Modelle International is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary in the fashion and beauty industry, with many of its alumni gracing our TV screens as presenters, or taking on modelling assignments overseas. Its founder, Ms Sue Rossi, looks back on her achievements with the courage to move forward.

Sue Rossi captured by Bernard Polidano


What makes Modelle International so special?

Modelle International’s role in fashion has contributed to paving the way for those willing to commence an exciting venture as TV presenters or promoters of modelling schools in Malta. I personally feel honoured to have been at the forefront of this cultural change. Through sheer determination and innovative tactics, much has been accomplished in an effective and efficient manner. The talent shows and the several events that captured the market at the time may be in the distant past, but their effects can still be felt today in our other ongoing events. Modelle International has altered attitudes and views with humility and sheer hard work.


Thirty years on; what had excited you about this project and what risks did you have to face?

Risks are part of the package. Any venture carries known and unknown factors. Identifying major risks and modifying a sensible business model to counter any fault lines was an imperative obligation throughout. Being aware of the external pitfalls made me realise that hedging against consequential fallouts required an impregnable presence, consisting of a strong inner circle where loyalty and trust are valued elements. Keeping an eye open for chances and possibilities is an obvious must. This is the driving force that propels me to move on. I believe that personal experiences, values and reasoning brought me to realise that being positive is in fact the most crucial ingredient of all.

What’s been the biggest challenge of working in the modelling industry?

Times change, and the crucial aspect is to keep abreast with the alternative scene. Taking a glance at occurrences and daily happenings is essential to introducing a new phase built on past achievements. Educating through modelling may be an under-noted contribution, but the appreciation of the long term objective has played an implied catalyst to professionalise the sector. Obtaining licences to the likes of Miss World explains our continuous awareness of these changes.

What have you learnt about being a good leader?

Learning is an endless process and fundamental to setting the pace. Rather than being a good leader, one has to strike a deal at being effective and conscious of others. I was actually a model myself, and my experience with modelling agency Model Noveau in Nottingham made me note that their success was a result of team work and vision, both essential to any promoter.

Stylish Sue, photo by Bernard Polidano


Is there a common misconception about what you do?

Judging others behind their back is a casual act at striving to undermine reputation. Such a hard-earned intangible asset is always the target of malicious attempts by feeble minded under-performers to subdue achievers. There are at times amateur attempts at denting name and gain, but such risks are well monitored and brushed aside.

What do you look for in a new model?

Upcoming models must possess a natural aspect about themselves. Artificial modes are a façade that easily melt under pressure. My sound advice is quite simple: project who you are, and refinement comes later. Individual outlooks and personalised touches with an artistic flare may be sighted as prominent trends. I’m a good listener and a motivator for those who wholeheartedly wish to pursue their dream.