We are delighted to introduce our newest member to the Distinct Model Management booking team - Paloma Feijoo! Already represented by Distinct Model Management as a model and fashion stylist - if anyone know the industry, it's Paloma! With so many young people recently receiving their CAO results and embarking upon a new path with the start of college or university, we spoke to Paloma about her own experiences and what led her to choose her own path, which was the result of not only academic learning but also life experience, which is often overlooked with so much focus on the importance of points and exam results.
How did you get to become a booker?
A: I definitely didn’t take the easiest route. I have been in love with fashion for as long as I can remember but, because I was a good student and got very good grades, I was forced to go down the highly academic route and ended up studying a five-year degree in Translation and Interpreting. However, I took every opportunity I had to incorporate my interests into my college work, so my assignments had titles such as “Terminological Dictionary of Women’s Footwear” or “The Depiction of Sexuality in Alexander McQueen’s Designs”. In my third year I was lucky enough to go to Glasgow on an Erasmus and that’s where I started modelling. And I haven’t stopped ever since. After I graduated I worked as a language teacher for a good few years, but I knew I wanted to explore different aspects of this industry, so in my free time I studied Fashion Journalism and Fashion and Personal Styling. Both courses were online, which is great, because you can do them at your own pace. A little over a year ago I thought it was the time for change. I said goodbye to teaching and tried to make fashion my only career. Now I’m not only represented by Distinct Model Management as both a model and a stylist, but have also been hired to be a booker in the agency, so the journey has definitely paid off.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in the fashion industry?
A: Continue educating yourself and don’t give up. Education doesn’t have to be exclusively academic and each of us learns in a different way, but if you want to make a career out of your hobby, you should never distance yourself from it. Read about fashion, learn about its history, observe what people wear, analyse the local industry and try to find how to link the aspects you love (or the ones you don’t and believe that should be changed, be critical) to your skills and experience. Contact the companies you look up to and show an interest in becoming part of them. And, above all, be original, resourceful and exploit what makes you unique, you want to stand out and be noticed.
What was your first proper job?
A: I come from a family of teachers, so unsurprisingly my first job was teaching grinds. Fashion-wise, the first modelling one was handing out air fresheners wearing a silk robe around a shopping centre in Glasgow, very glamorous, as you can imagine, and my first styling job was dressing actors for a commercial in Spain, which also happened to be the first time I was styling someone else. I was thrown in at the deep end, but I think I managed quite well.
What’s your favourite thing about modelling and styling?
A: There’s something I love about both, which is getting to meet new people and collaborating with different creatives. One of my favourite things about modelling is that you become someone else when you are working, a little bit like acting. You have to be fast and identify quite quickly who the client or photographer want you to be and embrace it, and I have so much fun doing that. In regards to styling it has to be playing with the clothes and telling a story through them. You can say a lot through shapes, colours, textures and details. Also, there’s always that moment when you come up with something completely unexpected that really works, and I love that feeling.
What makes a successful model and stylist?
A: For both, having a good personality and being professional. You have to do what you are expected to do and more, but at the same time people have to enjoy working with you. Creative jobs are hard and can be draining, so if you are easy to deal with and give fantastic results, people will want to work with you again.
What could a model expect if they’re invited to meet with Distinct?
A: Honesty and warmth. Anne is fantastic at explaining what the industry is like and the possibilities that are there for each one of us. Nothing is sugarcoated or exaggerated and she knows the market incredibly well. If she feels that something might be a challenge she addresses and analyses it from the start. The atmosphere in the office is very friendly and we are always trying to make the models feel comfortable, since the first meeting with a potential agent can be rather daunting. Being a model myself, I’ve been there before and I can relate.
What do you like to do when you are not working?
A: Food is such an important part of my life, probably because I’m Spanish and it’s embedded in our culture, which means that I adore cooking, reading about nutrition and sharing meals with my loved ones. I’m also quite into fitness and really enjoy working up a sweat, so I always go to the gym when I’m off. Besides, I watch a lot of documentaries and TV shows and I’ve been reading a fair bit about sustainability lately, since it’s one of the aspects of the fashion industry which worries me the most and I believe that our shopping habits and fashion choices can have a big impact in the world. And I appreciate going to see a good theatre show, art exhibition or travelling when I get the chance.