News & Runway

The Making of a Model: An Interview with Michael Flutie, Star of ‘Scouted’

Michael Flutie

Anyone who took part in discovering faces like Stephanie Seymour, Milla Jovovich, and Cindy Crawford should consider himself a public servant. For Michael Flutie, it’s all in a day’s work. The creator of The Scouting Company, New York City has been in the industry for nearly three decades and has a sixth sense when it comes to the “it” factor that separates a pretty face from the next Kate Moss. For his next project, E!’s Scouted, he’s assembled a dream team of tastemakers and trendsetters (read Dani Stahl, Image and Style Consultant; Beri Smither, Model Mentor; and Julia Samersova, Director of Scouting) to join him in documenting the scouting process. The eight-episode series lets viewers follow the personal stories of aspiring models from discovery to destiny, with Flutie leading the charge.

Julie Bensman: Congrats on the show! I know it’s been a long time in the making.

Michael Flutie: I’ve worked on this show for four years. It’s the typical story: I literally pounded the pavement, pitching it to so many people and everyone said I couldn’t do it….I waited two years, pitched the pilot again…and it finally got the green light. I really stuck to it. I wanted it to be real and organic. Now that the premiere is finally here, I kind of can’t believe it.

JB: Not only are you Creator and Executive Producer, but you also serve as Creative Director on the show. Tell me about that role.

MF: I wasn’t originally going to be in the show, but it just worked out that way. My experience as a model agent was essentially working as Creative Director, so that title made sense. On the show, I steer the brand message of what the scouting company is all about.

JB: E! is calling this a docu-series. How does that differ from a reality show?

Michael FlutieMF: For me, it was important to document the process of scouting models. We’re not forcing anything, we’re not staging anything. We’re observing. As producers, we’re documenting a process that involves scouts and undiscovered models. We’re following stories – meeting people’s parents, meeting their families. The format is very clean and organic.

JB: The word “supermodel” often gets tossed around lightly in this industry. How do you personally define that word?

MF: A supermodel is someone who has used modeling to create mass level awareness, while at the same time, maintaining the accolades and respect of the industry. Women like Giselle, Kate Moss, Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Janice Dickinson, and Naomi Campbell come to mind. A supermodel can work with iconic photographers, brands, and magazines (and demand a certain price point) and, at the same time, have the duality of having the masses know who they are. It’s a combination of art and commerce, with the portfolio to support that status.

JB: You’ve been in the industry for over 25 years. How have you seen it change during that time?

MF: The fashion industry didn’t change; the entire world changed! The way we communicate, the way we capture images, everything has changed. Models on magazine covers used to help sell fashion; now, celebrities on magazine covers help sell stories: what affair they’ve had, what triumph they’re celebrating, what movie they’re promoting. So there’s that, but then you bring in all these new media opportunities, which dilutes things. The good news is that because celebrities are creating awareness about fashion (as opposed to models), models now have the opportunity to create awareness about their stories and brands. In the next two or three years, I predict a resurgence of supermodels, those with something to say.

Scouted premieres Monday, November 28 at 10:00pm ET/PT on E!

image: Daniel Tanner/