If the careers of Cara Delevingne, Binx Walton, and Hanne Gaby Odiele are any indication, personality is currency in the modeling industry. The British model Hollie-May Saker is poised to follow in their footsteps.
Four years into her career, the 20-year-old has campaigns for Lanvin, Blumarine, and Moschino under her belt and is a favorite of the street style paps. Saker’s youthful innocence and retro elegance is on plain view in her advertising work and off the runway, but it may be the force of her candid personality that makes her stand out.
She admits, for instance, that she hated modeling at first after her ex-boyfriend’s mother “practically forced” her into the industry.
“That was four years ago now—it’ feels like 10 years, it feels like my whole life!” she says. “But it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and it’s beat everything I’ve ever imagined.”
Saker grew up in Marbella, Spain, and later spent her teenage years in Liverpool, England, where she didn’t always fit in. “I got bullied on the first day of school because I didn’t have a Juicy Couture pencil case,” she says. “I cried to my mom about it! Girls in Liverpool were hardcore! I would be sitting here in a tracksuit, probably with a Chihuahua, if I had lived in Liverpool longer.”
She was sixteen years old when her ex’s mother insisted she meet a friend in the industry. Though resistant at first, the teen developed a love-hate relationship with her job but fell for the energy behind the scenes.
“The designers are amazing, but, for example, at Dolce & Gabbana I got to speak to some of the seamstresses and they tear up watching the creations they’ve worked on going up the stairs to walk in the show. They’re so emotional about their work. It’s just how I am when I’m crying during fashion week, when I get a show or don’t get a show,” she says. We’re all in the same industry, doing the same thing, just from a different way about it.”
Today, in a Brooklyn warehouse, she is in ripped black jeans, boots, and an oversized denim jacket covered in patches—her latest project. “It’s kind of like my thing,” she says. “I feel like this is the one thing that I can do that you don’t have to go to lessons for or something. I didn’t even know I could sew until I started patching!”
The colorful piece suits her so well but, then, do the structured, more low-key pieces she’s modeling on set. It’s the sort of versatility that’s landed her a steady string of work – this year alone, she appeared in the Moschino Spring campaign, and in the Blumarine and Lanvin Fall campaigns.
She is anxious to finish this shoot to jet off to another for a beauty brand she’s not yet allowed to reveal.
“After this, what’s coming up, it’s going to set me up for a lot more in the next year. I’ve constantly doubted myself and constantly looked at other girls, what they were getting, but then I realized I’m not her and I look how I look. I came into this industry, did the best I could, made my mom so proud…” she says, almost incredulous. “I’ve done good.”
Shades of Gray with Hollie-May Saker
Protagonist dress, $980, theline.com; Rosie Assoulin earring.
Hair by Robert Medford at Jed Root; makeup by Quinn Murphy at The Wall Group. Model: Hollie-May Saker at Trump Models.