How does the Chicago office rank within a global agency like Ford Models?

David Sanchez, Modeling Agent: I wouldn’t necessarily say there’s a comparison. What I love about Ford is that we are one of the only true network agencies out there. If you look at all of these other modeling agencies, yeah they might have offices in other cities but they really truly don’t form one. Jenna is represented by multiple agencies within the Ford network. She’s with the Chicago office, she’s with the Miami office and so on but at the end of the day we really truly act as one.

Jenna, did you always know you wanted to be a model?

Jenna Lipps, Ford Model: I actually didn’t. Someone came up to me in high school and was like, “You have to model,” but I had never really thought about it before that. She gave me this little sheet for an open call at an agency called Vision in Minneapolis so I went. Soon after I put myself on a modeling website and one of the agents here [at Ford Models], Shannon, found me.

David: Shannon [Lang] is our director of scouting. We have a whole crazy team but our director of scouting really builds the momentum and goes to conventions and searches websites and that’s all she does. She was just at Allstate Arena scouting at the Justin Bieber concert the past two nights.

What was it like when you found out you were going to be signed?

Jenna: It was crazy. I was 19, I came to Chicago with my mom and we stayed at a hotel. I remember I was sitting with Shannon and she’s like, “Okay, we’re going to have you wait in the waiting room.” When they said yes I screamed. It’s a feeling that you can’t even describe because it’s one of the biggest agencies in the world so to be a part of it is just amazing.

Are you looking for that it factor that you just can’t put your finger on?

David: You can and you can’t put your finger on it. Ultimately it’s kind of like a first date where you just get that feeling, you know what I mean? You get that intuition that something is there. Typically I like to say everyone is pretty in this business so what separates you is your personalty. If you walk into that room where we’re all crazy busy and you catch our attention for five seconds, we know within five seconds if it’s a yes or a no. We have seven bookers and we have a really strict rule that all seven of us have to agree in order to sign someone because otherwise it’s not fair. It’s really difficult and we have really heated discussions.

Besides being scouted, are there other avenues to become a Ford Model?

David: You can submit online but then everyday at the agency from 2-4 p.m. people can just walk right in during our open calls and you’re seen by Shannon, the director of scouting. Today we probably had 50 people. If there’s interest we bring them right back and talk to them. It’s like a job interview.

Can you give us the run of a typical day in the office?

David: Every single second is different which is probably my favorite thing about the job. We deal with so much and so many exciting jobs and clients. Everything from TV to print to commercials, you name it. It’s constant movement. I like to say you’re doing 100 things at once because not only do you have to be a good friend, you have to be a smart business person, you have to be a good manager, you have to be 5 percent travel agent because you have to get the model there and you have to be a life coach. Also you have to be visually and graphically in the know so you study trends, you’re aware of all the designers and up on all the trends and fashion. You’re doing a zillion things at once.

What has been your favorite modeling job so far?

Jenna: That’s so hard. They’re all fun and you meet so many great new people but I would have to say doing Glamour in Italy. That’s my favorite part of the business when you don’t have to stay in one place and you get to travel.

Is it hard to date and maintain relationships when you’re constantly jet-setting?

Jenna: It’s easy to keep in contact with friends with all the stuff we have going on. But dating? Yes, it’s hard. It’s definitely hard for guys to understand what we do.

David: I would say you’re a powerful woman and some can handle it, some can’t!

With a career that is based on appearance, do you feel pressure stay fit or does maintaining your figure come naturally?

Jenna: I think to some extent I’ve been like this forever but I definitely notice as I’m getting older that I need to work out more. I have a trainer but it’s give and take, we switch off. One day I’ll do arms then I’ll do abs and then legs. But I’m not like a crazy workout-er, none of our models are like that. We can hang out and eat pizza.

Who is a famous Ford model who has come out of the Chicago office?

David: Right now Emily Senko is huge. She’s on our image board in New York and she’s somebody from Chicago. Shelby Coleman is in a big Laura Mercier ad in Vogue that you would probably recognize. As we act as mother agencies we can send them to New York. The sky is the limit.

How do you keep your energy up on a long shoot?

Jenna: Sugar. I just eat a little chocolate. I definitely bring my own stuff, I’ll bring some fruit and definitely water.

Do you have a beauty routine? 

Jenna: I wash my face like three times a day. I use Olay Regenerist.

David: The models love that Clarisonic brush. Everyone has been using it. It’s at all the major retailers. The problem is you can be at a job and the makeup brush can be dirty so you really have to be careful with your skin especially because of all the traveling.

Are you ever self-conscious?

Jenna: Of course! I am self-conscious of my legs. I have my mom’s skin and she has these spider veins that I get too.

Favorite restaurants?

Jenna: Bistronomic! Have you been? It’s French. It’s so good.

David: I live in Edgewater and I love Vincent. It’s amazing. Then there’s this bar called Bar Ombra which is Italian tapas. I think if I had a last meal it would be at RL. I would have lobster bisque and a martini. When you go you have to ask for Jimmy. He is this really hilarious waiter, he will make your life so much better. Jimmy knows what’s up, that’s all I’m sayin’. Let me sit by the fireplace with a martini on a winter day and I’m done!

If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be?

Jenna: I’d have to say Karl Lagerfeld because I think he’d be extremely interesting.

David: I have a tie. I think it would be a political person like Bill Clinton or Nelson Mandela then on the flip side, Anna Wintour. We recently met her through a co-worker at that Runway to Win event. She’s such a gem. So classy.


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