9 Things That Happened When I Became A Model Agent
A few months ago, I quit my job as a social media specialist at an advertising agency and made the switch for a career in fashion, specifically at a modeling agency that I interned at in college. But unlike the public relations and social media role that I had in college, this time around, I joined the modeling agency as a bookings agent, meaning that I am responsible for getting models jobs, negotiating rates with clients, and handling the inherent crises that arise when there is a 6 a.m. call time.
The modeling industry is a very strange place, and most people just assume that all we do is tell models that they're not skinny enough, wear all black from head to toe, and go to underground parties with a bunch of very chic people. In reality, I only do one of those things (and it's not the first one), but I must say that working in the industry is never boring. You could head into the office in the morning with nothing on your to-do list, only to end up trying to coordinate models and flights for a last-minute trip to Milan in the middle of fashion month.
Once you get used to the volatility of the industry, it becomes really fun, especially when you get to help young adults land jobs that will not only propel their careers forward, but also help them pay for college (should they not become supermodels). It's pretty gratifying. On the other hand, you start to realize that your perception of reality becomes skewed a bit, like how watching (or hearing and reading about) the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show becomes more work than pleasure.
Here are nine things that happened to me when I became a model agent:
1. I Have To Explain My Job To Everyone I Meet
Unless you live in a major fashion market and work in the industry, you probably don't meet many people who do what I do. Almost everyone I meet asks me to explain my job, in detail. But hey, at least I have something unique to talk about.
2. I Have To Tell People I'm Not A Model
When I say I work as a model agent, people just tune out the word "agent" and instantly start asking you what it's like to be a model. Maybe this only happens to me because I'm tall, but it happens far more than it should. Don't tune out the fact that I'm an agent, y'all — oh, and guys, please don't try to use your mistake as a pickup line, thanks.
3. My Friends Start Pitching Themselves As Models
I don't know what it is about becoming a model agent, but all of a sudden your friends (and random strangers) express these secret desires to become supermodels. You're all beautiful, guys, and if you really want to pursue a career in modeling, by all means, go for it! But it's not an easy job you can just fall into because you feel like it one day. Models work hard and are committed to their craft. Please respect that!
4. I Realize Not Everyone Understands My Model Lingo
In the modeling world, if a model is signed by multiple agencies, they will check with the other agencies to make sure he or she is available. If she is, you will let the agent know that she has "option," meaning that they get first dibs for the job in their market. Now when I'm making plans with my friends, I'll find myself saying "Kate, you have first option" which confuses everyone. But hey, Kate's dinner has first priority!
5. My Beauty Routine Has Become More Complex
Models basically have to be, for lack of a better word, a super human. Clearer skin, whiter teeth, healthier hair are all part of the deal. Before working with models on a daily basis, I would entertain the idea of whitening my teeth or deep conditioning my hair, but was often too lazy to do so. Now I've realized how all of these little things can add up to make you a better version of yourself, so now I try to pamper myself more regularly. Who doesn't love a little more luxury in their day to day?
6. I Realize How Much Money Models Can Make
Day rates for models can range from $100 an hour to thousands of dollars a day (the higher the rate, the bigger the project and usage terms, generally), so when you're negotiating rates for your models, you obviously want to get the best rate, and you become desensitized to the fact that they often make $1,500 for one day of work. This leads me to think about how much I make in comparison and it can make me a little sad. However, I do have a consistent salary, while models are essentially freelancers, so there are pros and cons.
7. Watching The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show Becomes Work
Watching The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show is no longer just for fun. As a model agent, you can get inexplicably frustrated as you watch the models walk down the runway, asking the TV, "Why won't they use one of my models?!" On the plus side, you spend less time thinking about how you need to get their same dreamy waves.
8. Models.com Becomes My Bible
Chances are you don't read models.com regularly, and if you've heard of it before, it's probably because they name the model of the year every year. As an agent, you constantly find yourself on the website, looking at new faces, seeing who walked in what shows, and most importantly, who booked the hottest campaigns and covers this year. We're all low key obsessed with it/addicted to it, depending on how you look at it.
9. I Love My Job
Like any job, there are plenty of crazy, stressful days, and while some people might consider the modeling industry — or the fashion agency in general — shallow, my hard work helps launch the careers of models, who are mostly young women, and gives them the opportunity to make a living, and that's pretty rewarding.
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