Creative Direction and Styling: Samantha Ria // @samantharia
Photographer: Benjamin Glean // @benjaminjamesglean
Hair and Makeup: Jam Deluxe // @jam_deluxe
Interviewer: Johnson Gold // @johnson_gold
Styling Assistant: Molly May Taylor // @mollymay_stylist
Location: FHive Studio
Models: Souher, De Andre, Jay, Woo at @menacemodelmanagement
Sparked by a chance encounter that led to a career shift from the world of banking to the fashion industry, Patrick Egbon-Marshall shook things up from the get-go before landing on the idea of MENACE. From building his books from nothing to getting the first black boy in a Burberry show, PAUSE sat down with the MENACE Models founder for a catch up.
What is MENACE, what does it stand for and why did you start it?
The name MENACE, I came up with so many names and I don’t know why this just jumped out at me. I think it’s a reflection of how I was feeling at the time because a lot of things had happened personally and in the industry and a lot of changes were happening to society in general. A menace is someone that is kind of not a terror but can also be someone that makes an impression – so you can have a good menace and a bad menace, a menace is almost like a bit of a revolutionary if you want to push it that way so I think I was feeling a little bit like I wanted to make some noise and I thought I’m going to go with something that’s a bit cheeky, a bit naughty, just a bit of my personality as well and it just sounds like a cool name for a boys agency.
Just to keep things active for them? Because sometimes models get booked for a one time thing and they’re expecting you to do something. I’ve noticed the way people work, they watch you before they book you, and that goes for anything.
And then the funny thing is when they start working with you they almost forget the times when you were reaching out to them. It’s almost like now you’re here it’s fine. The industry is crazy.
How do you find the eye, one thing about you is you’re really good at scouting new models and talents, how do you find the eye?
I used to think that everyone can scout but I’ve had photographers that I respect suggest models to me who are terrible and it’s like you shoot for GQ surely you can spot a good model? So scouting is a skill. I don’t know it almost like you start building a house, the shape might be different but the materials you use are going to be the same.
I scout with how I feel, whether it’s a black boy or a ginger-haired boy it’s just you see the dynamics that you want but there’s also a connection there’s something you see that you feel could answer the questions of your clients. There are so many different layers to scouting: your own personal taste, a little bit of a feeling as to what’s happening in the industry and what clients want. If you can tick all of those boxes, then you can hopefully find a superstar. With Menace, it’s crazy – in a month I found two great boys who are now in Milan going to Paris then New York. A month to find them, develop them and send them out there.
You had the first black boy to do Burberry?
Yeah, Jourdan Copeland! I cried watching that show, it was a beautiful show. It was such a crazy feeling because you could see it there were so many white blonde boys and even then they only had one black boy. It was still like oh my God, you guys still don’t get it. But look at it now, a lot has changed. But I’m really proud to say I was part of a movement, I didn’t get up on a table and scream about it, I just did it.
I remember the first dreadlock boy I had. He came to me with small dreadlocks and I was like you need to grow your dreads, be proud of them and we will make some noise. We were doing dreadlocks before dreadlocks were cool in fashion. I feel like I have been a part of this movement in London and the reason I didn’t take up a bigger seat was because I was just doing my job and because I loved doing it. A lot of people thought I was the owner of the agency but I wasn’t asking for special treatment. A lot of people would have seen that and thought, he runs this successful agency but he’s still one of us – that was important to me. That all said, life happened and the cards all fell into place and I took my chance at a new beginning. And it was random as well.
What made you take a chance?
I took a break, I was done, I was taking time out I didn’t know if I wanted to be in the industry after ten years you kind of go wow I’ve done everything – I’ve scouted some of the best, I’ve changed the way society probably sees diversity. Anyway, during that time I scouted two boys.
Was that on purpose?
No, it just happened, it’s like I can’t help it! Then I was like now I’ve scouted them and you spend two weeks convincing them to be a model and I didn’t have anything.