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:: Spotlight :: Talking to models

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

Pictures (from top to bottom)
Michelle Reilly (2)
Dunja (2)

With the Melbourne Fashion Festival almost upon us, we decided to have a chat to a couple of the people whose job it is to be closely noticed by industry folk and the general public – the models. There are two high profile girls who have been modelling for a little while now and I thought it might be worthwhile to get some thoughts on their fashion modelling experiences.

Michelle Reilly and Dunja are two highly sought after girls that have worked on various campaigns and on catwalk shows. Both are blessed with features that are extremely attractive to clients and generally show the right “look” for whatever projects and events occur. Dunja was spotted by FRM modelling agency owner Stephen Bucknall and his instinct has proved perfect for her. Dunja originally comes from Bosnia and, from a difficult time in a war-torn territory, has grasped her opportunities here in being one of Australia’s leading fashion models. It has been a great rise for her, working overseas for esteemed people, particularly in New York, and has worked for acclaimed photographer Patrick Demarchelier for Harpers Bazaar. She says, “Modelling came to me by chance and I am thankful for Stephen to have given me these opportunities to travel and work here and overseas. It can be difficult going from casting to casting and with overseas work, it’s always go, go, go.”

Michelle has also enjoyed a swift rise in the modelling world. “I come from Darwin and was discovered there before being referred to FRM Agency in Melbourne. I have worked in Europe, mainly in Milan. It’s been very fulfilling and now I’d like to work in New York.” This is uppermost in the mind of her agent Stephen Bucknall who says, “The next step in Michelle’s career is to work with the “big people” of New York and we will work hard to get to that stage. Dunja loves New York and says, “It’s every model’s dream to succeed in New York and I’ve been fortunate to work with great people there and had many jobs. My next goal is work in European countries like Germany as further opportunities start to open up.”

FRM Agency is the agent for both these models and they take special pride and care in the development of their female and male models. Owner Stephen Bucknall, a former model, knows the requirements and sets about a particular course of training and development for his roster. He and his team ensure that girls like Dunja and Michelle are tasked with what she feels comfortable in doing. They have their own team of hair stylists and make-up artists who ensure the best possible look to fit the requirements. Dunja emphasises this by saying, “We learn a lot as people because we are travelling the world, meeting new people and learning about these places. This is where FRM is a great “family”. The girls and boys hang out together either at work or sometimes away from work. I’ve been with the agency for five years and I would never think about moving elsewhere.”

As far as their spare time, Michelle likes to keep fit and healthy by exercising and doing sport. She sees Beirut as the best place visited so far. Dunja enjoys swimming and reading and says New York is her favourite place seen. Both girls advocate good healthy living. Dunja says, “You can eat well without being forced to diet, but it’s about eating the right things. It’s important to exercise.” Even though they are constantly away from home, the support of parents has been tremendous. “It’s always good to spend some time at home and see my parents and family”, says Michelle. “It’s difficult being away for long periods of time.”

Both girls will be working during the Melbourne Fashion Festival from March 15-21 and look forward to the week. Dunja says, “The Melbourne Fashion Festival is good for Melbourne in putting fashion in the spotlight. It’s a good time for the models that will be working. It’s also good to be working with the Australian designers. The Australian labels aren’t that well known overseas so hopefully events like this can help raise the profile.”

Watch for Michelle and Dunja during the Melbourne Fashion Festival.
Check the timetable of events at our website and visit the Fashion section.

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