Working for Modeling Agencies ... Becoming an Agent, Booker, Scout, Manager - Page 3 - the Fashion Spot
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rising star
Join Date: Dec 2004
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Originally Posted by Acid
^ yes exactly thats fine
if you are working for IQ, maybe you could get them to make some scouting cards for you
you have such a cool job man

acid was there any people from theones2watch at NZ or Aus fashion week? or do they mainly go to the big fashion weeks like new york etc?

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Bookers from well known agencies stop some models in the street and even when they know they are signed to other well known agencies they invite them up to talk things over,make promises they can't possibly keep and sign them. Then that agency contact's your old agency and negotiates a deal...then your old agency calls you and promises you the moon not to switch and sometimes you make the right decision and sometimes you don't.....and sometimes if you are a very successful model a lawsuit evolves.

"Let's stop treating models like greyhounds we plan to shoot after a race. We have to remember we are dealing with real people who have real feelings."
- James Scully
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Originally Posted by BetteT
Here's what I know ... just from working with models and photgraphers. I've never worked in an agency ... so it's all hearsay ... in case I get something wrong.

A booker is basically a sales person ... who's got a "book" of models who are signed with the agency. They promote their models to prospective clients ... by knowing who is casting for ads and commercials, etc. and sending out the models' marketing materials ... comp cards, and if requested, their portfolios. A booker needs to have a huge "rollodex" with lots of contacts in the fashion and commercial industry. If one or more of that booker's models are hired for the gig, the agency gets paid a percentage, typically about 20% of the billed amount for the models' work, from both the client and the model.

In order to do this effecitvely, a booker has a variety of responsibilities.

First the booker must find and select models to represent ... models that meet the typical client requests. So they need to understand the market that they work in and be sensitive to clients' shifts in what they usually need. They must have strong models with the right looks for the market, but not too many of any "type" ... so they don't compete against each other.

Models are usually found by holding open calls, often held for a couple of hours every week at the booker's office. Very few of them are ever selected ... only ones that fill the booker's current needs and the rare model who is just so strong that the booker knows that her look would get her a lot of work. Some agencies have mail in submissions only, asking for a couple of photos and the model's stats and they call any one that they might be interested in. Very few agencies go out and scout ... no need to. Aspiring models come to them in groves. People who cll themselves model scouts, are usually working a scam.

Once a model is selected, the booker and the model often sign a contract, laying out what the terms of representation are ... what the commission to the agency is and whether or not the model may find work through other means or not. The model is more or less employing the agency to find her work ... and in return pays them a commission.

The booker works with the newly represented model and helps her to put together a strong portfolio ... making recommendations to good photographers that they know can produce the right kind of images for the booker's market. This is done at the model's expense ... she pays the photographer directly.

The booker also has accounting duties. Any expenses that the agency incurs on beholf of the model will be charged to the model such as shipping portfolios, copies, postage, etc.

And the booker is responsible to make sure the models show up, prepared and on time to castings and gigs. Most models are still teenagers, and not always responsible. If a model fails to show, the agency stands to not only loose money but credibility. So a good booker is always aware of what is going on with the models, and always has a back up plan. He/she's sort of a parent and a faux employer.

What I don't know is exactly how a booker is paid, but I suspect it's commision related ... the more business heshe creates, the more pay is earned.

So ... you can see that a good booker must have strong business skills, able to multitask, be skilled at networking, have a good eye for the right models, have the patience and skills to work with rookies and teenagers, and be able to sell the client on the fact that his/her models are the best for their needs.

I'd really love to work as a booker for an NY agency. Does anyone know how to go about being hired???

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I was just going to say, how does one become a booker?


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Join Date: Feb 2005
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model scouts
do model scouts really discover models or is the process much more complicated than that?
every discovery case seems to be followed up by a break-down of how much the story was fabricated, making it appear that if you get scouted, that doesn't mean anything, if you actually got scouted at all.
gisele's story really is funny because she tells everyone the mcdonald's story and her mom debunked that and said otherwise in PEOPLE mag.

