A DIRECTOR of a top modelling management agency has spoken out about his troubled upbringing and how he refused to let his childhood experiences define his future.

After losing both of his parents to drug addictions and dropping out of school, Merton resident Robert Wilson became a successful businessman despite living a 'chaotic life'.

Robert Wilson, director of FOMO Models, says he scouts people who live in rural areas and small villages to give others a better future.

Growing up, Robert’s father was often in trouble with the police and battled with Class A drugs.

At 12-years-old, around the same time as Robert was "coming out as gay", his father tragically passed away from drug-related illnesses.

"I became the man of the house and it was just me, my mum and my sister," Robert told Wimbledon Times.

The years that followed saw Robert subjected to severe hate and abuse from his peers at Rutlish School.

He said: "From the moment I stepped into Rutlish it was traumatic and schooling was a nightmare.

"When I walked through the corridors, people would call me a queer and all sorts of insults.

"I struggled to fit in as a kid and make my way in the world.

He added: "I left school when I was 15-years-old and got a scholarship to attend the Brits stage school for something more fun.

"Later, I could see my peer group Amy Winehouse, Adele, Leona Lewis do so well, and they inspired me to dream big - I also wanted to prove the bullies wrong."

Wimbledon Times:

At Brit School, Robert studied dance, media, and radio, and was finally able to grow and express himself as a person.

At 18-years-old, he met his partner (now husband) and received a lot of support from his nan and sister.

But whilst he was discovering himself and exploring his talents, Robert still had to tend to his mother who was frequently admitted into the hospital.

For six years, his mother was using Class A drugs heavily and was also hospitalised with liver failure.

At the age of 24-years-old, Robert grieved again, as his mother lost her battle to addiction after an overdose on Class A drugs.

"All I cared about was money, I saw my parents die and I didn’t want to be like that," he said.

"I had a lot of freedom growing up, so when it came to working for someone, telling me what to do, I found it very restrictive.

"To suit my personality, I needed a job where I felt like I was in control.

"And after years of walking out of so many jobs, I started my own business 4-years-ago and haven't looked back since."

Now, instead of being a frequent visitor to a hospital ward, Robert finds himself at events alongside A-list celebrities, flying around internationally for his job.

"I didn’t have a counsellor, I didn't have any qualifications, I had nothing- but I have still found success.”

Speaking about his job, Robert added: “I love my job because I like changing the lives of young people for the better.

"I discovered one girl who was cleaning, and she is now featuring in the new Gucci campaign.

"It's lovely to see my models buy a property through this line of work.

"It makes me feel so proud when we see our models in glossy magazines or on billboards or even TV commercials."

He added: "My nan was a huge support growing up, but I still had a rough background.

"If I can let one person know that hard work can pay off- then I know I have done my job.

"If you put your mind to something and if you really want something, then you can achieve it."

The modelling director plans to "give back to the community" by hosting a model search in Merton, by the end of this year.

We will publish further details at a later date.

Do you have an inspiring story following a troubled past? Contact us at monica.charsley@newsquest.co.uk