Beri Smither

International cover girl and American model famous for her million-dollar smile, Beri now looks to develop young hopefuls who were once just like her. Originally from Salem, Oregon, Beri was discovered by former French VOGUE editor Carine Roitfeld.  Beri has appeared on the covers of countless magazines, including American, British, Italian and French VOGUEElleMarie ClaireGlamour and Cosmopolitan.  Beri spoke with me and Emily Sandberg about her involvement in Scouted and what it takes to remain at the top after all these years.

How have you been able to stay the course and continue when most girls disappear after a few years?

The fact that I have been able to sustain a long and fruitful modeling career is more than I could ever ask for.  First and foremost, I give credit to my amazing management team.  Longevity has always been our focus.  We have flowed with, and adapted, to the demands of popular culture and the economy in order to best utilize my skill set.  Being innovative and willing to continually reinvent yourself contributes to longevity as well.

Aesthetically speaking, I fall into the “classic beauty” category versus “unique beauty.”  I inherited a great pearly white smile that can take you a long way too. These assets all play a part in the longevity of my career.  Classic beauty equates to approachability and a smile conveys happiness and joy.  Also, I’ve always looked at everything I encounter in the business as an opportunity and I try to use those opportunities to the best of my ability.

What qualities must a model have today in order to succeed in the modeling business?

First, they need to meet the physical requirements.  What sets models apart are their personalities, passion, intelligence and business sensibility.  In order to become a successful model, one needs to have all of these attributes.  They also need to be able to move well in front of the camera and know how to speak for on camera work such as TV commercials, digital content, hosting jobs, etc.

What support for models would you love to see created that doesn’t already exist?

I would love to see a union that provides health insurance similar to the one offered by The Screen Actors Guild.  I’d also like to see a governing body that regulates working conditions so that models are protected and safe.  It would be really great for young boys and girls to have access to access mentorship and be provided financial and investment planning along with tax planning.

 

 

Why this TV show?  What drew you to becoming involved in Scouted?

I was drawn to this show because it is an amazing opportunity to utilize my experience. Scouted is an authentic reality show documenting the process of finding a “diamond in the rough,” preparing her, then getting her signed to an agency.  Michael Flutie is the producer and creator of the show so I trusted the aesthetic of what we were documenting.

Can you talk about your relationship with Michael Flutie?  It’s rare that a girl stays with her agent throughout her entire career?

OMG!  Michael Flutie means so much to me.  I absolutely adore him.  He is my agent first then friend and mentor second.  Because of our long history together I consider him family.  He has always been on my side and shown me his true self through his actions.  He is the real deal.  I have been on and off the beam in life and work, but Michael has always been consistent with me giving me honest support and love no matter what.

I respect Michael and I think he is brilliant.  One of his most impressive qualities is his positive outlook on life and he always fights and stands up for what he believes in.  His opinions are usually in the minority most of the time, which in my experience, is often the wisest and most innovative.  Michael tends to paddle upstream before others catch on.  Michael is not afraid to make mistakes, and more importantly, not afraid to take business risks.  His energy is infectious and always inspires me.  Michael challenges you, makes you want to be a better person and to give more of yourself.  He truly is one of a kind.

How did you cope with the initial thrust into fame with modeling?  What effects did it have on you and how were you able to integrate it?

I found the initial thrust into fame was very helpful.  I believe it created an easier path for me. When you are in demand, everyone wants to keep the logistics running smoothly for you.  Having these things hammered out for you allows you to have less of a struggle and consequently less stress.  That was my experience.  I feel incredibly blessed by my journey on in modeling.

Jacquelyn Jablonski and Crystal Renn in V Magazine

Can you talk about the change we’ve seen in model’s bodies the past five years?  Is the standard different today than it was when you first started?

What works, body wise, has ebbed and flowed and I believe it always will.  Fashion goes in a circle and lands on one or two trends for about five years then moves on to the next thing.  However, the last five years have been monumental.  For example:

  • Plus size modeling has found its place and is being rightfully celebrated.
  • Beauty and fashion campaigns started using beautiful people, not just beautiful models.
  • The Council of Fashion Designers of America created a health initiative campaign to raise awareness and create an atmosphere that supports the well-being of these young women.

You’ve worked with every major photographer in the business, what piece of advice would you give a model going on her first test shoot?

Get involved, ask questions, show your personality, be confident and connect with your team on set.  Get involved in what image they are trying to create.  Understand that this is your stage. Don’t be afraid to be what you think will make a good photo and ask for feed back.  Try all sorts of things with your body and facial expressions.  It takes work and a lot of energy.  Whether the shoot demands high energy, stillness or a mix, just be focused.  Most of all – have fun!

How much control does a model have in her career?

That’s between her and her agent.  It’s a relationship.  Ask questions and stay in tune.  Learn as much as you can about the business.

A new girl watching Scouted wants to be discovered.  What advice do you have for her? How does she get started?

First, she must be 5 feet 9 inches or above and have the face and body of a model.  If she is shorter and still thinks she can work then she should submit pictures of herself to modeling scouts.  There may be a rare exception like Kate Moss.  Hello!  Major!

Next, she should ask herself if she has what it takes.  Is she passionate about the idea of modeling?  Does she like to travel?  What is her true motivation?

Scouted premieres Monday, November 28th at 10pm ET/PT on E!

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