For more than a decade, Olga Barrale has been involved in the most prestigious events of the Principality of Monaco. Using her vast experience, she is also the founder of Haute Models the only authorised modelling agency in the Principality of Monaco.
Long-term resident Olga Barrale is among the most influential people working behind the scenes. Living in Australia before where she worked in a corporate environment, Olga’s desktop screensaver was a picturesque “village”, her very first encounter with the Principality of Monaco.
“Every day I stared and finished my office work with a glimpse of this paradise. Believe it or not, I never knew what it was until one day I realised that the “rat race” was guzzling the best years of my life and I decided to quit the corporate job and chase my dreams instead,” – remembers back Olga.
When did you arrive in Monaco?
“It was 2010, the year when Mark Webber conquered the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix. Automatically, all Aussies including myself felt right at home and never wanted to leave ever again.
The plan was to go straight to the top. Like so many others, I came to Monaco to experience the thrill of the Grand Prix and immediately recognised the familiar view of my screensaver.”
Thanks to her experiences and personality, Olga was hired by Sonia Irvine as the Head of PR for Amber Lounge and the next few years travelled the world following the Formula One races, helping to organise exclusive afterparties and charity fashion shows.
Her plan was never to settle but rather continue the incredible experiences that she was so addicted to.
“When I met my future husband, my suitcases were already packed for San Francisco. I can truly say that I came for the thrills but stayed for love.
Fast forward 12 years and I am grateful to call Monaco home for myself and my children. Monaco offers a unique combination of an exceptional quality of life, a wonderful climate, a safe and secure environment, and a vibrant international community.”
Talking about the international community, Olga comes from a very diverse background. She was born in Germany and raised in Latvia, and she is a holder of an Australian passport. Oh yes, and she married a Monégasque.
Which is the national identity you identify with the most?
“Nationality for me is a speculative concept. We need nationality to place people in stereotypical boxes and I don’t stand for that. I am fortunate to be exposed to different cultures and to be able to introduce my children to the best parts of each of them. We speak three languages in our household simultaneously, and I truly believe that the next generations will all be hybrid multi-nationals with an international flow.”
Her multicultural philosophy is reflected in her business as well, representing over 150+ of the most inspiring local talents, including runway models, promotional staff, event hostesses, influencers, and content creators, which makes Haute Models the premier agency in Monaco.
As the only registered modelling agency in Monaco, Haute Models strives to deliver the top result for its clients.
“We tirelessly search and carefully select the highest potential talents in the Principality and surrounding areas. Our team is passionate about discovering and continuously developing our talent, as well as continuously improving our network and skills to provide the best possible results to our clients.
Additionally, we have access to a wide range of influencers to compliment our clients’ social media efforts with the online presence.”
From runway to print, Haute Models is always scouting new talent and working alongside established professionals to create dynamic visuals. Their clients include high-end brands, fashion magazines, advertising campaigns, and events.
Dedicated to quality and excellence, the team boasts a passionate, knowledgeable, and experienced network of talent.
Why should people use a Monaco-based model agency, instead of a foreign one?
“Well, I think the answer is obvious. When a client books with Haute Models, rest assured they will have the best match to their request as we represent 150+ local talents.
We are confident in our ability to provide the best possible casting and team to bring our clients’ vision to life.
When it comes to talent, they will have our support in developing their profile locally and internationally. Our priority is to maintain higher standards of quality and safety, ensuring that their models are well taken care of and treated fairly. This helps to ensure that models are not taken advantage of or put in unsafe situations,” – explains Olga.
All in all, using a Monaco-based model agency is the safest and most reliable choice for clients looking to hire professional models to represent their brand. However, Haute Models agency is more than just about models, they also provide professional hostesses for events.
“We take pride in providing exceptional services for our clients, matching their requirements with perfect candidates. Our hostesses come from a variety of backgrounds, often fluently speaking multiple languages, and are trained to ensure that all guests feel welcome and taken care of. With their knowledge and experience, our hostesses are sure to make a positive impression on all the guests.”
Which were the most memorable events for your models in 2022?
“Last year was a successful year for Haute Models, with several high-end events which our models attended and graced. Topping the list is our ongoing work with the Monaco Ambassadors Club holding multiple fashion shows in Monaco’s most exquisite locations, from the Hotel Hermitage to the Villa La Vigie with the attendance of HSH Prince Albert II and the Principality’s high-profile attendees.
Another event that springs to my mind, is the annual gala for the Monégasque Association for Latin America at the Yacht Club. Our runway models showcased Bolivia’s top designers, it was a proud moment for the team.
Additionally, Haute Models had the privilege of collaborating with the renowned technology giant Microsoft, in a memorable video production featuring Monaco’s most recognisable landmarks.”
You did a photo calendar shoot for 2023. What was the idea behind it?
“Remember the famous Pirelli calendars? Sentimentally, I miss collecting them and carefully studying each shot when I was younger.
These days, most printed items go sadly straight into the bin. So the idea was to create something worth keeping and finding inspiration from. I was very moved by the recent Helmut Newton exhibition at the Villa Sauber and felt the urge to produce a photo shoot that could make a lasting impression.
