Sindy Tremblay, Sophie Touchet, Chantale Nadeau and Emma Genier.
Who should be a model?
A lot of girls are surprised that once they start modeling this industry is not at all what they expected. The glitz and glamour is really only a very small part of the model’s day to day work; this is why to be a successful model you need to have the right personality for the job. You need to be a people person, need to have a great sense of adventure, be independent, be optimistic, and a very hard worker.
How did you start in the modeling business?
I started modeling at 16 years old. I am from Riviere-du-Loup, Quebec, and I decided to head to Toronto for the summer to learn English. While I was there, people asked me constantly if I was a model so I figured I would give it a try. I ended up modeling for over 20 years all over the world before starting my agency in 2005.
What was the highlight of your modeling career?
When I look back at my modeling career it isn’t really the modeling contracts and the money I made that I remember, but the incredible places my journey took me and people that I met along the way. I remember shooting on location on the Ayers Rock on the middle of Australia, sailing through New Caledonia, spending a day with circus performers in Berlin or having tea at the Mamounia Hotel in Morocco. Modeling has given me incredible opportunities and opened the world to me!
You are from Rivière-du-Loup, then a Montréalaise. Why setting your agency in Toronto?
I met my husband here, in Toronto, when I first came at 16, and we are still together today! We also have a 9 years old son.
Who are your model discoveries?
I started my agency about 9 years ago and I discovered so many fantastic models. My main goal is not just to discover them but mentor them and help them grow from teenagers into amazing, happy women. Some of my most successful models on the international circuit have been Richelle Dobson, Simona McIntyre, Dani Seitz and my new star Sophie Touchet who is in high demand right now.
What types of models do you represent?
Not all the models can be walking the runways for the top designers. Most of the girls can have a great career and travel the world doing advertising and catalogue work. My agency is probably 50/50 commercial and editorial models. The ages of my models range from 14 years old to 35 years old.
What are you looking for when scouting for models?
There are a certain physical criteria for modeling that I first need to “check off”: height (over 5’7” on the short side), a naturally slim frame, healthy hair and beautiful skin. I look for women with warm and inviting personalities. I meet a lot of girls and I turn down most of them: they just don’t have that little flame inside that I am looking for!
What’s the most important skill that a model manager should have?
I am asked this question often and I think being resourceful and creative is the most important skill. In this industry, things rarely go as planned. You often have to come up with a “plan B”. In my case my strength comes from my own personal experiences as a model for over 20 years. I can relate to the girls, I’ve “been there and done that.” I have usually made the same mistakes and I have found a way to make it all work out in the end. A lot of my girls joke and say that when they are telling me about a recent experience or situation, that I can always top it with a better or far worse experience.
How has the Internet changed the modeling industry?
Do a lot of new faces come to you via social media mainly Instagram or Twitter?
I was just telling someone today that since I have been in this industry, I have never seen it change as rapidly as it did in the past year. Everything seems to go so much faster. I am always in contact with my models and available for them 24/7 due to the technical advantages. I feel better knowing that I can be in touch with my models around the world and they can always reach me.
My Instagram has become a very prominent tool in the promotion of my models. If I post a Polaroid of a new face with the “right look” I am generally bombarded with requests from photographers, clients and agencies around the world interested to know more. It’s become a bit of a race. The agencies that are on top of their social media presence are the ones with the future in mind. The industry is evolving and it is important for me and my models to maintain an active presence on the internet. You can follow me on Instagram @chantalenadeau.
How do you feel the scouting of models is evolving?
Where is it heading in the next years?
In my case I don’t think it will change much since most of my new models are referred to me, but I do believe the international agencies are becoming more selective since the criteria is changing so fast. In recent months the requests from agencies around the world for younger models has lessened due to new child labor laws in the USA. This works in my favor because I can spend more time with young girls to develop them into models, instead of them being thrust into the market, often prematurely. It’s very much a “supply and demand” market so as changes trickle down from the top designers and clients, I adapt my business.
