Yukon youth becomes Hilfiger poster boy

Sometimes life is just like the movies. This is what 12-year-old Miguel Rodden realized last week when he was suddenly discovered.

Sometimes life is just like the movies.

This is what 12-year-old Miguel Rodden realized last week when he was suddenly discovered.

Out skiing with his family, Rodden was leaving the Mt. Sima chalet when a New York City producer and a photographer from Los Angeles approached him.

They were looking for young models for a series of Tommy Hilfiger ads being shot on Fish Lake last week.

Rodden went for an audition and had some photos taken.

Three days later, he received a call — they liked him and wanted him in the shoot.

“There were lots of other Yukon kids there auditioning,” said his mom Marlynn Bourque.

But when Rodden got to Fish Lake, it turned out he was the only Yukoner chosen.

The other five young models were from California and Vancouver.

Rodden went for a clothes fitting on Thursday night, before the Friday shoot.

“They had him try on several American and European (outfits) from their autumn selection,” said Bourque, who admitted she hadn’t heard of Tommy Hilfiger before.

“It’s good clothing,” she said.

Early Friday morning, Rodden and Bourque were trucked across Fish Lake on an ice road made especially for the shoot.

“It was a big deal,” said Bourque.

“They must have had at least 50 crew working there and they had people at the start of the lake not letting anyone in.”

The Hilfiger crew was shooting on Fish Lake all week, and local ice carvers had created several igloos as part of the set.

Wearing Hilfiger apparel, the kids were shot on top of the igloos and sliding down big piles of snow, said Bourque.

They also were coached to throw snowballs, jump from the top of the hill and skim down on big colourful inner tubes.

“There was lots of action,” she said.

“And Miguel fit in well, because he is very athletic and comfortable with his body.”

Although he was only there for one day, the crew really liked him and encouraged him to get an agent, said Bourque.

“Miguel is quite reserved and a bit shy, but he responded well and was good with the dressers.”

For his seven hours of glory, Rodden received a hefty $500, the same rate as his professional counterparts from California and Vancouver.

He’s not going to go crazy to spend it all right away, said Bourque.

“And if he ends up doing more (ads), we agreed he’d put it away for college.”

Rodden is willing to continue with the modeling, if the opportunity arises, she added.

On Tuesday, en route to Portland for a pre-planned trip, Bourque spent the day in Vancouver meeting with several agents.

“It may be difficult with a kid from Whitehorse,” she said.

“But it’s worth a try.”

An artist friend in Vancouver recommended one of the agents she visited.

“He’s a big agent and he won’t string you along,” said Bourque. “If he wants Miguel, he’ll use him.”

And if the agents don’t pan out, it’s still a good story, she said.

“It’s pretty amazing in a little community like this — you never know what opportunities there are in the Yukon.”

Photos of Rodden in Hilfiger garb are expected in ads around the world in the coming months

“He’ll be on the website, in magazines, in Vogue, in catalogues, in stores, maybe even on billboards and at bus stops,” said Bourque.

“There were Vogue models from all over the world shooting on Fish Lake last week. It was pretty amazing.”

Bourque, who has worked as a photographer in the past, found the experience particularly interesting.

“They shot 900 films, each one at over $50 a pop, and the photographer, who had four assistants helping him, must have been making at least $10,000 a day,” she said.

“He’s really famous, and was also very nice.”

Last year the Hilfiger producer saw pictures of Fish Lake and fell in love with it, explained Bourque.

“And they had a great week. They shot their young-adult line up here too.”

After a day of stardom, Rodden returned to his Grade 7 classes at Ecole Emilie Tremblay.

“If this does lead to more work, we’re going to stay grounded, have fun and go with it,” said Bourque.

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