One of the many exciting things about Kuwait is the sheer number of opportunities there are here for the focused entrepreneur. Landing on Kuwait’s shores in 2012 the Transylvanian born model, Claudia Bianca Sutu known as Bianca, found that she was able to utilize her decade long fashion experience by collaborating on various shoots with Kuwait-based photographer Romeo Debies, founder of Romeo Productions. Combining her experience, creative inclinations and organizational capabilities, Bianca honed her skills further as an Art Director.
While working with other models on set, Bianca realized that there is a whole other valuable application to her experience and knowledge of the fashion business in Kuwait and the UAE. As founder, CEO and Creative Director of CBS MODEL MANAGEMENT, she now scouts and develops models from all around the world for big-name luxury brands in the Middle Eastern market. Eager to learn more, Bianca takes the time to talk to us during a brief break from an editorial shoot in Europe.
What inspired this career path?
Being a creative person has always been in me, ever since I was a child. I always felt a taste for beauty, uniqueness and design. The only constant thing that I would do throughout my childhood, was either to be in front of the mirror or in front of the camera. I was fascinated by the idea of giving life to different characters with different stories. This is what eventually brought me to Theatre Academy later on. I also studied management and marketing, so in a way, you could say I was developing tools to bring a pragmatic foundation to my childhood dreams.
What brought you to the Middle East and why did you choose to settle down in Kuwait?
I was recruited via a head hunting recruitment agency and I was given an offer to relocate to Kuwait. I arrived in the Middle East with a job, but I understood very quickly that I wanted to be independent and work for myself. After only three months, I planned out how I could combine my strongest passions; fashion and advertising. Soon I was collaborating as an Art Director for different, very influential shoots and TVCs in the region with Romeo Productions. I was taking care of project casting management for big clients in the region such as Jazeera Airlines, Zain, Viva and Ikea.
Explain the journey from being in front of the camera as a model to organizing things behind the camera.How did it all happen?
I was in front of the camera for more than 10 years; my first contract was in Milan and then Paris and Barcelona. I wanted to understand the world behind the camera as well. After I founded CBS MODEL MANAGEMENT, I felt an urge to give shape to my artistic vision. I am very involved in creating the models’ portfolios and creating mood boards and artistic vision for the shoots.
How do you find being a foreign woman in business in the Middle East?
Being a business woman here is different than in Europe, one of the reasons might be the fact that women are treated with more respect in the Middle East, as far as I’ve seen. Building the business was challenging and rewarding at the same time, since I had the opportunity to work through CBS MODEL MANAGEMENT with great clients such as Chanel, Ingie Paris, Etoile Boutique and Ralph Lauren, to name just a few. I also help in organizing fund raising charity events such as the Mentor Arabia Gala. This is a high-caliber gala where all the funds raised to support for child sufferers of cancer in Lebanon. I find it is a very big opportunity, to be a business woman here.
How many (and which) nationalities of models do you have on your books and how do you find them?
We have an impressive number of models and the nationalities range from US, UK, France, The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Ukraine, Romania, Poland and South Africa. The models we have in our portfolio have been scouted by our international talent scouts placed in Romania, Ukraine, Germany or The Netherlands or simply the models have found us via our social media accounts.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a model in the Middle East?
It is a different market in the Middle East, you have to understand that and adapt to it. It is very important knowing how to choose what is best for you, be ready to embark on a beautiful adventure where no two days are alike, be open to learn daily from the people you work with and don’t take yourself too seriously, stay humble and down to earth.
If someone wanted to join CBS Models, how would they do that?
They just have to submit their statistics data and details, 5 photographs, including 2 full length and 3 portrait, to our website www.cbsmodels.com or go on any of our social media accounts and message us.