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This year's model: Face of DV8

The hunt is on for the Face of DV8 — no previous experience necessary! — but have you got what it takes? Gráinne McCarry talks to judges,ex-model Alison Campbell and hairdresser Paul Stafford

Former model Alison Campbell now runs her own agency, ACA. She says:

So many young people come to us saying, 'I want to be a model!', but the reality is that very few actually have what it takes. For every 100, I choose about four. We take on any that are good enough.

What I look for in a model is fresh, clear skin, 5ft 7in or 8in in height and a size 10 figure, plus a positive, upbeat attitude and the ability to take instruction. My advice to aspiring models would be is if your face fits, great! If not, you'll have other qualities that will enable you to get on in life.

In terms of working in Northern Ireland, I don't take on girls that are too thin. We are sending girls to Asia and Singapore on assignments and they need to have a hip measurement of 36in — that is the size they use out there. No smaller or no bigger.

We're inundated with phone calls from young girls and boys, aged 13 to 16, but don't take them onto our books — there is no market for them. I wouldn't put a 15 year old on the catwalk, they have to be 17 or over.

I'm not in a position to guarantee work. It comes in on a daily basis. Clients can call up looking a model the next day — I call the models and if they are available they will get the work. There are a lot of models but not enough work here, so I recommend models supplement their income with another job.

New faces are always coming along. I've about 500 models on my books. A lot of them are students, who will go on to work in the field they are studying in. Once someone reaches their mid-20s, they're not going to be selected for young, glamorous photo shoots. But if someone has begun modelling at 18, by the time they're in their mid-20s it's possible they've entered full-time work already in fashion, PR, set up their own business or something entirely different.

It depends what sort of work a model wants to do — fashion shows, advertising campaigns, TV commercials, showroom modelling, PR, photography, promotions or hostessing. If they don't feel suited to the work or it's not the look they want to go for, they can turn it down.

There's limited work available for older women — the odd bit of work in fashion shows, adverts or TV commercials. To become an outstanding international model, everything needs to be perfect — a good left and right profile, great eyes, perfect teeth and clear skin. Very few people have that.

And a person with all that would have to be prepared to leave Northern Ireland in order to pursue that line of work. If they are, we can send them abroad.

There aren't really any pitfalls. Sometimes a model can get too big for her boots but if that happens they just need reminded that they are in Northern Ireland and to keep the bigger picture in perspective. It is too small a place for that kind of behaviour.

A model needs to be able to get on well with everyone she meets and works with from clients through to photographers. A prima donna simply won't get booked again.

Eating disorders are a problem in Northern Ireland, but I haven't had any experience of it with my models.

It may be that it's young teenagers who aspire to become a model who are experiencing this, more so than the actual models.

I think it's down to the images they see in glossy magazines and the impression they make on them. I can see if someone is getting too skinny or the clothes are getting too tight on them — if either happens, they won't get show bookings. Of course, if I felt that someone was getting ill I would have a word with them. A common sense approach should be taken, a healthy diet followed with plenty of exercise, lots of sleep and limited alcohol."

Auditions for the Face Of DV8 competition will be held at their new flagship store at Belfast's Castle Place next Wednesday. The search is for a male and female, aged 17 to 30, to star in all the DV8 brand advertising online and in-store for a year. The lucky winners will receive a year long modelling contract with Alison Campbell Agency, £500 worth of DV8 clothes vouchers and hair styling for one year from Paul Stafford Hairdressing. Registration forms are available from DV8 stores or online at Closing date is Monday

And here's how to get a head start

Celebrity hairdresser Paul Stafford discusses the latest trends. He says:

The platinum blonde look is coming back. The type of shades made famous by Deborah Harry, Marilyn Monroe and more recently, the model Agyness Deyn.

There's a kind of irregular conformity coming into hairstyle. We've taken haircuts like the page boy and the geometric bob and are making them look slightly worn. We're putting down a strong foundation haircut and giving it a what we call a 'dirty' look.

When it comes to a model's hair there are two types that we look for. The first is great, workable hair that does anything you want it to and it doesn't matter what the length is. It's quality hair with high shine and good malleability that can be played about with.

The second is quirky hair, like that of Agyness Deyn. It doesn't matter what quality the hair is — the model carries it off so well.

If your hair is of poor quality, there are lots of supplements you can take to improve it and they're available from most chemists.

However, I would recommend a balanced diet with high quality protein, carbohydrates like wholegrains, and fresh fruit and vegetables. However, I've never met a model that has taken onboard advice about diet or nutrition. "

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