Calais Goord, Men's Booking Agent: Inside Elite Model Look
We continue our series behind the doors of Elite with Calais Good in London. Starting work at the age of 16 gave Calais a head start in her career, and she became one of London’s youngest booking agents the following year. For Elite Model Look, Calais is part of the team who review the applications for the competition in the UK, travel the country to scout Finalists and decide the Winner who will represent the UK at the World Final. We find out how she got to where she is now, and what makes her tick.
Your title is Men’s Booking Agent at Elite London. How did you become a booker?
I started as an intern at reception at Elite London when I was 16! From there, I was promoted to the booking desk. In the beginning, I felt I had to work harder to prove myself because I was younger than some of the models! Looking back, it was an advantage as I can relate in a different way to the models. I missed out on university, but I wouldn’t have done it any other way. It gave me a head start in the industry, and helped me build my connections.
What does your job involve day-to-day?
I can never tell what the day is going to bring! My daily tasks might be meeting people who walk into the agency who want to become models, speaking to clients about model fees or sending them suggestions of models to use for future shoots, going out of the office to scout new models, processing portfolios and contracts, or speaking to the models to let them know their daily schedules. We work with clients, models and agents in lots of time zones, so I check my emails last thing at night and first thing the next morning.
Were you attracted to the fashion industry or the model industry first?
It was definitely the model industry that attracted me first to want to be a booker. When I was about 13, there was the TV show ‘Scouted’ on E! that I was just in awe of. Not long after, E4 brought out the UK version. It showed the busiest time of year in a model agency: fashion week. I loved how everything was such fast pace, and how they were helping these models go from being scouted on the street to walking for some of the top runway shows. I remember only collecting the magazines that had my favourite models like Rosie Huntington Whitely, who is from my hometown, and Adriana Lima, because they were on the covers.
What makes you happy at work? And what are the challenges?
At Elite London, all the bookers are on one floor and we always have a laugh, especially if we’re stressed out about a situation. The challenge is that it’s 24/7. You are on call day and night, on phone, email, or social media. We have models and clients in all different countries and time zones, and you can be contacted many different ways. Another challenge is that social media now makes it harder to get new models that don’t have a big following already to be seen by big clients and casting directors. People just aren’t as willing to take chances like they used to.
Who or what inspires you?
I have always been into fitness and living a healthy lifestyle, so working out early gives me a positive mindset for the day. It might be predictable to say that a model inspires me, but Adriana Lima is everything I aspire to be! She’s focused, down to earth and knows how to balance work and her personal life. Some days I don’t feel like going to the gym before work, but I feel like I have a strong support team with my parents and my closest friends. We motivate each other to not lose focus.
How do you think Elite Model Look helps models to develop?
Elite Model Look gives models advice and experience before they meet clients or have their first shoot. This gives the model time to understand what it’s like in such a tough industry, to learn their angles in front of the camera, and how everything works. The industry is always evolving, so no matter how experienced you are as a model, you will always be learning – and so are we as bookers! The key thing a model needs to learn is how to look comfortable in front of the camera. You can be the most beautiful model, but if you look awkward, the camera will pick up on it.
What’s the best advice you ever received?
I love motivational quotes. One that has stuck with me is: “I would rather struggle and work hard for everything I have than have someone tell me ‘You wouldn’t have that if it wasn’t for me.’’” My parents raised me to be independent. If you want something, you have to work for it. Don’t expect it to be given to you. If others help you along the way that’s great, but it’s better to work hard and create your own happiness than to rely on other people. Every morning, my mum and I send each other an inspiring message that we’ve seen, to start the day off right. I even got a tattoo that says ‘stay positive’, which she would always say to me when I’d just left home and moved to London to work at Elite.
What are you looking forward to right now?
I like to visit the USA a few times a year to see my friends who live there so, I’m planning my trips to New York, LA and Miami throughout the year. I also have a blog called Model Confidential which I’m in the working on giving a full makeover and I look forward to launching the new upgraded version very soon. Stay tuned!