When you are working as a model you spend the majority of your time at castings (auditioning) rather than actually shooting. This whole process can be incredibly lonely and intimidating. Imagine having six job interviews in one day! It is exhausting and can be quite deflating as you are unlikely to book them all. Sometimes you can queue for over an hour to be seen for a casting, to only have someone flick through your portfolio for a few seconds and not even mutter more than a “thanks”. On the flip side, imagine when you turn up to a casting to meet a lovely lady that chats to you, smiles and laughs and actually picks up on her favourite pictures in your portfolio…it is a breath of fresh air. This is how it is when you are casting for Julie Halpin and one of the many reasons why you will all fall in love with her if you read ahead. Julie speaks honestly about how she picks which models she works with, how she knows what is fashion, how she books make up artists and even how to land yourself a job in journalism…

An Interview with…Julie Player, fashion & covers editor for Take a Break & That’s Life! magazines.



How did you land your job?
I studied Fashion Journalism at the London College of Fashion. After graduating I worked for a clothing company for 6 months while I searched for a job on a magazine, luckily a job at Bella came up. I spent about 6 years there, working my way up to Deputy Fashion Editor. I then go the job of Fashion Editor at Woman’s Weekly magazine, which I did for about 6 years. Got made redundant, went freelance for a bit then landed my job here at Take a Break. I’m now the Fashion & Covers Editor of all the Take a Break titles, and That’s Life! Magazine too!

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to work at a magazine?
College isn’t essential, but it is great fun, stay a student for as long as possible! Unfortunately, the industry has changed completely since I started out, it is now so hard to get an internship at a magazine let alone a paid job! My advice would be to start blogging and use your blog as your CV to show off your writing and styling skills. But make sure it’s well written and try to make the subject matter as broad as possible. There are so many blogs out there that are badly written and boring!

What does a typical day in the life of a fashion editor look like?
The reason I love my job is that it has variety. A typical good day would look like this…
•Breakfast with a fashion PR (latte and Avo on toast!) to look at a new range of clothes and choose some samples for my next shoot.
•Back to the office for a spot of styling in my cupboard (full of lovely clothes the PR’s have sent me that I requested).
•Model casting (I love it when everyone I have asked to see turns up and they are all lovely and all available for my shoot date so that I am spoilt for choice).
•Write up a feature that I shot previously and upload it onto our server (the editor loves it and the server doesn’t crash).
•Go home on time.



When you are looking for models do you choose girls for castings by looking on model agency websites or by asking for the model booker to recommend girls?
Sometimes I will let the agent know what date my shoot is going to be and then ask them to let me know who is available on that day. The agencies I work with know me well and know the type of models I like so I trust them to suggest suitable girls. I then refer to the website or links I’m sent to remind myself of the models that they have suggested. Sometimes I will know who I want to work with because I have used them before and they worked well, so I will request them directly.

How many models do you call in for each casting?
It depends on the job. For fashion shoots I will only see new girls that I haven’t worked with before. But 4/5 times a year I shoot covers and I will then arrange big castings (30-40 girls) because I wouldn’t shoot a cover on a model I hadn’t seen very recently.

How do you choose your models?
I like my girls to look commercial, fresh faced, happy and approachable, with sunny personalities that shine out from their pictures. I like to see smiley pictures in their portfolios and it helps if they have done similar work. I also like to see that a model can move well, it doesn’t matter how good a model looks, if she can’t move in front of the camera it slows the day down and there will be less images to choose from.

What should a model wear to a casting for Take a Break or That’s Life?
Whatever she wants, but it helps if I can see her figure. I’m more interested in getting a quick snap shot of her personality.

Do you choose different types of models for the front cover and for the fashion shoots?
Yes. Generally, my fashion features are shot on girls who are approximately 5’8”. Dress size/age will depend on the feature; I often use models who are size 12 or 16 as well as size 8/10. Most of the models I use look like they are in their mid to late 20s, but I also use models in their 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond. When I shoot covers I am looking for girls who look slightly younger, height and size are irrelevant. For covers it is all about the perfect smile and I look for a model that will engage the reader.

Does a models body size matter to you?
Yes, I wouldn’t use a model that looked unhealthy for their frame/height. I wouldn’t use a model that looked too skinny. If I am writing a feature on particular styles that will suit certain figure types, I try to pick models that reflect that.

What sizes do the clothes that you shoot come in?
This depends on the time of year. The images I produce on a shoot will go on sale approximately 6 weeks after the shoot date. This means that at certain times of the year I have to work with samples, which mainly come in a size 10. At these times I would need to book a model that fitted standard size 10s. But once the new season clothes hit the shops I can be more flexible and shoot a variety of sizes.




How do you choose which fashion items go in your magazine?
The season is obviously my starting point, I have to feature clothes that my readers can go out and buy at the time of going on sale. I get invited to previews of the new season’s ranges approximately 2 months before the clothes go on sale, which enables me to plan my features in advance. I have to produce over 150 fashion spreads a year so I have to constantly think about new ways to inform and entertain my readers. I don’t use models for my That’s Life! fashion features, instead I use celebrity shots and base the feature around what they are wearing.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get my inspiration from lots of places but I try to focus on what women actually want to wear that will make them look great and feel confident. I observe people around me, both in real life and virtually online and learn from people that I think have got it right.

Where is your go-to place to find out what is in fashion at the moment or is going to be in fashion?
I like to look on Instagram, I follow the designers, other fashion journalists, a few bloggers etc. I read all the glossy mags who get to see the designer clothes that I don’t! I have to keep up with what the “celebs” are wearing so I’ll go onto Rex image library every day, and will also scroll down the sidebar of Mail Online. But I am more interested in what the people around me are wearing, working in this industry means that everyone I meet has a passion for clothes, it doesn’t matter what age or size they are or how much they have got to spend, they love clothes!



How do you book your make up artists and hair stylists?
Over the many years I have been shooting I have built up a team of people I work with that never let me down. I tend to stick to 3 or 4 hair & make-up artists and I shoot approx. 20 times a year so I share out the work! I have been working with them for so long that I have forgotten how I found them in the first place!

In the days following the recession do you feel every make up artist and hair stylist has to be competent in both fields so that clients can save money by booking just one person?
I always work with people that can do both. I have done that for years. Sometimes I will book 2 hair & make-up artists, if I have lots to shoot, but they will always take a model each and do both. The only time I would book a hairdresser is when I shoot reader make-overs and need complete cut/colour transformations.

Do you leave the make up and hair looks to your make up artists/hair stylists or do you have a strong opinion based on the clothes fashion items you have chosen?
I will discuss the feature we are working on and show the hair and make-up artist the clothes before they get to work on the model. Together we will decide on the look that we want to go for. It’s a team effort. Having said that, if they did something I didn’t like I would ask them to change it, I am the boss after all ☺

POST PHOTOSHOOT ROUTINE | Megan Taylor{The work that goes into making anyone model “perfect”}

Make sure you follow Julie on Instagram to see lots of behind the scenes pictures from photo shoots and PR events
Instagram – @julieplayerfashion




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