Surviving Modeling: Brieu Morel

Brieu Morel for Rhea Magazine

For our first London story, we chat with Elite London model Brieu Morel about surviving the modeling industry as a male model and the importance of continued learning. At the time of interview, Brieu was represented by Elite Paris and was requested by Elite London to be in town for a month. Photos and interview by our London Editor, Mildred Cheng.

Mildred: How long have you been modelling for?

Brieu: Around three years now.

How did you get into the modelling industry?

I was scouted at a fashion show in Paris.

How old are you?

23.

What is your favourite thing about modelling?

The castings. They're the most interesting part - you have to learn to seduce the client and to engage in a kind of game with them. It's fun. 

What is a typical day like?

It depends. Everyday is different. Sometimes you wake up and there's nothing to do, and sometimes you only have one go-see. But generally the castings are quite similar. You just show them what you've done before, your photos, your book, and then for the shows they'll ask to see you walk as well. 

How long does a casting usually take?

It depends. You can start immediately if there aren't any other models, or wait for hours, and the actual casting lasts for about 5 minutes. It's quick when you can fit into the client's clothes. Then they'll usually take a look at your book and take some digitals of you. 

Does the Agency usually inform you about the castings in advance? Or on the day?

You always get your schedule beforehand, usually the evening before. Sometimes during the day they'll tell you to meet clients and that sort of thing.

Brieu Morel for Rhea Magazine

What is the modeling industry like in terms of people?

I was waiting to meet nasty and unhealthy people, like the stereotypical clichés, but in fact all the models I've met don't fit into the stereotype at all! I was very surprised! They are some of the nicest and healthiest people I've ever met (and eat lots of veggies and all that). And even at the Agency (I work mainly with Elite in Paris), the atmosphere isn't competitive and I've gotten really close with my agents. I don't know, everything is quite good at the moment. Maybe I'm just lucky?

Is modeling stressful for you?

Sometimes, yes. Especially during fashion week for the shows because you have to give so much of your time. For fashion week you'll sometimes get 15 or 17 castings during the day, and you have to wait at least an hour for each casting. A Louis Vuitton casting takes 5 hours, but you still have to do it because it's your job. 

Do you model full-time?

Yes for now since I'm taking a gap year. I've just finished my Masters degree in Marketing of Luxury and had been studying prior to that so I'd been been modeling part-time for the past five years. But I miss studying a bit so I think I will go back to school next year - in London obviously.

Is there another career that you would like to pursue?

I did a few internships while I was in school. Givenchy was my first and it was amazing. I was the assistant to the Digital Communications Manager so we dealt with all online communication - I learned so much. I want to start out as a Digital Communications Executive, then maybe work my way up to the top. My dream is to become the Communication Director of a couture house. You deal with all aspects of communication including advertising, photoshoots, media planning, press and public relations... just everything that's released by the House.

Would you encourage others to pursue modeling?

Yes, but you do have to be careful. Being an editorial model is totally different from being a commercial model, and age plays a big part in determining what kind of jobs you get. Obviously you can be 25 and still enjoy it, but it's always better to start young. I would never had the chance to intern at Givenchy and Carven or have any contacts from this industry if I had not modeled, so it's definitely a rewarding industry. 
But you have to study. You can't stop studying for modeling because modeling will last maybe five years (unless you're super successful of course). You will earn some money, you will meet great people, but looks fade and soon you'll be too old to model anymore. So it's crucial for you to have a background for security, you know?

Do you live with other models?

I live with two other models at a place in Camden Town. They're both nice people, but the landlady, Jessie, is the best. She's the most incredible girl I've ever met. I clicked so well with her. The other two models stay in the living room while I have my own bedroom so I'm quite lucky. But since I'd been living on my own for five years in Paris and have never shared a flat or anything, it's still quite awkward and I do prefer living alone. 

Where do you see yourself in ten years' time?

Maybe in London? I can't imagine myself in Paris anymore though. I think it's over. For me at least. Things are not moving fast enough for me there. So yeah, I think maybe London. What for, I have no clue. I'll tell you in 2025.

Follow Brieu's modeling journey on Instagram @brieubk.

PHOTOGRAPHY: MILDRED CHENG
MODEL: BRIEU MOREL @ ELITE LONDON
PHOTOGRAPHER'S ASSISTANT: BRIAN HK CHAN
WORDS: MILDRED CHENG, BRIAN HK CHAN, ED COWAN
All clothing by TOPMAN