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model scouting* articles and discussion
I found this really interesting. Sorry if it's already been posted.

The bounty hunter

(Filed: 28/11/2005)

From among a sea of pretty girls, a model scout's task is to find fashion's face of the future. Louise France prowls the streets with one of the best in the business

Early in the morning, and Ilona Kuodiene is snatching a few minutes of precious sleep on the Tube. Dressed in jeans, trainers and a jumper knitted by her Lithuanian grandmother, she is on her way from her brother's house in Stratford to a cleaning job in Golders Green.

Angel's model card

The journey is a slog but, having arrived in Britain only four months before, at least the work pays the bills. It so happens that Sarah Leon, a model scout, is sitting on the opposite side of the carriage. Like Ilona, she is on her way to work.
Unlike Ilona, she is wide awake. She surreptitiously examines the sleeping young woman and goes through her mental checklist. Vivid bone structure, tick. Translucent skin, tick. Long legs, tick. Great nose (neither too big, nor too small). Tick.

But there is nothing for it – Leon needs to wake her up to see what she really looks like. She reaches over and prods her. Two sleepy but instantly arresting almond-shaped eyes stare curiously back at her. 'Yes?'

Two years later and Ilona Kuodiene is the 22- year-old star of this season's Dolce & Gabbana advertising campaign and a veteran of Chanel couture. She has travelled to shoots all over the world, from Spain to China, but these days she lives most of the time in New York.

She can earn in a day what most people make in a year and there's more than enough left over to send money to her parents in Lithuania. What does she think when she looks back to that morning on the Tube? 'Thank God I'd washed my hair,' she replies.

The model scout is a relatively recent phenomenon. In the 1970s the majority of models were pretty girls from upper-crust families. Today a modelling agency would struggle to survive without staff going out on to the street to hunt down new talent. Few industries thrive on novelty like the fashion business.

The moment that an unknown Kate Moss was spotted in JFK airport by Sarah Doukas, the owner of Storm, has become legendary. But find the right woman – the next Moss or Alek Wek or Sophie Dahl or Jodie Kidd – and a scout can literally change popular perceptions of beauty.

Scouts are everywhere, from Stockholm to São Paulo, Manchester to Moscow. As Select Models' Sarah Leon says drily, 'There's barely a baby born in Belarus that hasn't been scouted already. The market is saturated.'

For a certain kind of London schoolgirl, being spotted has become as much a part of teenage culture as H&M and Big Brother. 'The girls are much more savvy than they used to be,' Alice Corry Reid, at Models One, says.
'It's got to the point that if I spot the perfect girl at 18 I can pretty much guarantee that she's already been signed up. My job is being able to find them when they're 14 and predict what they will look like in three years.'
However, not every beautiful teenager makes a fabulous model. 'Someone might be immensely pretty,' Corry Reid says, 'but it gets kind of swallowed up by the camera. Round, fleshy faces don't translate. A little bit of ugliness might actually be what you're looking for.'

Bad teeth, poor skin, an unfashionable haircut – none of these is something a dentist/doctor/hairdresser can't sort out. But if someone is less than the requisite height (5ft 8in or taller), or lacks cheekbones, or is the wrong shape for sample sizes (size 8, no breasts or hips), then they have little chance of making it on to a model agency's books.

Charisma plays its part too, Leon says. 'There are thousands of beautiful girls but only a few have that “something”. You can't create it but when you find it you recognise it.' Ilona Kuodiene's model card, Sarah Leon's Polaroid of her, and Ilona's ad campaign for Dolce & Gabbana.

A Lithuanian, Ilona was discovered by Leon sleeping on a Tube train on her way to a cleaning job While finding the next supermodel is one part pounding the pavements and three parts fate, spotting the scout is relatively easy.
They are women in their twenties and thirties who spend their time lurking at the bottom of the escalators in Topshop. They will probably be wearing sunglasses in order to stare rudely without causing offence, and they can be found stalking the stands at student freshers' fairs, surveying the crowd at an anti-Bush demonstration, mucking in at Glastonbury.

