The secret of my success: Carole White

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Carole White set up Premier Model Management in her brother's sitting room in 1981 with his financial backing. Today Premier manages around 200 models including Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista and Cindy Crawford.

I had a brief career as a model at Lucie Clayton, but quickly decided it wasn't for me. I became a booker instead and discovered my niche in life.

As an agency we have two clients, both the models and the magazine or designer, and you need to be able to manage the two. It's extremely hectic and you never know what the day will be like. We're problem solvers as well as sellers, and for the girls you have to be a travel agent, psychiatrist, the more experienced older sister.

My personal relationship with the models is very important. They start very young at 14 or15 and have no experience of working. You have to impart your knowledge to them, motivate them and convince them to put in the groundwork, like constant travelling.

I believe that girls should always finish their schooling and we try to fit their work in at weekends and in the holidays. You need to take care that they don't burn out and be sympathetic to their problems.

For the girls, attitude is vital. They can be extremely pretty, but if they don't have the personality, it's not going to work. I think that a lot of the most successful girls are very highly strung, like racehorses.

You need different skills like negotiation to handle the client side of the business. It's all about finding the right model for the job. Some agencies will send along 20 girls, when only two are really right, which just wastes everybody's time. At the other end of the scale I negotiate multi-million-pound deals for models like Naomi. This can take months and is a far more intricate negotiation process. But I find it very interesting and challenging.

What I love about this business is taking a girl from nowhere and making her into something. It's like making her dreams come true. They have a fairytale image of modelling and don't realise what hard work it is, but when they do become successful it's magic. A real sense of achievement.

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