In an industry where height is prime, it seems particularly ironic (and almost unbelievable) that Sydney modelling agencies would shun a model for being 'too tall'. But that's exactly what they did.
Standing at a height slightly taller than supermodel Karlie Kloss (that is, six-foot something) and with an impressive mane of strawberry blonde hair, Sarah Jehan responded to her Sydney-based critics with an insatiable determination to be a model.
In 2011, the charismatic beauty signed with an agency in Melbourne. Soon after, she was boarding a plane to Paris for fashion week. Her modelling career is now thriving.
We talk with Jehan about her life as a model and other things fashion-related!
Q: Sarah, why modelling?
A: Modelling is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a young girl. I was a very shy child, so when I was 12 my parents encouraged me to attend the June Dally Watkins Junior Model Course. At the end of the course we were required to strut up a little catwalk.
Meeting Ms Dally Watkins and learning about modelling and etiquette at such a young age was a real confidence boost for me. It's how my passion for modelling and fashion developed.
Although it took a while for me to realise my dream (as some agencies considered me 'too tall'), through persistence and a lot of networking, I made it happen. I've been modelling professionally for about six years now.
Q: What do you love most about modelling?
A: I love that I get to meet a whole range of interesting people through my work and travel. I also love being able to experience new fashion trends first-hand.
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
A: I have a few highlights! The most recent was representing Australia in 'Top Model Worldwide' in London in March of this year and taking out 2nd place!
Last year, I had the incredible opportunity to work for the UK F.A.M.E. Team at the Sydney Hair Expo. We got along like a house on fire.
All of my international work is a highlight too (Paris fashion week in particular)!
Q: You do quite a bit of commercial modelling work; not just catwalk. Tell us about some of your recent shoots.
A: Of course; I love all of the creative projects I get to do!
I featured as the ‘tall girlfriend’ in the new ‘Gravox Singles’ TV commercial. That was a great shoot!
A couple of weeks ago I dressed-up as Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty for a Disney-themed photo shoot with amazing couture and eveningwear designer Lena Kasparian.
I also recently starred in emerging designer Anya Hurwood’s 'Zip Me Clothing Collection' campaign.
Another fav is when I shot with three beautiful Dobermans on the Cronulla Sand Dunes. It was a long day, and the dogs became my heat source shooting in the middle of winter, butI consider it one of my best shoots! It was also one of my most difficult - having to contend with three large puppies whilst wearing high heels on the sand! Luckily the owners were on hand to assist!
Q: What really goes on behind the scenes as a model?
A: I don’t want to ruin the glamorous image for you, but it’s a lot of waiting around and the atmosphere can be tense with 'bitchiness' and unhealthy competitive attitudes among some models.
Q: Which photographers in the industry do you most enjoy working with?
A: There are so many photographers I enjoy shooting with!
I love working with Von Trapp Photography! Our recent photo shoot featured a fox called Nimbus from the Sydney Fox Rescue. I have a great working relationship with NAT Photography as well.
Q: Define your personal style.
A: I would describe my style as 'citified country'; although I sometimes like to rock a complete country-style outfit with a checked shirt, belt with a large metal buckle, vest, jeans, cowboy boots and my Akubra!
I also love winter fashion, as well as dressing up and combining new and old trends together to create a unique look.
Q: Who would you say is your 'style muse'?
A: I have two: Kate Waterhouse and Karlie Kloss. Their sense of style wholly reflects their personalities. They don't try to be anyone but themselves.
Q: Your favourite designer is… ?
A: I don’t really have one particular favourite. I love the fashion houses of John Galliano, Balmain and Roberto Cavalli. They are insanely creative and think outside the box with all of their designs.
I also love the stunning cocktail and evening gowns of Australian designers Lena Kasparian and Alex Perry.
My favourite and 'go-to' Milliner is Embellish Atelier.
Q: Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar?
A: They are both amazing magazines, but I’d have to choose Vogue. The trends are easy to emulate and the style advice and articles are well-written and inspiring.
Q: Is there any particular designer piece you are crushing on right now?
A: I’m loving the new khaki Hannaville Jacket from R.M. Williams. As I said, I'm a citified country kinda girl!
Q: What do you hope to be doing in the next 5 years?
A: I’d love to be living and working overseas somewhere, both modelling and working in events management.
Q: If you could be anywhere else but here, where would you go?
Oooh, this is a hard one! There are so many places I want to see, but the top three on my bucket list are Calgary Stampede, Belgium and New York!