The Girlboss Series: Rebecca-jo Dunham – Model and Agency Director


Rebecca-jo Dunham


Model and director of Agency F|H


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How did you get started in the modelling world?

I grew up in the country as that awkward lanky kid, people would always tell me that I should model but I had no idea how I would do that. When I was in high school my mom and I were having lunch at Fresh, we had come downtown shopping for the day. At this point I had met a few agencies in Toronto and had been told that I wasn’t for them but that I should keep trying because I had what it took to be a model. A beautiful woman came up to my mom and I and asked me had I ever modelled before, she was a Ford model herself and thought I had potential. That was all I needed to push harder and start my career.

How did you make the decision to start your own venture?

I sort of fell into model management. I had no retirement plan for modelling and no idea what I wanted to do with my life afterwards. I had an agent in Kuala Lumpur ask me if I had friends who wanted to come to model with him and he would give me a commission. I had that light bulb moment and was like OH I can make money from helping my friends with their careers? More and more friends expressed their frustrations with their managers and asked me for help. Two years ago my best friend (pola sikora) and I were like we don’t like how parts of this industry are run, we are frustrated with our own management and we can do a good job so lets do this! Now we represent close to 30 models.

What were the risks?

Failure. The biggest risk was having people not trust me and take me seriously. As a woman and a young woman, I faced a lot of people not taking me seriously. I don’t think it helped that I had once modelled for some agencies and now I was the boss.

What have been the rewards?

Empowerment- for me and for my models. I watch these young women and men bloom into confident happy people. I’ve found some girls with terrible management and not reaching their potential. With the right grooming and right career moves these girls have developed so much. I feel grateful and proud every single day.

Where is the best place you have lived?

Mexico City!!!! This place has my entire heart and soul! I love the food, the vibrant street life, the natural beauty, the architecture and the people. Mexican people are the most fun and the nicest people in the world. My clients were so respectful to me and my friends there will do anything for a friend. Mexican spanish is the sexiest and funniest language ever, there is so much slang that is totally un-translatable. People love life there, even if its hard. The food in Mexico City is unreal, you can eat street tacos for less than a dollar and it puts grand electric to SHAME! Not to be mean but there is nothing like the real thing! My advice is go to Mexico city- drink all the mezcal your liver can handle, have a love affair with a latin man and bring pepto bismo- you might need it!

What is the best shoot you’ve done?

I’ve shot for ELLE magazine multiple times and I have to say every single time is amazing! They always have the best teams, the best styling and the best makeup. One of my most memorable shoots was for a Chinese magazine, Modern Weekly. The whole team left from shanghai on a bus. It was like a road trip. Me and the other model were both native English speakers, which is rare and lucky, so he and I had a great time telling stories. The team was one I had worked with before and my favourite booker came along on the shoot. She is like my big sister. After driving 6 hours we jumped into these tiny boats and headed to the island which we were shooting on. Loading Gucci, Chanel and Louis Vuitton on to make shift chinese fishing boats was quite a sight to see. Arriving at the island all the school children came out to greet us. It felt like the chinese version off the south of Italy. Small homes built into the island, although much less posh. As the day progressed I really needed to use to washroom, my booker asked the elderly couple who were making fishing nets on the beach where I could find a toilet. They offered me theirs. They invited me into their home and gave me tea. The elderly woman continued to knit and even taught me how! It was an experience that will stay with me forever.

What is your next step?

I’m heading back to Mexico City in October! My ultimate steps are to continue to build my business and my models. Nothing is more gratifying to me than watching my models find their confidence and success.

Pick any place in the world to teleport to right now.

Tokyo! I had some goals I want to hit before I go, I promised my little brother I would hit them before my birthday next year and take us both to Tokyo- on me!


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