Lesley Goring, RIP

Today I learned that Lesley Goring, who has cast and produced countless shows over the years, died recently.

Now take pretty much any model who has worked a few months in London and they will have seen Lesley. She’s woven into the tapestry of most model’s careers and I’m sure many will feel a bit of a pang when they hear her name.

I’m not going to lie: I wasn’t a Lesley fan for the first few years of my career. As a friendly, intrepid baby new face, I’d approach each show casting with optimism. “Hello Lesley!” I’d smile, walk in a wonky line and leave, rather crestfallen as the lady behind the table looking at my card hadn’t raised so much as a smile. I started to dread instructions telling me to go and see LESLEY GORING (all casting instructions are sent to us in caps but inside your brain you read it like that, official and with a modicum of fear). The long queues outside Danceworks/Pineapple/LCF and the displeased lady waiting for you to get your walk over with.

Then one year – I was maybe 19 – I went in thinking, “F-you Lesley, I’m not even going to try.” I didn’t bother dressing up. I said hello and didn’t smile. I did my casting walk and strode out of there.

I actually got the job! From then on I got to do plenty of Lesley’s shows, though not as many as some of my friends to whom she remained loyal for years. Once you were in you were in. She didn’t have time for chit chat but she was super professional and respected models as long as we were punctual and did the job well, which is fair enough as producing a show entails a mind boggling amount of plate-spinning and asking each model about their lives isn’t possible. Having seen her softer side I can tell you that she was a very lovely woman, with none of the power trips and egos you see with other people in her position, being as she was at the top of her game and highly respected – for decades.

The amount of models who’s lives she’s touched over the years is even more mind-boggling, and being booked on her jobs often led to unforgettable experiences and friendships that we’ll always remember. For me, the fact that her last ever show was my first ever lingerie show, something that was actually really huge for me and that I’ll never forget, is quite special.

All thoughts are with her family and friends, RIP.

Rebecca x

Main pic by Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

One Comment

  1. Sarah Charles wrote:

    Lesley Goring, what a one off!!!! My first boss and my last….she actively encouraged me to do my own thing and since then I have run my own show. This woman was not only a power house, she was a force of nature. More talent and feel for the zeitgeist than anyone I have known. Show and event creator….yes. But those early days in Garrick Street WC2 basement with Lynne Cardy running her Press Relations company were pure magic. Just across the road from the Garrick Club its was pre everything….London had only just decided to save ‘old’ Covent Garden and one of the first shops in – Strangeways!!! These were pioneering days…IPC had just moved out to south of the Thames, and Fleet St was still full of the press…….Lesley relished the work, and her mythical phone technique was a legend. If you could romance the fashion press into a story, yes Lesley invented masses of them, she could. I would throw the bin bags or hangers on my back and walk, tube or bus to get the samples there in time….from Vogue, Harpers, Over 21 to the Evening Standard and the famous Sun’ Newspaper’s ‘Page 3 (which I was made to always take the whole bikini in, not just the bottoms. Its was great to be alive, and well Lesley never looked down, those of us around her just loved it and the pace of it all. Her dry sense of humour, her kindness, her generosity and Lesley the professional working woman forging ahead in what was very much a man’s world. We all make history but she covered new ground, came up with original approaches and ideas and showed me how you should think beyond the beyond. And how to separate your private self from your professional self, an excellent lesson. She took the blows but my goodness she was a strong ‘old bean’. I salute you darling, make sure you have the champagne waiting for us all at the long bar, because as you know we are all going to be together sooner or later. If you arranging the productions in heaven I will be your first assistant, I would do it all again. XXXX

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