Rosemary Mac Cabe

Hemlines, heels and haute couture – your daily dose

New faces at 1st Option

I have to say, I have a grá for Irish models, a grá that I was just discussing (over the most amazing burrata I’ve ever tasted in Pizza East in Shoreditch on Sunday) with a friend. Irish models are that …

Tue, Aug 24, 2010, 12:30


I have to say, I have a grá for Irish models, a grá that I was just discussing (over the most amazing burrata I’ve ever tasted in Pizza East in Shoreditch on Sunday) with a friend. Irish models are that rare species of model, in that, first and foremost, they’re not emaciated. Not to sound too pretentious about it, but I lived in Milan for a few months, and the models you see – at bus stops, on trams – with their portfolios under their arms, are skinnier than any model you will ever have seen in Ireland or in the UK.

These women are not women as we know them (and I mean no disrespect to people who are naturally very slim, genuinely, because these are not women who are naturally very slim); they are, one could happily assume, shadows of their former selves. In order to succeed as an international model, you need to be thinner than the thinnest woman you can imagine, and you need to be able to stay pretty while being that thin. Those two things ain’t easy to possess together.

So there is something – a lot, in fact – to celebrate in the fact that our modelling industry is staffed by girls who are sizes 10-12, girls who have hips, and boobs, and look a little like the hot girl who grew up next door, rather than the hot girl who grew up next door, got broken up with, and stopped eating. That said, I’d be a lot happier if these gorgeous, healthy girls next door weren’t modelling in their underwear to promote whatever latest mobile phone Tesco is flogging . . . But I digress.

1st Option is not the model agency you go to if you want a girl in a bikini, so when they put up photos of new girls on their Facebook page, I kind of tend to pay attention. And I was right to; check out the latest crop of ladeeeez:

This is Emma Martin, who to me is like Kate Moss meets Lily Cole with a splash of Lily Donaldson . . . a really interesting face, and just amazing eyes.

Jess W – Jessica Szohr, anyone?

Evelyn (with make-up by Kieran Donohue at Mac) – she has a really regal face, and her bone structure is, as Rachel Zoe might say, to die!

Lais, who, in this photo, to me looks like a Gap model. I think it’s a pity that we don’t see more of a proliferation of black models in Ireland, not necessarily because I feel any real need to “represent” real people (hell, models represent about 0.02% of the world’s population, if we’re going by looks) but because I love how black skin looks in photographs, and a lot of gorgeous autumn/winter stuff (especially plums, berry shades) looks more amazing against it.

Lastly, Friday, photographed by Johnny McMillan. Another really quirky look – a little bit Agyness Deyn, a little bit Pixie Geldof, but mostly just very individual. Winner.

1st Option, keep doing what you’re doing; I have full faith that the Irish modelling industry will change (for the better) some day soon . . .

PS If you were the photographer on any of these shoots and would like to be credited or have your photograph removed, holler at me: rmaccabe [at]

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