What is the most indemand ‘look’ in the world for the next season?
It’s nearly impossible to predict. I have a theory that beauty will always be a trend so I tend to look more for beauties than extra quirky or very unique girls.
How could you tell just from a snapshot if a girl has what it takes to be a model?
I can see potential in the most unflattering photos or ungroomed girls. I am not sure why I have this ability but it has been well honed in my time in the industry. It’s almost like I can make a 2D photo into 3D and see the girl’s greatest potential and the extent of their beauty. Often my colleagues are amazed at how some of the girls develop once I put on my magic touch!
What is the typically percentage an agency takes for commission?
Most models agencies in Canada and the US takes 20% from models. It is different and varying in Europe or Asia. I do not take money directly from or invoice the model themselves. The agencies I introduce my models to send me a commission based on their earnings.
What’s the difference between an average model and a top one?
There are very few ultimate top models in the grand scheme of things. On top of their natural attributes, good management, imaging and career planning can launch a girl in the right direction. A little luck,perseverance and good timing never hurt either. These days, top models need to be able to run the gamut: walk the runways, fit designer clothing, have a face beautiful enough for lucrative campaigns and have attractive personalities to meet and work with the most talented stylists, designers and photographers, but also have some “cross over” potential to reach outside of the fashion savvy sect. Models also need to be business minded and maintain relationships with many people and clients. Professionalism is key.
Often the human factor and the fragile nature of young women will interfere with their desire to pursue this career. Being a model can be lonely, tiring or often boring. If one of my young models has a taste of success early on, perhaps a prestigious booking or a lucrative job, they are often more intrigued to continue on. It can be a tough climb but more often than not modeling is very fulfilling, fun and profitable career.
Would you introduce your protégée Sophie Touchet our cover for this Dress To Kill issue?
When I first started my agency it was a goal of mine to return to the source and discover girls from small cities in Quebec. I am driven to give young women the opportunities I had, coming from small town Quebec and going on to see the world.
With that said, Sophie is a stunning 19 year old girl from Gatineau Quebec with flaming red hair. A photographer I have worked with for many years who knows I can do amazing things for young women referred her to me. Sophie only has been modeling since January 2014 but has had quite an amazing ride so far. This past season Sophie walked 43 top runway shows in New York, London, Milan and Paris including Chanel, Alexander McQueen, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Burberry, Fendi, Jil Sander, Marni and Dolce & Gabanna among others. Since fashion week ended in March, Sophie has worked for multiple international editions of Vogue and a variety of other publications and clients.
Being on the cover of Dress to Kill is a huge honor for her. I encourage my models to never forget their roots and to be generous to the country that launched their careers and will continue to support them.
Chantale Nadeau and her breakout Fall/Winter 2014 star Sophie Touchet from Gatineau, Quebec.
What does a new model need to do well in an interview with a modeling agency?
When you go for an agency interview you need to be as natural as possible; in personality and appearance. The people you are meeting are well trained to be extremely critical of your attributes. It’s best to show your personality so the people you are meeting can get a sense of the person they will be working with.
Unfortunately, this industry is looking for a very specific type of person, so even though you may really like to model, it might not be for you. Unfortunately, rejection is a very real part of the modeling industry.
Why is everyone giving different advice on modeling?
The advice I offer my models stems from years of experience in a variety of different situations. I also have a distinct vision of how I think my models should look and work in that direction with them. We make plans, set goals and talk about the future. I try to work with models to help them see the bigger picture and work towards a career filled with success and longevity. I get to know each of my models and develop a relationship based on trust and communication. Girls can relate to me and respect me for who I am and what I have done. They listen to me when I tell them they need to be in their best shape because and I try to lead by example. At the photoshoot that accompanies this article, featuring some of my upcoming Quebec girls, I wore an Haute Couture outfit straight off the runway from the designer Zuhair Murad. If I can do it, they sure can too. My personal and professional success adds further credibility to my advice.