'Today's models are spoilt'

'Today's models are spoilt'
Former Singapore supermodel Pat Kraal, 51.

She belonged to the glorious heyday of globetrotting Singaporean models such as Hanis Hussey and Nora Ariffin in the 1980s, but former supermodel Pat Kraal says those days are history.

Today's crop of girls are "spoilt", she declares. Most prefer to stay in Singapore and do not actively seek jobs.

"The thought of going alone to a foreign country without your maid following is a bit scary," she says half in jest.

Kraal, now 51, should know. She left for Paris alone at 19 and scored modelling stints with luxury brands such as Givenchy, Christian Dior, Pierre Balmain, Pierre Cardin and Jean Louis Scherrer.

"It was freezing, plus there were the language and cultural differences. The biggest challenge was not being able to speak French."

Still, she recommends that every model try her luck in Europe. "You don't wait at home for your booker to get you the job and ask, 'Oh, how much does it pay?'" says Kraal.

In the competitive European modelling scene, wannabe models approach agencies, turn up for jobs on time and develop a portfolio of Polaroids to promote themselves, she explains.

Kraal, still enviably lean, is now a model scout for Global Faces Management. The talent-spotting agency is a subsidiary of modelling firm Carrie Models International Group of Companies.

Based in Paris, she got the job last year when Carrie's managing director Linda Teo asked her to join the new talent-spotting arm of the business.

Kraal promotes about 40 Asian models to work in Europe and the United States.

It has achieved some success: A dozen of her models have found work in fashion capitals such as Paris, Milan and New York.

Kraal, in town as a judge for a model search organised by Jurong Point held yesterday at the mall, has rejoined the workforce after 21 years as a stay-at-home mother in Paris to her four children, aged 13 to 22. She and her French businessman husband are in the midst of settling a divorce.

Unlike the glamour of modelling, Kraal says talent-scouting is a desk-bound job. She selects and sends pictures of models to agencies in Paris, Milan, London and New York, which decide whether to book the models.

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