saint international: the agency propelling jamaican models to stardom
20 years after its inception, Saint International is a force to be reckoned with in fashion. Here, Jamaican photographer Amber Pinkerton shoots a few of its big names in Kingston.
Saint International. Photography Amber Pinkerton. Styling Kadeem Rodgers.
Back in 2000, around the time Deiwght Peters launched The Faces of Summer -- the Caribbean's first televised model search -- there were very few Jamaican models on London, Paris, Milan and New York's catwalks. But the reality TV show, which ran for five years, was soon signing its winners to the industry's biggest agencies, ushering in a new era of casting in Jamaica. Two decades later and Saint International, Deiwght's globally-renowned agency, is landing world exclusives for the likes of Celine, Balenciaga and Gucci. Here, we meet some of the agency's rising stars and biggest names, shot by Amber Pinkerton.
Breana Carson, 16, Portmore, St. Catherine, Jamaica
How did you get scouted? I was scouted at school by Saint’s CEO Deiwght Peters when I was 14. I remember that it was a Friday and I’d planned to skip school because my parents didn’t have the money for the bus fare or for my lunch. I decided to walk about 5km to get there, and that day ended up changing my life. A week later I was entered as a finalist in the Fashion Face of the Caribbean Model Contest and I won. What's the biggest job you've worked on so far? My only job so far was walking for Celine for their AW19 show. I was booked as a world exclusive. I also did their showroom and had so much fun. What's your dream job? I want to be a top international supermodel, working with all the major clients, runway shows, magazines, campaigns… I want to do EVERYTHING!
Winston Lawrence, Portland, Jamaica
How did you get scouted? I was on my way home from an evening class when a Saint scout saw me and asked me if I wanted to be a model. I gave her my information, they called my parents and called me into Kingston for a meeting. A few weeks later I was on my first trip to Milan to meet with Gucci and ended up on the Gucci runway. I couldn’t believe how quickly things moved, but I LOVED every minute! What's the biggest job you've worked on so far? Gucci as an exclusive was a big deal of course, and I also walked Off-White last season. That was amazing. I am also pretty pleased about my new editorial in Vogue Hommes. What are your hopes for the future? I want to be a supermodel and travel the world.
Danielle Fletcher, 18, Linstead, St. Catherine, Jamaica
How did you get scouted? I was at school one day and my teacher took me to meet Deiwght. He told me that I would make a perfect model. Shortly afterwards, I was a finalist in the Fashion Face of the Caribbean Model Contest that Saint organises. I had to learn to walk the runway, but I eventually won the competition. Do you have any key inspirations on the way you dress? I love Cardi B’s style. She’s into glamour, which I love. Though, as I live in Jamaica and am still in school, I love to keep it simple too. What's your dream job? Before I started modelling I wanted to be a flight attendant, but now I want to model for all the major brands: Versace, Saint Laurent, Chanel, Balenciaga, Balmain, Prada… all of them!
Jannel Duncan, 22, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica
How did you get scouted? Saint advertised a model call in Kingston and a friend of mine who was always encouraging me to model told me to go and see Deiwght. When I met him, he said, “You’re stunning, but you need some work.” I knew that he was very frank, but I also knew that he made stars. What's the biggest job you've worked on so far? I remember it like it was yesterday. Deiwght took some digitals and proposed me and another model to Balenciaga. He called us to say we were being flown to Paris to meet Lotta Volkova and Demna Gvasalia. I was then booked as a world exclusive! It was my first model job, so I was happy Deiwght was there with us. I’ve now done several runway shows and showrooms with them. I also have another major project coming out soon; it’ll be amazing but I can’t say anything about it yet... What's your dream job? I think I just shot my dream job but can’t say more about it right now. Other than fashion, my dream job would be to become a lawyer.
Tashi Banton, 23, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica
What's the biggest job you've worked on so far? I walked for Marni as an exclusive for AW19. What's your dream job? I would love to work with Chanel, especially on the runway and perhaps a beauty campaign. I also really love Balmain, I think their team looks really cool. Olivier seems really fun! When it comes to magazines, I would love to work with Vogue -- a cover would be nice! And i-D print, of course ;) What are your hopes for the future? I hope to develop an even more successful career. I’d like to be based in a city like New York, work on larger projects and travel to different locations around the world. I just want to be rounded. I want to look back and say I’ve experienced so much and I’ve travelled to so many places.
Val Haughton, 19, Clarendon, Jamaica
How did you get scouted? I was encouraged to attend a meeting to meet with Deiwght and when I met with him, he told me that I reminded him of one of his former star male models, Tafari Hinds. That definitely boosted my confidence. What's the biggest job you've worked on so far? Walking exclusively for Balenciaga AW19 earlier this year. It was such an honour because I knew a lot of Saint models had worked with them, so I was hoping that I soon would, too. I also just wrapped shooting something big, but that’s all I can say for now. How would you describe your personal style? I am a pretty easy-going guy. I like sleek, casual looks. I also love to stand out from the crowd. What are your hopes for the future? I want to work at the top of the business for the next 20 years -- that’s no joke!
Photography Amber Pinkerton
Styling Kadeem Rodgers
This article originally appeared on i-D UK.