“Sharing beauty” has been Scott Lipps’ personal mission since he founded One Management, one of the world’s leading modeling agencies. The agency represents a who’s who of beauty in America; the faces that capture his imagination become the faces that we see on billboards and the pages of magazines. He represents Helena Christensen, Eva Herzigova, Iman, Bar Refaeli, Claudia Schiffer and Poppy Delevingne. Women whose eyes, lips and skin will be remembered as what defined beauty in the 20th and 21st centuries. And reveling in the perfection of the human form is something we all deserve to enjoy, according to Lipps.
“Sharing that beauty is the thing that gets me up in the morning,” says Lipps, speaking from his office in New York. “That’s what makes me excited about doing the job—creating stars. The high you get from finding someone and the next thing you know she’s scoring cosmetic campaigns and covers of magazines. You start to see someone grow. It’s exciting!”
Born and raised in Long Island, New York, Lipps moved to L.A. as a teen and studied drumming at the Percussion Institute of Technology and media management at Cal State Northridge, during which time he played with L.A. Guns singer Paul Black. When an arm injury put an end to his musical aspirations, he took a job at NEXT Model Management, upon the suggestion of his mother, who remembered his interest in the fashion world. Natural charisma, combined with a remarkable eye for what photographs well, helped him rise quickly through the ranks. He branched out on his own and established One Management in 2002 and now reps not only models but celebrities like Nicki Minaj, Norman Reedus, Steve Aoki and Tiesto.
At that point, there were around 500 working models in New York City. Now there are anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 world-class beauties wandering the streets of Manhattan at any given time.
“It’s inundated,” he says, acknowledging that there are worse problems for a city to have. But now, with increased competition, it’s no longer enough for a model to rely on remarkable genes to score the big campaigns; his or her beauty needs to shine from the inside too. “The newer concept of inner and outer beauty means it’s about the entire package,” he says. “You have to have a beautiful personality as well as being aesthetically remarkable. That’s what makes a model successful these days.”
Lipps’ particular take on beauty is firmly rooted in the timeless supermodel look, à la Christy Turlington and Claudia Schiffer, as opposed to edgy, trendy looks that might only last a few seasons. That timelessness doesn’t always equal perfect symmetry, though. Sometimes there’s a mystery factor, and it just works in photographs. “Someone’s face might not exactly be in proportion; there might be something a little bit untraditional and that can really work too.”
You can take a peek at Lipps’ adventures through the beauty sphere at his site, PopLipps (some of his photographs were published in his book POPLIPPS: Plus One) and in his Friday column on Interview magazine’s website. Must be a dream job, being surrounded by some of the greatest beauties of our time, day in day out. Indeed it is, although Lipps admits that after a while even beauty becomes something you get used to. “I see girls on a daily basis, thousands upon thousands over the years, and you do get desensitized.” But still, when a truly remarkable face walks in the room, his heart rate jumps. “It doesn’t happen everyday… but still, I get stunned.”