Jack is off to Paris, Jane awaits opportunity to walk world’s runways
It’s the week after Daylight Savings Time has ended. Toronto is awash in fall misery but looking out from the inside, overlooking the city’s fashion district from the office of Elmer Olsen Model Management, there’s a glow to the city, much like the lights over a runway.
Jack Bradshaw, 18, and his sister Jane, 16, are tucked in a small conference room with their mom, Gillian.
They’re sharing how they each got into the world of fashion, in an interview just before Jack left for Paris on Nov. 11. The story starts with Jack, who was scouted at the young age of 14.
Jack was just a regular teenager who read Sports Illustrated and played rugby at North Toronto CI.
“I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to do it, but they kind of checked in every couple of months,” the 6-foot-3 graduate admits. “At that point I didn’t really have an interest.”
Gillian echoes some of his sentiments.
“Yeah, at first we were like, ‘Thank you, but no thank you’,” she says, with a wry grin. “Then they said, ‘Do you mind if we check in every three months?’ and I was like, I don’t think we’re going to do this.”
Once the summer in which he turned 16 rolled around, Jack needed a job. He began to ponder the modelling agent’s proposal.
“We were thinking, you were turning 16 that summer, and I said, ‘Are you going to get a summer job?'” Gillian recalls. “They happened to call that evening, and I said to her, ‘This is really uncanny that we were just discussing a summer job, so if he could do this …”
Jane sits quietly, smiling at the banter between mother and brother, and then lights up when given the opportunity to describe her introduction to the modelling world, her love of fashion and her inspiration, Grace Codddington, the creative director at American Vogue.
“I loved looking at the pictures because we had a subscription to Fashion Magazine and Elle Canada,” she says, beaming. “I used to flag the photos I liked at first.”
At 5-foot-11, one would automatically assume if she’s a model, and after a trip to London, England for one of Jack’s shoots, people were suspecting as much.
“We did a bunch of research, and we thought that Elmer would be a good fit, and we came in, and he loved me, so he signed me on the spot,” she says.
Jane signed in September, 2013. Jack signed not long after, when his contract with a rival agency had run out.
The two don’t regret their moves, they say. But there are challenges, of course — more so for Jane than for Jack.
Even though Jane’s the editor of North Toronto CI’s student newspaper, Graffiti, she faced some tough criticism of model behaviour.
“I’ve had one friend was just like, ‘Why would you value your beauty over your brains?” she shares, with Jack audibly pushing air out his nose in disapproval. “I think initially people were hesitant at first, but then I tried to explain to them, and educate them more about what it is.”
Jack’s waiting to see what comes next as he’s deferred his university career until next year.
As for Jane, she’s already got a long list of designers she wants to walk for. It includes Stella McCartney, Alexander Wang, Chanel and Dior, naturally.
“I love all those,” she admits. “I think Burberry would be really cool too.”
Though Gillian, and husband John, never expected their children to be walking the paths of Tyson Beckford and Cindy Crawford, they’ve come to accept it.
“It’s been a great experience with Jack,” Gillian admits. “I was a little nervous initially, and then having gone through it with him I’m okay with Jane getting into it.
“It’s just good life experience.”