In 2005 Neely opened Sapphires Model management.
'When we first opened the agency, I used to spot people in the streets and run at them waving my business card in the air,' Neely, who established the agency in 2005, admits. 'In retrospect I must have looked like a total loony! But no one can ever accuse me of not being committed; once I nearly got crushed by a bus running after a model on the other side of the road. It all pays off in the end, though. There's nothing quite like scouting a young, potential model just working a regular day job, then developing them and watching them work their way up the ranks in the industry.
'Although we still street scout, we find that people are coming to us thanks to our reputation. We receive around 200 applications a week from all across the world; it's one less thing to worry about.'
As well as the agency, Neely is also an accomplished art director, creating and styling shoots for brands such as Harvey Nichols and Selfridges and celebrities including Adam Garcia, Dougray Scott and Billy Boyd.
'When I style shoots I like to create and develop my own brief,' Neely says. 'I plan the theme, find the location, pick the wardrobe and then just pull everything together. I'm like a kid in a sweet shop when I go and select my shoot pieces.
‘I’ve loved all the celebrities I’ve worked with, but working with Adam Garcia was like a dream come true. Like most people of my age, I had a huge crush on him growing up and can confirm that he’s just as good looking in person. When Adam wore the clothes I personally picked out for him it was like having my own, real-life Ken doll.’
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