How I Became a Men's Model Agent at 22

October 26, 2017

 

I got paid to sell HOT men.

Yes that's basically what I did but there was SO much more that went into it. Let me start out by explaining how I even landed this job at 22 years old....(I'm now 26)

I went to Columbia College Chicago and ended up studying Fashion Business after starting out as undecided my Freshman year. (it's OK to not know what you want to do in life!) I did two internships in 2012, one in the summer going into Senior year and the second in my 1st semester of senior year.  The first one was a internship in Los Angeles at Bloom Showroom which was a start up fashion showroom by a woman who used to work at Calvin Klein in NYC. She had so much knowledge of the fashion world and it was just me and her at her downtown LA apartment growing this company as much as we could. I lived with my friends sister for those 3 months and soaked in as much experience as I could. After the summer, I went back to Chicago to finish up my senior year and started an internship at Luxury Garage Sale in Chicago. This was an e-commerce start up that sold used luxury items like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, etc. I watched it grow from just an Ebay store, to an online store, to a brick and mortar in Old Town and actually years later where I would meet Kristin Cavallari and swoon. These experiences, I thought, were enough to give me some amazing fashion job by May 2013 when I graduated Columbia but no.... I went on to do my THIRD internship after graduating (unpaid.) For my final senior project for one of my classes I had to shadow someone in the industry in a section that I was interested in. I chose to shadow a model agent because I found it fascinating and something I didn't think I could ever just do out of college. It was kinda of like watching a reality show because it's fun to get an inside look at someone's life. So there I go.. I shadow Bridget Halanski at Factor Women (now Factor Chosen Model Management) and my day with her consisted of getting a tour of the agency, having a life discussion of what I want to do with my life, going to a book signing event at Ikram (amazing high end boutique where Kim K came when she was in Chicago), a fashion show at the Cultural Center, and then we went out to dinner with 2 friends of hers. This photo is not of that night BTW. :)

 Bridget and I ^

 

I sent her a written thank you note the next day and she let me know that if I didn't find a job after school, that I should apply for an internship at the agency. A month probably went by and I was hearing nothing from all the jobs I was applying for in NYC, LA, and Chicago. So I applied for the unpaid internship. 

My summer at Factor was great. I interned on the women's board, met tons of great people, got used to models walking around in bikinis during a 9-5 work day, and worked my ass off. I also had a part time job at Bloomingdales to pay the bills. After the internship I went to Poland for my cousins wedding and was going to figure out my life when I got home. That trip was the most anxiety filled 'vacation' I've ever taken. All I could do was constantly worry about coming home and having a degree with no job. And especially living in Chicago where fashion jobs are scarce. When I got home from Poland, I got an email from the VP in Factor and she wanted me to meet with her. There it was... I GOT A JOB as a model agent! 

 My 23rd birthday celebration

 

 Kentucky Derby Party in 2014

 

I started out as a commercial print agent for men and women (at Stewart Talent which is the sister agency of Factor) since the director was on a leave of absence so my training started there. Then I repped kids at Stewart for a bit which was THE BEST. I love kids in general so looking at kids photos all day and editing film was so fun for me. Also creeping on Instagram got the best of me and I scouted a 3 year old on there and he ended up signing with us and working for the catalog clients in the Midwest. Pays to be a creep. After kids, I moved up to the men's division (which was called Chosen Models and now merged with Factor (the women) to be called Factor Chosen Model Management) and alongside David Love we repped 150-180 men together. He handled more of the New Faces and I handled the established out of town models.

 Sean Lex and Ritter

 

 Guan Liu

 Jacob Burton

 With David Love, famous celeb photographer Tony Duran, Jefferson West, and Ryan Young

 

Being a model agent is so much more than selling hot men though. Not only did we have to make sales goals, we had to create marketing tactics for our models to show our clients that our guys are worth booking. We had to make sure all models had updated digitals, updated portfolios, updated measurements. We had to constantly talk to them to coach them on how to model, how this business works, how to get rebooked. I had a lot of models come from different agencies because they wanted to be repped by us and I had to tell them yes or no to their face with a reason. This job alongside all the confrontation, had a lot of reward when a model you 'coached' gets signed by a great NYC agency or abroad to get them the great shows and bigger clients. There was so much more than selling, but that was the majority of what was important in the money mind. I decided that I loved the industry, but I wanted to be 'on the other side' in one way or another. I didn't want to sell anymore, I wanted to be part of something bigger and not force these men onto anyone's throats. I loved the booking part which entailed all the details, contracts, negotiations, and I wanted to focus more on that. Once I changed my path, I do have to say my anxiety lifted a ton just by not having to check my email 24 hours a day for a cancelled flight or a model missing their flight/car, etc. I wouldn't be where I am today if I didn't have the experience as an agent for 3 years and I value all the people that coached me along the way as well. Who knows where my path lies but so far I feel so lucky that at such a young age I got to experience a job that many people in the fashion industry dream of. Now I am a Talent Manager at an advertising agency dealing with all talent booked on our commercials for TV and radio. No selling and still dealing with contracts and negotiating with agents! Win win. 

 

Now I did get to meet some cool people too..

 

 Nigel Barker

Ryan Belman (who interned with me at Factor and then worked at NY Models, Darren who now works at Society in NY (same agency that reps Kendall Jenner), and Bryan Whitely who is an amaze photographer!)

 

 

 

 

 

 Cindy Crawford

 

 

Hope you enjoyed :)

 

xoxo ela

 

 

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