There’s a lot more to professional modeling than just maintaining a great physique and being able to really look good in front of the camera. And for veteran model Ellis McCreadie, “more” has meant everything from singing on demand for a shoot to making sure that he put the clothes he wore back on the hanger after the cameras stop rolling.
Ellis McCreadie has appeared in shows and campaigns for the likes of Ralph Lauren and Estée Lauder, as well as countless of editorials. And today, he’s sharing the story of his career with DA MAN, along with some tips on suits for good measure.
DAMAN: Hi, Ellis. Thank you for making the time to have this chat with us. How are you doing and what keeps you busy these days?
Ellis McCreadie: Of course, my pleasure. I’m doing great! I just had the best year and a half. I’ve been spending as much time as possible with my wife and son. The rest of the time you can find me doing my newfound hobby, landscaping. [Laughs]
DAMAN: When we learned that we were going to feature you in our magazine, we took a peek at your Instagram account and learned about your wedding not too long ago. So, a belated congratulations from all of us here. How is married life treating you?
Ellis McCreadie: Thank you! And yes, Amy and I got married back in September. I absolutely love being married. She’s an incredible person. Knowing that I have my partner for life is such an amazing feeling.
DAMAN: Unsurprisingly, you look ed great in a suit. So, this might sound a bit random, but what would be your, say, top three tips about suiting up for any prospective grooms—or just about anyone wanting to up their suit game, really— among our readers?
Ellis McCreadie: First and foremost, make sure you have a great tailor. Tailors can make or break a suit. Second, do a little research. Figure out what style of suit you’re looking to purchase. Then it’s all about the fabric. For our wedding, I designed my tux together with a bespoke tailor in Seattle and brought the fabric in from Scotland because I wanted tartan.
DAMAN: If we could look even further back, you started your modeling career in 2009 if we’re not mistaken? What was it about modeling that initially sparked your interest in it? EM: Actually, I started modeling in 2004. I was scouted in my senior year of high school. Although exciting, I was always more interested in college.
Ellis McCreadie: I’ve always had an interest in advertising-the way brands market themselves. I like how fashion brings out people’s personalities.
DAMAN: When you first started modeling professionally, what were some of the biggest challenges you faced? And how did you deal with them?
Ellis McCreadie: Pretty much everything. When I first started modeling my life was full of the unknown, but it was all very exciting! Moving to New York City was the biggest challenge. Leaving my family, especially my mom, was tough.
DAMAN: On the flip side, what parts of the job did you end up enjoying the most?
Ellis McCreadie: The traveling is great but the friendships I’ve formed throughout my time as a model far outweigh that.
DAMAN: One of your early projects was for an Estée Lauder Pleasures Eau Fraiche Fragrance campaign. Now, we’ve often heard about landing a fragrance campaign being a major goal for professional models. Can you enlighten us a bit about why this can be a big deal?
Ellis McCreadie: This one all comes down to money. Fragrance ads pay the most and often come with renewal checks. The ads are highly visible which is great exposure for a model.
DAMAN: All in all, what would you say was the most important project during the earlier parts of your career? Your breakthrough gig, if you will…
Ellis McCreadie: I feel like I had a lucky start. I booked Abercrombie and Fitch, GQ, L’Uomo Vogue, Allure and a catalog all before ever going on a casting or meeting my agent. So, to me, booking a job from a casting was a breakthrough. It’s the rebooking clients that keep you busy. though, and for me that was Macy’s.
DAMAN: And if we take into account your entire career, what is your all-time most significant professional milestone?
Ellis McCreadie: I’m biased on this, but it’s Ralph Lauren without a doubt. He’s my favorite designer.
DAMAN: How about the most challenging? What was the most difficult, weirdest or otherwise most extraordinary thing that you’ve ever had to do in front of a camera?
Ellis McCreadie: There’s been a lot, but one time in Germany takes the cake. I totally thought the client was joking. They kept saying that I was going to be singing. I don’t sing, not even karaoke. The last shot I’m on set with an Elvis mic in hand and they aren’t looking for lip syncing. They started playing music in English and told me to sing out loud. I never tried harder to nail a shot so I could get off set. [Laughs]
DAMAN: Whether it’s for ad campaigns or fashion shows, what do brands and designers usually look for in a model? Or in other words, what does it take to convince a brand to pick you from among hundreds of other models?
Ellis McCreadie: If I had the answer to that I would book every job. [Laughs] Just kidding. You have to realize you aren’t doing to be right for every job.
DAMAN: What a lot of people often don’t realize is the role that modeling agencies play. Can you tell us a bit about how you got in touch with your first agency and what working with a proper modeling agency really entails?
Ellis McCreadie: Having a great agent or agency is extremely important. The agency is like a production team for your career. They are getting you in front of clients, handling all the booking details, travel, etc.
DAMAN: In all your years in the modeling business, what is the most unique piece of advice you’ve ever received or heard?
Ellis McCreadie: My favorite advice was from a seasoned model. It was my first day with a new client and he says to me during the first look: “They like it when you put the clothes back on the hanger.” I worked with the client for many years and I’m still putting clothes on hanger.
DAMAN: Have you ever thought about delving into any other aspects of the fashion business besides modeling? Trying your hand at photography, perhaps? Or maybe something else entirely?
Ellis McCreadie: If I was going to switch roles in the business, I’d either be a stylist or an art director. Both are really interesting to me.
DAMAN: What is next for you? What is the next big milestone you want to reach?
Ellis McCreadie: I’m just enjoying being married! I’m focused on my family right now. We always have a house project going on. I’d say bathroom renovations will be the next milestone.
DAMAN: What is it that motivates you to do what you do and drives you to reach out toward new goals?
Ellis McCreadie: Well, I’m a perfectionist which is all the motivation one needs, and I’m also creative. The ideas and goals are never ending. Most important to me is how I treat myself and others. I love to see people happy.
PHOTOGRAPHY & STYLING ALDRIN PAUL DEL CARMEN
MODEL ELLIS McCREADIE / SOUL ARTIST MANAGMENT
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