Photo: Evaan Kheraj
After a live shoot at Saks Fifth Avenue, Celeste Oliver was named the winner of the #ECModelSearch. Here, she shares the moments leading up to the win and what it’s like modeling for the first time.
WOW. Where do I begin? It’s hard to believe that just a few months ago this journey began with an Instagram selfie and the hashtag #ECMODELSEARCH. Now I find myself checked into an incredibly fancy hotel in downtown Toronto and opening a personalized gift from the editor-in-chief of ELLE Canada magazine and the team at Saks Fifth Avenue Canada. They really know how to make a girl feel special!
The photo shoot was incredible today. The beautiful atmosphere at Saks Fifth Avenue set the stage for a wonderful day. The hair and makeup artists were incredible and the photographer, Evaan, made what could have been an intimidating experience fun and enjoyable. I learned so much today, like how to tilt my head to just the right angle in front of the camera and how those perfect windblown hair shots are created – it’s by waving cardboard boxes to create bursts of wind in concert with the photographer’s rhythm. Who knew?! And here I thought they used fans. LOL
This may be the most exciting day of my life! I’m still processing everything that’s happened. I received a Skype call from ELLE Canada and Chantale Nadeau sharing the amazing news that I was the winner of the #ECModelSearch. Before I had a chance to pull myself back together from the excitement of it all, Chantale Nadeau called me personally and invited me to join her placement agency as a #chantalesgirl. Oh my gosh, I couldn’t possibly have a happier day!!
It has been 2 weeks since my Skype call with ELLE Canada and I met with Sutherland today. I will be forever grateful for Chantale guiding me through this journey. There is so much to learn. Big lessons include what to wear (black, black, black); go natural (I thought makeup would be a must for models); and the special language of the fashion industry. It was quite embarrassing to have to ask what the difference is between editorial and commercial models. Things are starting to make more sense now, but I was so confused to start! Sutherland offered to represent me and I am thrilled. They took digitals and a video on the spot. I’m learning first-hand how quickly life moves in this incredible industry.
Today I travelled to Montreal for four days to meet with Folio and do some test shoots. My family is from Montreal and we visit regularly so I’ve always loved this city. I stayed in a beautiful hotel in Old Montreal just a short walk away from Folio. Although the weather was cold and wintery, my heart was full of joy. I was lucky enough to get signed by Folio and had a great time on my test shoots.
Hello friends! So excited to announce I have won @ellecanada’s model search! ? I could not have done this without all of your votes, support and words of encouragement! Huge thank you to @chantalenadeau @saks_queenst @noreen_flanagan @julianaschiavinatto @evaankheraj and everyone else who was involved in this amazing journey! Now go out and get your copy of the May issue with Queen ? herself on the cover! This is just the beginning ❤️❤️❤️
Today, I received word that the May 2016 issue of ELLE Canada is available in stores. I can’t believe this day finally arrived! At first I couldn’t find the right issue and started to worry but then, as if a light shone down from the heavens, it appeared. I flipped through every page before I even walked to the cashier. What an exhilarating feeling to see myself in print!
Well it looks like Folio is a great fit for me. It has only been two weeks since meeting with the agency and I’m already back in Montreal, this time for my first jobs! I’m shooting a look book for the holiday collection of an up-and-coming Montreal-based designer and an editorial for a great magazine. It really is the craziest feeling getting to be a part of something that you have looked at for years as a girl growing up. But I have to say that it is a lot more work than I expected. I really underestimated what models have to do! Today was a ten-hour day, and tomorrow I am back at it again shooting the editorial. This is definitely challenging me to step outside of my comfort zone, but I can already see a difference in my confidence and independence, and it feels amazing.
This was my first trip to NYC. Meeting with the top six agencies in three days was a whirlwind. I’ve met so many unbelievably talented and beautiful people here. (Note to self: work harder at memorizing names). The highlight was definitely day 3 when I met with Kwok Chan and the team at The Society. I was so impressed by their philosophy. Not to mention that they represent some of today’s top models. To think that I am in the same agency as Kendall Jenner and Victoria’s Secret models Adriana Lima and Josephine Skriver; how can this be real? The feeling I got when I was there was that everything just felt right. If my mom could have seen my face she would have called it in a second that I knew this is the agency for me! I am truly grateful for the opportunity to work with them. I love NYC and can’t wait to return and really get to work. This is surreal!
I’ve been so full of anticipation since the fitting last week. What a thrill to be modeling for Nine West! Working with a dozen other models was so much fun. Getting ready backstage and walking the runway for a live audience felt like coming home because it was so reminiscent of the years I danced competitively.
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's daily newsletter.