We selected six of our models who represented different types of beauty. I called my friend, the photographer Olga Dromas and another stylist friend Yana Aintabi. The vision was to think around the “Iconic Monaco”.
When we received the initial photo selections, it was hard to choose a single photo so we went ahead with 12 and published a multi-page edition instead of one iconic shot.
Our hope is to continue to inspire others to see and appreciate the beauty all around us.”
What would your advice be for young models?
“We host open days where we receive a lot of physically beautiful young women and men. In Monaco and the south of France in general, we are blessed with beauty – one would think there’s something in the water!
However, contrary to popular belief, looks will open doors but won’t take you all the way to the top. Just like any other skill, it takes patience, practice, determination, and above all, the right attitude.”
What motivates you in life?
“My main motivator in life is providing a safe and secure future for my children. I also take pride in setting a good example for them and striving to be the best version of myself that I can be.
I believe in working hard and pushing myself to reach my goals and make an impact in our communities.”
Olga is a proud mother of three children. How is it to be a working mom as opposed to being a traditionally expected stay-at-home mother?
“No amount of money would keep me as a stay-at-home mom because honestly, it’s the hardest job one can think of!
Often I struggle with the guilt of not being there to help my kids with homework or to go to their friends’ birthday parties. There are definitely challenges of balancing work commitments with parenting responsibilities, and it can be stressful trying to provide for your family while also being present for your children.
On the upside, as a working mom, I am able to set an example for my children. For example, the importance of hard work and dedication, and the rewards of taking on and achieving personal and professional goals. For me, the satisfaction of providing for my family and setting a positive example for my kids is worth the effort.”
Do you think women in Monaco are more career- or stay-at-home, family-oriented?
“Most of my female friends successfully combine professional life while taking care of the family.
Obviously, I only befriend superwomen! Just kidding,” – giggles Olga. – “There is a place for every style and it really depends on the individual woman and her circumstances.
Both career and stay-at-home family orientations are valid paths and it is ultimately up to the woman to decide which path is right for her.”
What is the key element for a woman to succeed in Monaco?
“There is not one thing that makes someone succeed or not. I believe a good place to start is to dedicate oneself to owning a craft without expectation of success, appreciation, or even acknowledgement.
That’s the only way to avoid disappointment and lay a solid foundation for success. Once that’s done – we can elaborate in our own unique ways with a healthy dose of rigour and enthusiasm.
When speaking of succeeding in Monaco, one of the most important elements is your tribe. Never underestimate a support network of people who believe in you and are willing to help you reach your goals.
Here, I found a wonderful and nurturing community of women who are very supportive and generous with their time and efforts. Women make the world go round!”
Is it difficult to build valuable relationships in Monaco?
“Anything worth having takes time, they say. Relationships are no different. I was fortunate to meet inspiring people, who believed in me and for this, I am forever grateful. It goes both ways, I am there for my people every time they need me.
Relationship is never a destination – it is a journey and a process, and it’s important to enjoy and nourish it consistently.”
You also own a PR agency. What would your advice be for brands that are looking for their PR in the Principality?
“My advice is to focus on creating meaningful relationships with the local community. Establishing a strong presence in Monaco through events, collaborations with local businesses, and targeted marketing campaigns can help to build a strong foundation for the brand in the region.
Additionally, leveraging local media outlets such as newspapers, radio, and television, as well as influencers, can help to gain even more visibility and recognition in the Principality of Monaco.
It is also important to understand the local culture and customs, as well as the specific language and communication norms here. My agency can help with this by providing tailored strategies and communication plans designed to help brands maximise their visibility in Monaco.”
How would you compare the Australian business mentality to the Monaco one?
“Australian business mentality is typically characterised by a hands-on approach with a focus on innovation and creativity. Businesses in Australia often take risks, push the boundaries of traditional thinking, and strive to be the first to market new products and services.
The Monaco business environment is more conservative and traditional, maintaining things as they are with a strong focus on tradition and craftsmanship.”
On a final note, your husband is a Monégasque fashion designer. Do you sometimes have “creative conflicts”?
“Surprisingly, we have very few conflicts in general. Both in our personal and professional lives, we complement each other like yin and yang. And I say surprisingly because our cultural backgrounds and life experiences are very different. Yet, when it comes to making decisions, we are very much aligned in our approach and beliefs.
This kind of dynamic makes it easy for us to create projects together. In fact, we are heavily involved in each others’ work and I hope one day we can involve our children too.”
Being a working mom can be challenging, but it is even harder to give up on our deepest dreams. Real-life examples, like Olga’s Haute Models agency, show how parenting and self-fulfilment can go hand-in-hand when love for work, family, and partner come together in harmony.
Olga Barrale is one of those rare diamonds in her roles as a woman, mother, and wife who has followed her dreams from the screensaver in Australia to Monaco, making them come true. Through her work, story, creativity, and inspiration, she constantly adds value to her clients and the Principality of Monaco.