Thursday, October 05, 2006

--EXCLUSIVE-- kelly streit: the absolute modeling guru

Is there a secret besides some of the most powerful models of the moment? Who is behind the scenes and deals of say, Heather Marks?

Enter the amazing world of model scout, CEO and president of Mode Models, Canada's best and most prestigious modeling agency, Kelly Streit. Declared as one of the top 100 Canadians to watch, by Macleans magazine, he truly is a man to learn from. His story starts in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada where taking upon a course at a local agency, he was determined to succeed in the highly competitive world of scouting. Luck came soon after when he met Karen Lee from Elite NY, from where his career took off.

Representing genius models such as Heather Marks and Julia Dunstall, Kelly is a man with a dignyfying personality and constant enthusiasm. Here, he shares some of his thoughts, advice and career paths with The Coherent.

1. What moment/event in your life made you realize that you want to pursue scouting as a career? Could you describe that certain moment/event?
I had taken a course with a local agency and found out about the business, I loved taking pictures of cool looking people. The lady that taught me didn't seem to like me so I left. Never deterred, I decided to take what I learned and start my own agency. I was working at a local McDonald's at the time. I'd be shooting people I thought had a model look during shift. Needless to say, the corporation felt my career choice was in another direction. I took the pictures I had been shooting to a convention in Calgary. Met some of the top scouts, including Karen Lee from Elite NY and my career was born.

What would you define as a highlight of your career and why?
When Tricia Helfer won the 1992 Ford Supermodel of the World and when I was named one of the 100 Canadians to watch by Macleans magazine in January 1993.

3. What were the most constant struggles?
In the beginning running an agency in Alberta meant a money struggle. I had to borrow money a couple of times to keep things afloat. But that was the beginning. Once our models started to work in the international market, cashflow became more consistent. Keeping ahead of the trend is always the struggle. Forecasting the next look in models is important to keeping your models in the minds of the designers, editors and magazines.

4. Besides persistence, keen eye and utter devotion to the industry, what other qualities you think a successful scout should possess?
Lack of inhibition. You can't be shy and walk up to total strangers and tell them they should be a model.

5. What makes a model shine like your stars Heather and Julia?
Their personalities set them apart. Very different yet equally charming and contemporary. Nice people!

6. Do you think that the supermodel era (Christy, Naomi, Linda...) will ever be back?
There are girls today who are making the rates these girls were commanding but the industry took hold of the control again so it dictated rate and not the other way round. The fashion houses have stood time tests and continue to do so. They make models like these supermodels so have once again been elevating certain girls but I don't know that they'll allow that dominance again.

7. We've been seeing a lot of odd, alien-like looking girls around for a while now such as Gemma Ward, Sasha P, Tanya D... While they make for interesting editorials, the general public does not like them. Do you see this trend going strong or slowly fading?
The muse of the artist will last as long as she remains inspiring. I look at a model like Kate Moss who was shorter than the supermodel crew, with her almond eyes and imperfect teeth and Calvin Klein made her a household name. That is still possible today. The public didn't immediately embrace her either but she has stood the test of time.


William said...

Nice interview. I'm a model with Mode so I know quite a bit about Kelly, but I can always learn something new and interesting :)

By the way, from where are all your club pics?

I look forward to checking your blog in the future. I found it from the interview link on the Mode site.


thecoherent said...

hi william,

thank you for the comment.
the club photos are from happy valley and duvet, both in ny.

William said...

Cool. I shall have to check them out :)

Adrian said...

Loved the interview. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Good job Kelly!

Anonymous said...

- Mr. Streit has really established himself. He spoke to me a few times in calgary, but I was much too shy and unsure. He seems to make a success of most of his models. Excellent eye, thanks.

Emma J said...

Well the interview gave me alot of interesting information about how kelly streit started, i learned alot more about him from reading it. Its interesting to look at the fact of how he started out, and now he is a huge sucess. And the models he finds- huge success's. My brother got scouted once at a cocktail party, but he turned them down. Then my mom took me to mode, they handed me a contract, my family and i looked at it, called mode back to make an appoitment and they haven't called back- very disappointing. But what can you do?

Anonymous said...

It sounds like Kelly Streit is a Christian from when I overlooked stuff on him via internet. I do wonder though, representing modeling from a christian perspective. The models on his sites were the stereotypical skinny, mainly white, tall models usually seen in media. I believe this does not represent the average women& still feeds into the perception that media influences what women should look like. Being Christian and a model should stand for going against that negative pressure society places on women. The reality is being thin, young and tall are what are favorable in media. Models do have influence on younger generations of girls. The images portrayed now are not realistic to younger women as well. There needs to be a responsibilty to take a stand against the images portrayed by models these days: the thin,young,tall,size 2 model. Christian models cannot all just look like this and say "models for Christ". I commend Ben Barry for taking a stand in this issue.

Anonymous said...

Dear Kelly I have concerns about who you leave in charge with your office in Edmonton and Why do you have people who are so young and have no experience in this industry working in your agency ..also if you are trying to develop your models.. then why are they not getting taught or coached to walk,talk,pose,etc.? why are the staff members you hire who claim to know how to be a model,not teaching and offering developmental training which should be a no cost because they are already getting paid for being there.Why are they not LOOKING for jobs/auditions /castings available in the local area all they seem to do is wait around for someone to call them.Is this an agency????Why aren't they at the shows to see their models at work or have photograghters taking pics of your models.Some of your models have raw natural talent and you are wasting their skills. take notice Kelly! Please There are a couple of girls who have the passion and raw natural talent to make it real big who are getting overlooked and they haven't even been given more opportunities or rolled over yet, maybe you need to find out from your models who really wants it bad enough and loves it with all there being. Most of them are being signed on and they could take it or leave it and some who dream to be a top model and work at it everyday, are getting overlooked that is real sad I am someone who knows a lot of your models and their families and you need to take notice. I pray you find the girls I am talking about. they have the X Factor. I will remain anonymous because you should be able to find those girls I know you have the eye for it! Thank you God Bless