Two years ago, a prominent Canadian fashion magazine had asked Brandon Hall what had been the most extreme action he had taken in scouting a model. His response was that he had leapt out of a car and chased a girl on the sidewalk to find out if she was interested in modelling.
Great anecdote, but something was sorely missing. Namely, her reply.
"It was a little embarrassing," Hall now recalls. "I was running down the street and there were cars packed - all stopped, waiting to get through a stop sign. And I stopped my car, causing traffic problems, and they could all see me running. And the girl says 'Yeah, I'm not interested.' She wasn't interested."
Hall came to Sutherland Models nearly four years ago. About the same time I moved to Toronto. Previously he had worked with Toronto's Armstrong Models, and that is where I first came to know him. In fact, Hall was the first Toronto agent I had ever dealt with.
In 1997 I had taken over the direction of a Saskatoon modelling agency and learned from one of the models, Kimberley, that Armstrong had shown a lot of interest in her, but the previous agency director had never followed-up on her placement.
Kimberley, you should know, is one of the most striking women I've ever met. She is 5'11", with piercing, crystal blue eyes and legs that stretch further than a Saskatchewan horizon. She was 22-years-old when I first met her, and had never modelled outside her home province despite garnering enormous interest at a modelling convention a few years prior.
I called Hall, introduced myself, and asked if he remembered Kimberley. "Oh yeah!" was his response. "I've been dying to get her out here." A few months later he did.
Despite the late start to her career, Kimberley also worked with Ace Models in Athens and Paolo Tomei Models in Milan - an international career that might not have even started if not for Hall.
When he joined Sutherland, the agency had to remove the claim on its website that it was entirely staffed by females. "I made them change that," he laughs. "There were male agents that worked here before. But yeah, I work here with ten women." Then, knowing I'll be talking to some of those women afterwards, he playfully mentions "It has its challenges."