Sarah Douglas strolls into Starbucks in Newcastle, having just flown up from London for a whirlwind overnight stay.
She’s easy to spot walking through the door, with her trademark dark bobbed hair and gamine features, not to mention her very slender 5ft 10.5-inch frame.
Dressed in cool vintage-style clothing, a leather-look mini skirt, buttoned-up shirt and sixties-style black and white flats, the 20-year-old’s looks are much in demand and she is clearly going places.
Those model looks have taken her from home in Monkseaton to New York, Paris London and Tokyo.
She’s just appeared in a showpiece 12-page fashion feature in Italian Elle. Shot by Michael Sanders, it has a cool ‘Swinging London’ 60s-style theme, and was photographed last June. It was secured through the agency she uses in Paris, Marilyn Agency, although Premier Model Management is still her London agency.
Sarah, ‘call me Doug’ explains: “It’s very much styled on Twiggy and 60s style. It was a mix of clothes, designer brands, some Valentino.”
“It’s really nice to see a 12-page spread and nice to do on your own. My style is very based on the 60s, so it’s much in keeping with what I like to wear!”
It was shot in London and includes street scenes in Notting Hill, Portobello Market and includes her posing on a Vespa, as well as studio shots.
Nice work if you can get it.
She sips tea as we chat about her journey from first being spotted by talent scouts in Newcastle to strutting her stuff on the catwalks at London, Paris and New York Fashion Weeks and modelling for the likes of Marc Jacobs, Saint Laurent and Giles Deacon.
“I’m very surprised at how it’s worked out. I never would have thought this would have happened. I have had so many opportunities,” she says in typical modest style.
Sarah, who uses the name Doug for her modelling work, is a former pupil of Central Newcastle High School in Jesmond.
Model looks she may have, but she is big on brainpower too; she’s in her final year at Royal Holloway University in London, where she’s studying psychology.
“I really like it. I have always been really interested,” she says of the course.
Juggling the modelling and uni work must be tricky at times but Sarah seems to have the balance worked out.
“It was all right in the first year. In my second year I didn’t work as much, nowhere near as much as my first year. I tried to do stuff in holidays, plus uni is really supportive and I can get lecture notes online. I will have to focus on third year.”
She first came to the attention of model scouts at Central Station when she was in the Sixth Form and her dad took a picture of her along to show representatives from Premier Model Management who were scouring train stations in 2011.
She was subsequently invited to some test shoots by the agency in London, which still represents her today.
“We went to London and popped in with the family and squeezed in a couple of shoots.”
Mum used to teach and now runs holiday cottages in Northumberland, while Dad is an accountant, and she has a brother Joseph, 17.
Prior to being scouted, Sarah had done little in the way of modelling and recalls with a smile the Central High fashion shows she >> appeared in, where pupils remember she was very good at choreography and owned the catwalk.
“I had done a job in Stockholm and little things but after I finished sixth-form I went down for two to three weeks and did more test shoots and worked on my walk.
“At the end of that summer I did Paris Fashion Week in September at the same time as starting uni. I had packed for uni and got a call to go to Paris. I was meant to be going to uni the next day.”
Her obliging parents did the carting of stuff to uni!
In the following years she has racked up high-profile work including catwalk shows in New York, London and Paris and has walked for the likes of Marc Jacobs, Giles Deacon, Rocha and Saint Laurent. Of Saint Laurent, “I have done exclusive for them three times. The designer (creative director Hedi Slimane) has a collection of girls who he often uses again and again.”
Sarah says he has modernised the brand. In doing so, she says, he is making the brand more appealing to a younger audience, more viable and more accessible.
She has worked in the same shows as fellow British top models such as Cara Delevingne, Sam Rollinson and Edie Campbell. “Sam is from up North. I know her and have a chat if I bump into her. Cara and Edie both did the Saint Laurent shows my first season and Giles Deacon shows the following season.”
She has been touted as one of the new British girls to watch by Vogue and was profiled in an issue of Miss Vogue.
She has also done some online modelling work for Diesel and appeared in a Topshop shoot for their magazine.
For all the jet-set lifestyle, she is incredibly grounded. “I have learned from living with other models that things can change in a heartbeat. I appreciate the work I have been given. But there’s no point in hoping for other things. Just live in the moment.
“I’m a vegetarian and naturally skinny. I try to do pilates and yoga and I’m really into healthy eating.”
“I want to finish my degree. I’m not sure what I want to do afterwards. With modelling it can be really busy and really quiet, but you don’t have a lot of control over it.
“I have kind of learned you have no control over it and there’s no point in stressing. If it ends tomorrow, I have been very fortunate to have amazing experiences and to travel. I have to appreciate what’s happened so far.
“The first time I did Paris and got told I was doing the exclusive I was exploring Paris on my own. I had never done anything like that before. And the opportunity to travel to Tokyo was such a culture shock. I wrote a blog on my experiences there because it is so different.”
In terms of upcoming modelling work, Sarah says: “You never really know what you have got coming up until a week before. I kind of have to wait and see.”
In terms of her own everyday style, her favourite era is the sixties. “With quite an adrogynous look, I like tailored shirts and mini-skirts.”
Her style icons include sixties models Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol’s muse, and Twiggy.
And she is very particular about who looks after her hair. Although she will have a fringe trim here and there, she has her tresses tended to by Joel at Daniel Galvin in London.
Sarah loves shopping at the likes of Urban Outfitters and Topshop. “I’m not really into buying designer clothes. I like having a lot of clothes! I like vintage stuff. There are so many great vintage shops in London and I found lots of good ones in Japan.”
She is a vegetarian and explains she comes from a skinny family. “I’m a vegetarian and naturally skinny. I try to do pilates and yoga and I’m really into healthy eating.”
Sarah comes home as often as she can. “Through the summer I come back as much as I can. I love the North East. I miss the beach so much.”
SARAHS LUXE THINGS IN LIFE
Travelling – there are lots of places I haven’t had a chance to see.
I would love to buy a really nice vintage car, a sixties one, and I would try to find a really nice vintage bag somewhere.
Me and my mum do occasional spa days now and then. We always go to Rockliffe Hall.