Leon, who looks after the new signings at Select Models, lists her recent finds: Emily in a skate shop in Kingston; Abigail at the Clothes Show in Birmingham; Elizabeth on the street in Notting Hill.

Some of her wards, such as Emily and Sophie, sisters who also happen to be direct descendants of Lord Byron, may be part of the in-crowd and have always planned to try modelling one day.

Others, such as Angel (real name Amanda Putt), a schoolgirl from rural Devon, are plucked from nowhere. 'She just had this cool thing,' Leon says of the first time she saw her, aged 13, with her halo of brown curls at the Clothes Show in Birmingham.
'All the other girls do that Atomic Kitten hair-ironing thing, but she was like no other girl in the whole world. The irony is she's much more into rambling in the countryside than modelling but that hasn't stopped her posing for Corinne Day in Italian Vogue.'

Susie Mashford was 14 and standing in the queue at Ikea with her mum when she was 'discovered'. They were buying a new lamp for her bedroom at the time. Leon was shopping with her son, Frankie.

'She talked to my mum first,' remembers Susie, who is juggling studies at London College of Fashion with modelling. 'I thought it was all a bit dodgy, to be honest. I'd been out with my mates the night before and hadn't even had a chance to go home and get changed.'

The first her schoolfriends in Brighton knew of the fortuitous meeting was Susie's photograph, 10ft tall, in the windows of the local branch of New Look.
Walking down Camden High Street on a Sunday afternoon, Sarah Leon is on the prowl. The tools of her trade are a Polaroid camera, an absolute refusal to be embarrassed and a head that seems to rotate 360 degrees.

She's talking to me but she's looking over my shoulder. 'Cute… but too short,' she mutters and a teenager's secret dreams of being the next Lily Cole are dashed in three words. Another girl is dismissed with a damning: 'Pretty, but she had a bit of overbite.'

Leon used to be a model too. She was spotted working in a shop in Covent Garden. The photographer Glen Luchford, famous for his Prada campaigns, gave her his phone number and the following week she was photographed by his flatmate Mario Sorrenti, the one-time boyfriend of Kate Moss.

'I was totally unprepared for it. I was a hippie chick and hadn't even shaved my legs, and there I was dressed up in some of Kate's clothes and staring woodenly at the camera.'

She was signed up by Select and worked for three years but hated it. 'I wouldn't turn up for shoots. They'd post letters through the door asking me where I was. I couldn't stand the rejection of it all.'

When a vacancy arose for a scout she jumped at the chance. It turned out she had a knack for it. Precisely seven minutes into our search in Camden, Leon starts running nimbly down the road following a flash of white-blonde hair and a pair of pixie boots.

Her prey is Marie Claire, a hairdresser from Amsterdam. She has skin like tissue paper, dark-blue eyes and full, generous lips.

'Have you ever thought about being a model?' Leon asks. 'Maybe,' Marie says, showing the kind of laidback haughtiness that might come in useful when faced with a hissy photographer one day.

Leon takes a Polaroid and peers at it closely: 'She's like a young Diana Dors.' Five minutes later it's Annie's turn to get the tap on the shoulder. She's from Vermont, but for the moment she's living in Willesden Green, and taking a year off from her studies.

'You have an amazing face,' Leon says, taking in her oval grey eyes, thick eyebrows, fresh complexion untouched by make-up. Annie is doubtful – 'I don't think I'm particularly photogenic' – but Leon is adamant. 'She reminds me of a French actress. There's a tomboyish beauty about her.'

Leon spots Marie Claire, a hairdresser from Amsterdam

Any scout worth their lipgloss is haunted by the girls they have missed. Leon remembers tantalising glimpses of women on trains going in the opposite direction, even the faces in the background of a news report when she is watching television.

She still thinks about a beautiful young woman called Eugenie whom she met in the queue for a heavymetal festival. She gave her her number but she has never called back.

Alice Corry Reid agrees. 'It's never the girls who think they're modelling material. It's always someone you catch a glimpse of in the street as you're trying to catch the bus. But you're duty-bound to go after them – the last thing you want is for them to go to another agency.'

