"Under the Influence" of is a new series where we highlight Women who are leaders in their fields and communities.
We kick off our series with Ally Shell. She is the co-owner of the Neal Hamil Modeling agency. She runs the business with older brother Jeff Shell (who created the Little Black Dress) and is a force to be reckoned with! This working mom shares her story as well as gives advice on what it takes to walk in her well-heeled shoes:
What lead you into a career in the modeling business?
My family! The Shell family bought Neal Hamil Agency in 1993 and I started cleaning mirrors and floors on the weekends and Summers I helped cleaning makeup kits, etc. I've done almost every position in this company, except for owning it myself. I'm very fortunate to be born into a business I enjoy.
Who is your greatest influence and why? Did you have a mentor?
Personal, my family is my biggest influence. It’s important to always have people to believe in you, guide and teach you. Professionally, my brother Jeff Shell; CLICK Modeling Agency, and many of my clients. And maybe Anna Wintour and the Housewives of Beverly Hills (RHOBH)
What is something you have learned over the years working in the fashion industry?
You always have to stay two steps ahead. Whether its in fashion, trends or the details.
What have been some failures you have learned from?
I love failures. They have made me who I am today. Whoever says they don't have failures is LYING! I don't want to talk about yesterday, let’s talk about tomorrow!
What is your personal philosophy on success?
Don't think in problems, think in solutions!! A great handbag and shoes are also helpful!
what advice can you give to a young person who wants to be in your position?
Do what you want. If you ever wake up telling yourself you do not want to go to work, don't. Never throw out your old shoes before having new ones. If you want to work in the modeling business, start by interning, assisting, steaming clothes, doing social media, start low and climb high.
Describe a typical day at the office for you?
Every day when I arrive I look at a hot pink "hello gorgeous" neon sign. It starts my day off just right! I handle majority of the fashion clients of the agency and enjoy working with the new faces. It’s amazing what a few helpful tips can do for a new faces confidence. My day is filled with meeting and greeting clients and talent, handling bookings for models and maintaining who we represent. All while my six-month-old is rolling around on the floor by my feet.
Describe your style/ who your go to designers are
My style is effortless but cool. I love black, jackets, a good pair of skinny jeans and handbags are my weakness. Statement pieces are my way of changing up an outfit and supporting my local jewelry designer friends. Go to designers? Highbrow: Balenciaga, Chanel, WILT, Manolo. More bang for the buck: ZARA, H&M, Target, GAP basics. I love jewelry by Gypsy Collection (local), DePetra, fun pieces from my good friends at the Monogram Shop/Swoon.
what do you do when you're not working?
Family! My husband is darling and we have two beautiful children, Halla (3yr), Rijk (6 mo) & SJH (woof). We love to be outside, coffee, cooking, painting, traveling.
favorite places in the city to hangout with your friends
- Catalina Coffee, dinner aka girls dinner to my husband. Anywhere with shared plates and a delish glass of sparkling rose. We frequent parks and anything where the creative types are hanging.
Fun fact about you
I'm the youngest of six children; I work with one of them. I lived in Europe 2008-2012 and LOVED every moment of it. I learned to be myself without expectations, to talk to strangers, sit and enjoy a cup of coffee without taking it to do, dine by myself, knit and talk back in German.