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On the second day of New York Fashion Week, Kate Moss sits under a handful of high-voltage lights in a suite at the Mandarin Oriental. She just left a ballroom full of beauty editors to celebrate the launch of new makeup by Japanese skincare brand Decorté, of which she is the face and creative director, and she looks confident, effortless, breathtakingly beautiful. She has just smoked a cigarette, this writer smells it, and yet her lips remain perfectly defined, not a speck of red paint has escaped her soft mouth. It’s thanks to the brand’s Rouge Matte Lip Stick, she says, and “[makeup artist] Dick Page, who is in the next room; he did my very first photoshoot with Corinne Day, and we’re both still here,” she laughs. The same goes for James Brown, a former hairstylist and childhood friend who styled today’s Decorté campaign. “The only time I see some of my best friends is when I’m working, which is one of the main reasons I keep working,” Moss says.

Most of her time these days is taken up with running her two-year-old talent firm, Kate Moss Agency, which has pledged to a newer set of standards than those of Moss’ early days, including a more respectful and caring approach to Talent. “Age is really important to me,” she says when asked about the fine print on her site that says applicants under the age of 18 must have parental consent. “I was very young and it was tough, but I got through it – I was pretty tough – these days I think young models need someone with them.”

Young is an understatement for Moss, who jumped on go-sees in her early days only to meet rejection — her word, not mine — after entering the industry at age 14. “I would go to eight castings a day and get none, maybe one,” she says. you mean by the option that fired?’ ”

Of course, the fashion icon herself, now 44, isn’t fired, but sometimes her clients at her British modeling agency are. “They’re like my babies,” she says of emerging faces such as curly-headed Elfie Reigate (daughter of close friend and former supermodel Rosemary Ferguson) and Luka Isaac, a French model who’s been exploited for the first time by the distinguished virtuoso Gaspar Noé. “When they’re not booked, I’m heartbroken.”