Tessa Talks To: India Sinclair Hamilton Hoddell

April 2019

India Sinclair


Tessa Packard [TP]: As a Head of Commercial Talent agent for Hamilton Hodell, what three words would you use to describe the talent management world that you work in?

India Sinclair [IS]: Unpredictable, Protective, Limitless.

[TP]: What advice would you give to an aspiring actor at the start of their career regarding brand partnerships and professional collaborations? Would this advice differ if you were talking to an established actor, or do the same rules apply?

[IS]: Whether you are starting up, or you have been working in the industry for years;  Stick to your guns and don’t be afraid of trying to change the world through the power of your voice and profile. We always look for creative commercial opportunities where we can advocate and promote important key messages of social and ethical change.

Also; Be aware of revealing your ‘whole-self’ via the wonderful world wide waves of social media. Once it’s out, it’s out. And by golly these things have an inconveniently long shelf life.

[TP]: What are the stereotypical mistakes that talent make when trying to make it in the industry? 

[IS]: There is no real rule book in this field, except for those who go into it with too strong an ego, tend to take longer to find their path. 

[TP]: In your opinion, what is the one thing that needs to change in your industry?

[IS]: I’ll be greedy and change two things; Equal pay and diversity

[TP]: Overall, do you think Instagram is a friend or a foe when it comes to talent management? 

[IS]: It is certainly cause for more work and it can be as much a hindrance as it can be a catalyst for a great commercial opportunity. This all depends on the message that is being presented and we would just always urge clients to maintain the mantra ‘less is more’

[TP]: Which one actor from the past (i.e. now deceased) do you wish you had the opportunity to manage? And what brand would you have liked to pair them up to create your perfect campaign? Please give details on the product in question, shoot location and where/how the images would be distributed.

[IS]: Without a shadow of a doubt, I would want to manage Grace Kelly. My idol and icon. I think if she were around now; we would have to shoot a beautiful campaign for a luxury hotel Group like Belmond.

Just think how glorious it would be to go on a photographic tour of the world, taking timeless images of Grace Kelly ….simply eating bowls of pasta, or reading a paper by the pool?

[TP]: What do you think is the secret recipe behind every super successful brand / talent partnership? 

[IS]: No question: it’s got to be a creative collaboration with no surprises. No hidden last minute details of content or usage; but honest and transparent creative discussion from start to end.

Lastly it has to be authentic!! Because if your Instagram says you’re a vegan on Sunday, but by Wednesday you are diving into a swimming pool of fried chicken in a worldwide commercial campaign……You are going to get stung.
(Full disclosure; we would never let a client jump into a swimming pool filled with fried chicken!)

[TP]: They say the ‘why’ is more important than the ‘what’ in life. So why do you do what you do? 

[IS]: I remember spending a summer in London, aged 16 at National Youth Theatre and thinking for the duration of the induction; I was ‘quite good’ at acting.  I swiftly realised at the end of the first day that the rest of my peers were about 1000% better than me, and I should head for the nearest exit.

Being an agent just became the next thought that I ever had. It is totally fulfilling in that one is able to indulge in the world of Pinter, Ibsen, Chekov and Shakespeare. Whilst at the same time nurture and develop the people who are about to change the world’s perspective on said works of art. And try as I may on my summer course of NYT; I was never going to change anyone’s perspective on Pinter, except simply on how now not to perform it.
I truly do what I do because its the only job I ever wanted.

[TP]: How do you think the world of talent management has changed in the last 50 years, and how do you see it changing over the next 50? 

[IS]: Negotiating deals and taking notes and messages over the phone and via post – yikes! Old School!

Of course the rise of email has completely transformed our industry and broken down the borders in terms of overseas productions and meant that creativity can be so much more fluid (this is a distinctly pre-brexit comment). Which is great. It also means its harder to switch off and I think that mental well being in the work place is really critical in keeping afloat.
Matt Haig’s ‘Notes On a Nervous Planet’ says it best when he talks about the fact that we should have ‘more time than ever’ due to the speed of an email, an international call, a Skype, a video conference or my favourite; an IM (instant message). But every one of us is guilty of ending a day wishing for the things we had time to do. The lay of the land in 50 years is exciting as well as terrifying, but I really do hope that in 50 years time I have a secret hyper speed underground tunnel that gets me straight from the office, to my home and I don’t have to get the district line anymore.

[TP]: What part of your work makes you the happiest, and what aspect of work drives you regularly insane.

[IS]: My Colleagues and clients; it is a family affair and we spend our life together. I’ve worked with the same ultra-incredible team for 10 years now and it is just so supportive and collaborative. I am just so utterly happy, proud and thankful to work with them.

Nothing drives me insane Tessa. I am calm, collected and positive in all aspects and nothing gets me frazzled ….



Town or Countryside? Countryside (with easy access to the City)
Favourite city? Lovely London Town
Your perfect dinner guest, dead or alive? David Bowie
If you could learn a new skill it would be…? Dress making
The best meal you’ve ever eaten is? A homemade picnic on the grounds at Glyndebourne on a summers day
The one essential you can’t leave home without? Humous. One cannot go for more than 6 hours without humous
Pet hate? Phones at the table
Biggest extravagance? A course of Barry’s bootcamps that I chickened out of using
Favourite book? Greedily, I would take ‘a collection of short stories’ by Oscar Wilde
What would your gravestone read? Actually, I haven’t quite finished