Andrea hailed as role model to replace blondes
A TOP modelling agency has praised Andrea Roche's new firm, which, it claims, could help raise the Irish modelling industry's "low" standards.
The Dublin branch of Elite, the company that discovered Cindy Crawford and Gisele Bundchen, told the Herald that the Irish market was saturated with models who all looked alike, and that Andrea's new agency could help set the bar higher.
"Agencies need to improve the industry," president of Elite Ireland Juan-Sebastian Castrillon said.
"There are fantastic-looking girls in Ireland, but too many agencies are focusing on the same cliched look -- blondes with fake tan."
The fashion designer said the Irish modelling scene needed to become more diverse, and was full of compliments for Andrea's efforts at recruiting "fresh faces" like Jonathan Rhys Meyer's ex Katie Larmour, and "girls who are a bit different".
Tipperary beauty Andrea, who quit Assets earlier this year, has already bagged former Miss World Rosanna Davidson, Pippa O'Connor and most recently Sarah McGovern.
"Models are free to come and go from one agency to the next. I don't see a problem with that," said Castrillon.
"I know Andrea -- she is a very professional, very honest, and very straightforward woman. It happens to every agency in the world and models who want to pursue something different -- better quality, more professional -- should be allowed to."
He said he had contacted the 32-year-old Miss Universe Ireland founder two weeks ago to encourage her.
"I spoke to her two weeks ago and I told her to just focus on her business and to not waste time thinking of what people are going to say," he said.
Elite only launched an Irish operation this year but Castrillon told the Herald he believed the company could still carve itself out a good spot in the tough market.
"A lot of agencies are actually offering the same, and it can be counterproductive because the girls never end up leaving the country," he said.
"With Elite, the girls can be booked in any one of our many agencies abroad, they can become successful global supermodels."