I am often asked how I find the right talent to take part in my photoshoots.
Clearly, it’s an important decision, one that I strive to emphasize as the key to any shoot. The people who we choose must reflect the look of the brand while conveying our values and core beliefs through a single pose. HARD.
The other struggle is working with a smaller budget. Of course, when you can afford to work with the best modeling agency, the options are endless. But when, like me, you want to be scrappy and resourceful, it all comes down to confidence, a bit of shamelessness, but most importantly, kindness.
Our first official campaign took place in my home in the Hampton’s. Our goal was to portray the lifestyle and uniform of a Zadeh man and woman, as a couple.
The woman we chose is Gabrielle Fuller. Everyone assumes she’s another one of my daughters (huge compliment), but she is actually a good friend of my niece. When I first met her, I loved her French, natural, laid back, no makeup, undeniably elegant look. I know she would innately capture the look we were going for. Fortunately, when I asked if she would be willing to join us for the day, she was more than happy to help.
The Zadeh man is where the shamelessness comes into play. Tom Summers was a complete stranger until I approached him on the subway. My daughter and I were on our way back from an appointment and the seat next to him was open. The minute I saw him I turned to Sophie and whispered in French. “He would be perfect for the shoot!” He was in his late 30’s, had gorgeous blue eyes and an effortless, grungy look.
Sophie, of course, laughed and gave me one of her “you better not say something” looks. For all we know he could be a sociopath. How dare we invite him in our home? All valid points.
I agreed and stood still until we got up to leave the train. I took one last look at him but just couldn’t resist: “Have you ever modeled?” He smiled and said “Yes but not anymore.” I handed him my business card, told him that we were both married and not coming on to him but wanted to invite him to model for our first photo shoot. Our men’s bracelets would be amazing on him. I asked him to call us if he was interested. He called 30 minutes later. He was in!
A few weeks later, we all met in the Hamptons. Gabrielle had never modeled but she somehow knew exactly what to do. She was playful, sweet, and relaxed, and convinced us all she was in love with this complete stranger. He played the doting husband, attentive and charming.
She wore my clothes and my jewelry and he wore my husband’s. The photo shoot was simply perfect.
We also made a video that day. It lives on our homepage and is definitely worth seeing!
With that, cheers to natural talent!