Making your name in Vancouver’s fashion industry

Courtney Schott, model and actress. (Photo by Megan Renaud)

Courtney Schott, model and actress. (Photo by Megan Renaud)

Courtney Schott is a 20-year-old Maple Ridge native, making her way into the Vancouver fashion industry. This well-traveled young woman has planted herself right in the middle of the industry, walking runways for events such as Vancouver Fashion Week and Eco-Fashion Week.

Schott was scouted by many agencies after being a part of her first fashion event, Vancouver Fashion Week. Schott decided to focus on not one field of expertise, but two, signing with JL Model Talent, which has both a modelling and acting agency. With modelling and acting taking up a big part of her life, Schott decided to leave Simon Fraser University where she was studying psychology, and focus on what made her happy. Walking into a local Starbucks, on a sunny Saturday afternoon, it is evident that this young woman breathes fashion from head to toe.

Megan Renaud: When did you start modelling?

Courtney Schott: This year actually. I did Vancouver Fashion Week last season, me and my sister went to the casting and I was like, “Let’s give this a try.” I think there were 300 models that casted for Vancouver Fashion Week and I made it! From there I got an agent. So yeah, pretty recently!

MR: What sparked your interest in modelling?

CS: I think there were a lot of reasons. I’ve always wanted to be a model but I’ve never been quite that body type for the type of model that I wanted to be. I lost a lot a weight and I thought I might as well try. I think even throughout high school I always thought it was something cool to get into. I’m an actress as well, so I think that kind of contributes. It’s kind of like acting, especially in photo-shoots, but a little different. I’ve always wanted to try it.

MR: So what events have you been a part of, other than last season’s Vancouver Fashion Week?

CS: I did Vancouver Fashion Week, which was 18 shows, and after that I did Eco Fashion Week and then Vancouver Fashion Week again. And then I’ve done a lot of photography work and stuff like that. A lot of editorial, just to build my portfolio because I am new.

MR: What process do you go through to book a fashion show in Vancouver?

CS: For Vancouver Fashion Week they do a casting call, so anyone can go whether you have an agent or you don’t have an agent. There they take your measurements, make you walk, take your photo and then they cast who they want. They have a boot camp after that. At the boot camp, they teach you how to walk properly. If your walk needs work, they will work on it with you. They have a couple of boot camps and if your walk has improved then they will keep you but if it hasn’t they will say, “Sorry we don’t want you for the show.” Then you get cast and you start doing fittings. You do fittings the week before and the entire week of the show. For Eco-Fashion Week, my agent got me in it. I only had one day of fittings with them. They fitted me for a few outfits for a show and I showed up and walked those outfits. It was much easier than Vancouver Fashion Week, depending on what you want.

MR: What did you prefer, Eco Fashion Week or Vancouver Fashion Week?

CS: That’s a hard question because Eco-Fashion Week is very calm, you’re only allowed to do one show a night, so you get ready for your one show, you hang out, you get ready and then you walk. When you’re done, you can go home or watch another show. Vancouver Fashion Week, you get there at like 10 in the morning. You do casting to start the day and they throw you into hair and make-up. You’re running around from one show to the other, getting your hair torn apart. You end up being in three or four shows a night, which I liked because if you’re going to spend the day there I might as well be in as many shows as I can. I guess they both have their negatives and positives; it’s just if you like calm, easy and stress-free, or a lot of stuff in a short amount of time.

MR: Do you think Vancouver Fashion Week prepares you for the industry in a higher-end fashion location, other than Vancouver?

CS: I think it does but I think it is also very overwhelming for the first time. The first time I did it, they taught you how to walk in case you didn’t know. There are a lot of people who are new and it is, for people who have never been in that situation, a little overwhelming to be thrown around. It’s a little crazy in that sense, but once you get a grasp of it, I think it’s good because you need to have that for the industry, you need to be prepared. You need to be able to keep in mind what you’re doing, where you’re supposed to be, kind of everything because no one is going to remember for you. So if you’re fitted for this person, you know you’re in the show, you know you need to get into hair and makeup and get ready for the next show right after this show. You have to keep your schedule because no one else is doing it for you. No one is holding your hand through it. Which, I think, is good for new models in the industry to learn.

MR: How do you view Vancouver’s fashion?

CS: I think that it has really evolved. A lot of people say that Vancouver’s fashion is the “yogi wear.” You know, the yoga pants, the Ugg boots and the hoodies. I think when LuLuLemon was really big that was true, but now when I go out on the street, I see a lot more people wearing high fashion, hipster and a lot of different influences of fashion. I think it has evolved a lot. It’s not New York, but I think that it’s getting there, which is good.

MR: Do you think you want to stay in Vancouver modelling?

CS: I definitely want to branch out. I am new to modelling so I don’t think it will happen any time soon. I have heard that the Vancouver fashion is very limited when it comes to editorial work. Toronto, New York, London, Paris – all of those places have a lot of opportunities. It’s hard to get paid work here too, because it’s such a small industry, but it has grown a lot! I mean a couple of years ago it wasn’t this big. I’d like to stay in Vancouver for a while until I’m more experienced and I know what I’m doing, more confident and then I’d like to branch out. I love travelling.

MR: Where is the one place you would love to work because of their fashion?

CS: That’s hard to say because I want to go throughout all of Europe. I did do a competition for modelling, to be able go to China but I wasn’t tall enough, so I can’t really help that. I thought that would be cool because I haven’t been anywhere in Asia before. I have been to France and I have been to London, and I love it there. I would love to go to Germany and do fashion there because it’s not really as big as maybe Milan or Paris or England, but I know a lot of people in Germany, so that would be really cool. I would like any opportunity really that comes up. If someone came up and were like, “Hey, do you want to come to Spain? Do you want to come to China?” I’ll take that. Anywhere really.

MR: What is your end goal with modelling?

CS: I haven’t quite decided what my goals are, but I would love to just be acting and modelling because that’s what makes me happy. My goal is to be happy in the job I am doing. I’d love to travel or even get a lead role in a movie. You know, meet Tyra Banks. There are just so many things I want to do. I think my main goals are just travel, be happy, work hard and be proud of what I do.

Megan Renaud

Journalism student trying to make it as a fashion journalist.

1 Comment

  • Avatar
    Reply November 8, 2013

    Sabrina Isabella Bruns

    I love Courtney, she’s a beautiful woman, a pleasure to work with and working very, very hard and taking the industry seriously. She deserves to succeed.

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