TV preview: The Face

GOT THE LOOK: The Face's supermodel mentors Caroline Winberg, Naomi Campbell and Erin O'Connor.
GOT THE LOOK: The Face's supermodel mentors Caroline Winberg, Naomi Campbell and Erin O'Connor.
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A sleek Maserati is parked in the middle of a huge film studio, glinting under the beaming lights.

Next to it stands a model in killer knee-high boots with towering heels and a tiny shimmering dress.

But this isn’t any old model, this is an M&S model. Erin O’Connor to be precise. And next to her is Swedish stunner Caroline Winberg.

The two are appearing as mentors on Naomi Campbell’s modelling contest TV show, The Face, which they are filming today.

Campbell launched the competition in America earlier this year and now she’s decided to bring the format over to the UK. O’Connor and Winberg look, to be honest, a little bored, and after standing around for a good 15 minutes in stilt-like heels, they’re offered chairs. What we’re all waiting for, of course, is the arrival of 43-year-old Campbell, who is fashionably late.

Finally, after what feels like an age, she appears wearing a pair of Ugg boots and a dressing gown. She removes the comfy attire to reveal a small sequin dress and to put on a pair of heels that are even higher than her colleagues’.

Everyone stands to attention, much to the supermodel’s approval.

“Everyone on set has been amazing,” she says. “No one knows what mood I’m going to be in. I’m bossy, I know what I want and what I like, but everyone’s been great.

“American actors and actresses have told me they love to shoot over in Britain. Now I understand why – it makes me proud to be British.”

On the show, each mentor chooses four aspiring models to make up their team.

During the competition the three teams must battle it out in real-life fashion industry challenges, from catwalks to big-budget advertising campaigns, and are judged by fashion industry movers and shakers.

Each week one contestant leaves until eventually just one is left to claim the sought-after prize - becoming a brand ambassador for Max Factor’s Christmas advertising campaign.

As executive producer of the show, as well as a mentor, Campbell has a lot on her plate – not that she minds.

“I like working hard if it’s going to produce a good result. If I commit to something, I do it 110%. I’m not flaky like that,” she says.

The supermodel hand-picked O’Connor and Winberg as mentors.

“We’re all very different in our approaches, personalities and mentoring styles. We’re competitive with each other too,” Campbell admits.

She describes her mentoring style as having an element of tough love.

“I want to get the best out of my girls.

“I don’t waste time or mince my words,” she adds.

“I tell them when something’s wrong, but I also congratulate them and share in their victory when they do something right.”

Campbell says she has taught her models how to stay focused, take direction and how to tune out gossip - something Campbell, a regular source of interest for the press, has had to learn.

“And finally that you never stop learning. Never rest on your laurels and think, ‘I’ve got it now, I don’t need to practise or read my notes’. You’ve always got something to learn, no matter who you are and regardless of what you’ve achieved,” she notes.

As for mentors in her own life, Campbell says she didn’t really have anyone. “Just my mum. And I did OK,” she quips.

She did more than OK. Spotted when out shopping aged 15, she went on to work on campaigns for Chanel, Burberry, Yves Saint Laurent, Prada and Dolce & Gabbana, to name a few, and was one of the iconic ‘supers’ of the Nineties.

She has also been on the cover of more than 500 magazines, and was the first black model to appear on the front of French and Brazilian Vogue.

The fashion industry’s far more competitive now than it was when she started out, she says.

“There are more agencies, more models, more people wanting the same job. It’s tougher, more corporate. Social media has changed it too.”

The Face, Sky Living, Monday 9pm

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