We catch up with Pat Kraal, Singaporean supermodel of the ‘80s, who was recently in town
The 1980s saw the dawn of the age of the original Supermodels. There was former First Lady of France, Carla Bruni, Claudia Schiffer, Iman, Christy Turlington and our very own Pat Kraal.
Back then, Pat Kraal modelled for Parisian fashion designer and couturier, Jean Louis Scherrer for five years. She recently returned to Singapore to judge the Model Search Grand Finals, organised by Jurong Point, in partnership with Carrie Models International. She is now a talent scout for Global Faces Management.
Being a super model from the 1980s, how do you think the modelling industry HAS changed?
The competition these days is fierce, especially in Paris, thus it gets harder for a model to make it big these days.
Photos are overly “Photoshop-ed”, putting pressure on the young to be “perfect”.
During my time, we had fun doing shows; all the girls got along and we were like sisters. Nowadays, it’s “every model for herself”.
Do you have any advice for budding or aspiring models?
Be prepared to work hard, take an interest in your material (portfolios, videos, composites, etc.), learn from your mistakes and communicate with your bookers.
What was it like working with Carla Bruni and Christy Turlington? Are you still in contact with them?
Christy Turlington was one of the most professional, down-to-earth models I’ve met, while Carla Bruni was being the diva she naturally is.
We aren’t in contact as we only did shows together.
What’s the worse modelling horror story you’ve witnessed?
I’ll never forget the time when another model sprayed hairspray into my friend’s eyes. She pretended the hairspray can wasn’t working and came close to us trying to unclog the hole with a hairpin.
Apparently, she was jealous that my friend was getting more jobs than her!
As a talent scout, what do you look for when searching for a new face?
Female models must be at least 177cm tall, between 16 and 28 years old, thin but not ultra-skinny, have flawless complexion, healthy hair and a cheery disposition.
The criteria for male models are: a minimum height of 187cm, fit, good skin and hair, between 18 and 30-plus, and be pleasant and easy to work with.
They all need to be confident, organised, responsible, have stage and camera presence and a great personality.
Being in France, what do you miss most about Singapore?
The three Fs. Family, food and friends. I go back every summer to recharge my batteries, so it’s not so bad.