In a bid to beat the competition Corry Reid travels to countries such as Latvia and Estonia. 'Fragile Russian-doll types are popular right now,' she says. Scandinavia is another good hunting ground, as are Brazil and Argentina.

Closer to home, Heather, 14, is from Staffordshire. She's on a shopping trip in Camden with her mum. She looks like a typical teenager. Fingerless gloves, chipped red nail varnish, skinny jeans.

But something about her boyish hips and large, wide eyes prompts Leon to ask her to look into the lens of her Polaroid. 'Don't smile,' she says. 'That won't be a problem,' Heather's mum says wearily.

It turns out that Heather has always dreamt of being a model. 'I even went somewhere to have my picture taken but they wanted money to put a portfolio together.'

Leon wonders whether she would be able to come to London for some test shots. 'Can I, Mum? Can I?' she pleads. If she does there's no certainty she will make money immediately if she is signed up.

The first few months as a model sound somewhere between a Dickensian boarding school and a reality television show. It's much harder in the early days than most young women realise, Leon says.

Corry Reid agrees: 'Hiking across London just so someone can look at you for 10 seconds and turn you down… Doing the scrappy jobs the established girls turn down. They have to have so much self-belief to make it.'

Some editorial jobs will earn them as little as £50, but there is the potential in the commercial market to make £40,000 a day. Either way, in the early stages of a young model's career she's likely to be living at home and working in her school holidays.

'When they're really young it's the parents I have a relationship with,' Corry Reid says. Susie – whose father usually chaperoned her to shoots when she started out – remembers juggling a shoot for Teen Vogue with her French exams. It didn't seem to do her any harm – she got 12 GCSEs and three A-levels.

'You learn to grow up quickly,' she says nonchalantly. 'Travelling abroad, working with people who are older than you. The worst side of it is the loneliness.'

The last find of Leon's day is wrapped around the railings outside Camden Tube station. Her face is all angles and corners. Her cheekbones are like seagull's wings. A breathless Leon cannot believe her luck – until she finds out how old she is. Charlotta is just 13.

She's on a school trip from Germany and her teachers are adamant that they won't give out her telephone number. Leon takes the address of the school and promises to write to the parents.

Charlotta, all gawky gorgeousness, looks sheepishly at the pavement. All this attention is embarrassing. Her schoolfriends stare enviously, wishing they had been chosen instead.

Who knows whether Leon will ever hear from Charlotta (or, rather, Charlotta's mum and dad). But in four years' time, even taller, less gauche, there's a chance she will be striding down a runway in Paris. It's a question of luck and timing and ambition.

As Ilona says, 'I'd never thought about modelling. I didn't care about fashion; I didn't even wear skirts. But sometimes I look back and think – what if I hadn't been on that particular train, in that particular carriage, at that particular time? What would my life have been like then?'

Last edited by Glittery_Bug; 05-12-2005 at 05:19 PM.
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good article! thanks for posting this.

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Faith Akiyama's Avatar
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That was a fascinating read! Thank you very much

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Cool article, thaks a lot.

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ooh thanks, that was a great read!

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thank you

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Well I think some are true. What I'm more intrested in,is where exactly the scouts are being sent off. For example wasn't Heidi(Whiteworth?) discovered at a Britney Spears concert in Utah? Do they really send the scouts off that far all the way across the US?

Never complain.Never explain-Kate Moss
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That was really interesting

Thanks for the post <3

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Interesting article. London's just swarming with scouts isn't it?

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Good article ... very informative.

Along that line .... I feel that I should point out that, especially in the US, most people who approach young ladies and say thay are scouts are either lying and using it to seduce the young lady, or are working a scam. Scouting is not really a big part of the industry here ... probably because they get so many girls submitting pictures and showing up at casting calls ... they've got a lot to wade through, as it is. And phtographers are always on the lookout too.

In the US, if you are ever approached by a "modeling scout", I would suggest that you check it out very carefully ... you could loose your money, or worse yet ... your life. It happens here ... too much.

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