Sophie McLean was scouted in a carpark in her neighbourhood when she was just 14. “I had no doubts about jumping into the scene,” she said. Her mother is an avid art enthusiast, and throughout her childhood, McLean was always encouraged to be creative whether it was painting, sewing, knitting or drawing. “I believe this flourished my love for creativity within fashion and experimenting with my personal style,” McLean added.

Now 18-years-old, McLean said modelling full time this year had been one of the craziest experiences of her life so far. Her biggest achievement so far was walking for Tiffany & Co and Naeem Khan at Singapore Fashion Week. McLean is signed with Red11 Models in Auckland, Andrews Models in Kuala Lumpur and Upfront Models in Singapore.

McLean has just returned from her first overseas modelling trip to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore for the past four months. “The first big difference I noticed with modelling overseas is the amount of opportunities available with modelling as their client bases are much larger. The culture change is also very apparent in the fashion industries as hours of work are much longer and a very strong work ethic is seen where New Zealand has a more laid back style and we often become more personable with the crew,” she said.

McLean feels she will be heading back to Asia soon for modelling, but her ultimate goal is to head back to London where she was born. “I fell in love with the city when I visited two years ago,” she explained.

At first, she wanted to become a model because it was an ideal gateway into exploring all the fashion industry had to offer. Now modelling has become much more of a passion of McLean’s and not only a means of living but a way to travel and meet new people every day. One of her biggest challenges so far has been the long list of castings McLean had to do overseas. “It isn’t actually a difficult task, but when you’re in a new country with different languages, getting around a busy city in a small amount of time can become a tricky situation,” she said.

McLean decided to take a gap year after high school to pursue her modelling career but is already looking into doing an online course in 2017 so she can integrate the two.

With the world as her oyster, McLean said she would personally love to work with Burberry as their brand epitomises a classically chic British style. If McLean didn’t get into modelling, she said she would still be in the industry, but as a stylist or photographer.