Two years ago, when she was 14, April Tiplady’s grandmother bought her a grooming course at Adelaide’s Finesse Models to help her confidence. Last week she was signed to IMG Models worldwide.
Literally, that’s how quickly things have happened for the 5'10" Adelaide 16 year old, who became a topic of discussion over dinner last Wednesday in Sydney between Finesse Models managing director Brigette Mitchell, IMG Models vice president head of development (New York) David Cunningham, IMG Models VP of development (Paris) Jeni Rose and Danielle Ragenard, the general manager of IMG Models’ brand new Australian division, which opened several months ago in Sydney.
Cunningham and Rose are regular visitors to these shores, popping down several times a year to check out the talent.
The dynamic development duo has good reason to keep coming back down under. Back in 2003, Cunningham launched the international career of one Gemma Ward who, by early 2007, had earned the coveted world number 1 spot on models.com's Top 50 Women list. Many other Australians, from Miranda Kerr to Abbey Lee Kershaw, have since carved their own highly successful careers and this country has now emerged as one of the world's top model scouting markets.
Mitchell reports that she had kept her eye on Tiplady over the past two years and eventually signed her to Finesse Models several months ago. But she has yet to even appear on the Finesse website.
When Mitchell showed Tiplady's photos to Cunningham and co on Wednesday, the wheels were quickly set in motion. A plane ticket was booked for Tiplady and her mother for 9.00am Thursday morning and they flew to Sydney to meet the IMG Models crew and do some test shots with James Nelson (above, below). She was then signed on the spot to IMG worldwide - that is, every major city in which IMG Models operates.
How unusual is this?
“I don’t know that it normally happens that quickly - in less than 24 hours, she’s gone from modelling school to getting on a plane to Sydney, to being tested and signed" says Ragenard. "She is quite unique, with amazing bone structure and she has a fragility about her which I think is really beautiful”.
What's next on the cards? Yet more test shots, most likely in Paris - and a Paris Fashion Week exclusive for February 2013.