Everything you need to know about modelling agencies - straight from the source
Posted by Isabella Pearson on 18 Aug, 2021

Everything you need to know about modelling agencies - straight from the source

Our annual Global Model Search offers models an opportunity to be signed by a top global modelling agency, to propel their careers in all the right directions.

We sat down with our friends at Vivien's Model Management, Models1 and LA Models to talk all about their agencies and the kinds of career opportunities winning our Global Model Search can offer.

Your agency is very well known in the industry, can you tell us a little bit about your history as an agency?

LA Models – Our founder Heinz Holba opened LA Models in 1985 and 10 years later, he introduced our sister agency, NY Models. LA Models has quickly become the largest agency on the US West Coast and our NY Models has become a great success with the high fashion industry on the US East Coast.

Models1 – Models 1 started in 1968 so is one of the longest established agencies in the world. It has consistently represented some of the most iconic models in the world and we continue to scout constantly for the stars of tomorrow.

Vivien's – Vivien’s Model Management is a leading model agency with offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. We have been established for over 54 years and are the second oldest agency in the World. The agency was established by former model Vivien Smith and is still a family owned and operated business.

What do you look for when signing models to your agency?

LA Models – We look nowadays for not only a beautiful person on the outside, but also someone that is going to stand out in a more creative way. We are searching as our clients for multi-talented young people.

Models1 – Height and being photogenic are always important, but as marketing campaigns change, having a social media personality is more and more important as clients want to see who the person is behind the model face.

Vivien's – Apart from physical attributes and being generally photogenic, we look for individuals with personality and character.

What is your agency's main aesthetic?

LA Models – Beauty in every form.

Models1 – We don’t have an aesthetic really. We are known for British beauties (men and women) but there is no theme or style of look that we represent, it is really varied and diverse.

Vivien's – We represent all kinds of aesthetics, ages, sizes, ethnicities and backgrounds.

Can you give us a rundown of your agency’s audition/signing process?

LA Models – Here is a quick overview of the process of being signed with us. First, we would present the aspiring model to the entire division. We can do this through looking at digitals and videos. The next step would be to connect directly with the model either by meeting them in person if it's possible, or by scheduling a virtual meeting. This is the best way for us to check on the personality of this potential model. Once we are all on board and interested to represent the individual, we will offer a 2 to 3 year contract with our agency.

Models1 – Whether you have been scouted in real life or online the next step is to meet with us, again this can be IRL or via Zoom/Facetime. This gives us the opportunity to have a chat with you, answer any questions (and there are usually lots of questions), we get to see your face properly and see/feel your personality. If that goes well the next step is to do a test (photoshoot) which gives you the opportunity to be taught a little about posing and angles and the time to get the best images possible. Having seen those images we then decide if we will represent you or not.

Vivien's – Usually we ask candidates to come and meet the booking team in one of our offices once we have received their digital images. During this we will chat about their circumstances, take down their information and take some digitals shots to see how they photograph. We usually know fairly quickly if they will be the right fit for us and if they are we offer them a contract.

If you had to pick three top qualities in your models, what would they be?

LA Models – An outgoing personality, punctuality and work ethic.

Models1 – Hard working, thick skinned and has lots of other interests.

Vivien's – Professionalism, tenacity and humility.

Can you share one of your agency’s best success stories?

LA Models – So many success stories to pick just one! But they all have something in common that it is so touching for each of us, as agents. It’s to discover a young person that has usually no idea how stunning they are and have the opportunity to develop a career for them. Most models start pretty shy but by learning their craft and traveling the world, they develop such a confidence in themselves. It teaches them a different attitude and outlook on life. To be a part of the transformation and success of a model is by far the most rewarding experience, it never gets old.

Models1 – Yasmin Le Bon started modelling at 19 and continues to be one of our top models at 56. Her longevity is down to always wanting to learn and grow, loving working with new photographers and being a pleasure to have on set.

Vivien's – There have been so many over the years but Ajok Madel is one of our current international superstars. Born in a South Sudanese refugee camp in Kenya and raised in Perth, she started modelling in Perth before coming to both Sydney and Melbourne. She travelled overseas in 2018 and has spent the last 3 years working between NY, London, Milan and Paris. This year she made the models.com top 50 list and continues to shoot top class campaigns and editorials worldwide.

Yasmin Le Bon & Ajok Madel

Do you recommend up and coming models get professional portfolios before submitting to you, or do you prefer to work with them to build up a portfolio? Are good digis enough to get started?

LA Models – There is no need for professional photos or portfolio to get scouted. All we want to see is the real you. Without any special filters or make up. Those are called digitals which you can take so easily with any phone camera in front of a white or light colored wall. All we need are a couple of close ups and a few full length options. No need to spend any money, we want to see the most basic images.

Models1 – Absolutely not. A portfolio is a visual CV created over time and is a collection of the various published work and test shoots models participate in. You cannot have a portfolio from 1 test shoot. Any good agent only needs to see snapshots to be interested and the agency will then take digis at the first meeting and as I mentioned before, will arrange a shoot to give you the opportunity to be your best self on camera.

Vivien's – We don’t recommend that prospective models pay for professional portfolio shots as often these are incredibly expensive and not the type of photos we would use for a modelling portfolio. If we choose to sign someone then we will work with them to develop a portfolio that is suitable for their look and attractive to clients.

Where is the most unusual place you’ve scouted a fresh face from?

LA Models – I am beyond grateful and excited that our industry is finally reflecting the world like it really is. Full of beautiful individuals of all sizes, shapes and colors! We were so overdue for this!

Models1 – Social media has given consumers a direct voice to brands and that has directly and positively impacted the diversity we now see in images. Before social media, it was a very small group of creatives who dictated what aesthetic was required but now, the people can speak about what they want to see and they want to see themselves reflected by brands so we now see diversity in size, age and ethnicity which can only be a good thing.

Vivien's – The industry has become a lot more inclusive and diverse over the last few years, clients are responding to consumer demand and featuring models that reflect their audience, not just with ethnicity but also with regards to size.

What would your advice be for people thinking about applying for the Global Model Search?

LA Models – The best advice I would like to give is to just be YOU!

Models1 – Go for it. If you don’t try you will never know. It is a tough business and only a small percentage of models really make it but it can also be amazing and full of opportunities.

Vivien's – Give it a go, you have nothing to lose.

Can you share a stand out memory where you’ve been really proud of a model's progress personally or professionally?

LA Models – My favorite memory with a model is to have started with such a painfully shy and insecure person and have her open and close a major fashion show as her first experience on the runway!

Models1 – There are so many but I always say that a model has had a successful career if by the time they want to stop modelling, they have a fully paid up, mortgage free apartment. That gives them the freedom to do whatever they want to do in the next stage of their lives.

So, do ya fancy being signed by one of these agencies? This is your chance! All you need is an awesome look with the attitude to match, and the courage to put yourself out there.

Apply Now