Working With An Agency, Do Models Really Have Any Other Choice?
Today’s article was submitted by Sandy Kacura.
Sandy Kacura has over 15 years of modeling and fashion experience, working both inside and outside of the United States. Sandy has a keen eye for detail, and staying abreast to current fashion and popculture trends. After establishing a successful career in the modeling industry, Sandy has been more active and instrumental in helping aspiring models and fashion designers. Sandy utilizes her experience both on and off the runway to assist in developing and coaching individuals in the art and fashion market. Ms. Kacura has worked with high profile management companies such as Ford, Elite Models and MC2 in the United States, while also working with Next, Metropolitian, Fusion and M4 Internationally. Her clientele list spans over 15 years with industry leading clientele which include walking for Oscar de la Renta, Versace and Escada, while also doing print and commercial work for Macy’s, Karstadt, Stockmann and various international and domestic retailers. Beginning her career at the age of 18, Ms. Kacura has traveled to numerous countries finding success along the way. Her first departure from the states sent her to Australia, where she lived for 3 years modeling as the face for numerous corporations. At the age of 24 she left to conquer Europe where she was able to attract the interest of Nivea and other European based companies. After 2 years in Europe, Sandy came back to the United States to find further success in New York, Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles.
Beginning a career in modeling can be a very scary venture. Should I sign with an agency or should I just try to get my own jobs through dodgy sites like craigslist or model mayhem?
I was 18 years old and decided what other choice do I really have besides an agency? I went to an open call at Ford in Los Angeles. I remember being so nervous and scared, I had no idea what was going to happen. I met with the head booker and she loved me…but here was the catch, I had to chop off my long beautiful blonde hair to above my shoulders because apparently they already had a girl with long blonde hair and they needed a blonde girl with short hair. So not knowing any better and trusting that the booker knew exactly the best thing for me…I chopped it all off. The changes didn’t stop there, they also didn’t like my first name because they thought it was too California girl so I was to go by my middle name!! You can only imagine how fun that was. I was then sent on tons and tons of test shoots which cost anywhere between $350-$1000 per shoot. And you think oh great they will pay for it, but what I didn’t understand was that I would have to pay it all back once I started working.
So off I go to my first paid shoot, Seventeen Magazine. Funny the client wanted long blonde hair so they attached extensions in my hair. To top it all off they kept calling my name and I wouldn’t respond because I wasn’t used to being called by my middle name. About 4 months later I got my first paycheck from Ford, which was exactly $0. I still had thousands of dollars I owed from website fees, photo prints, charge for my model book, Fedex fees, test shoots, and travel expenses. Cheese and rice the fees never ended. I even had one well paying client go bankrupt a month after the shoot so I never got that money either. Sounds like a dream doesn’t it?? Haha
So let’s fast forward 15 years. I am lucky to say I am still modeling and have learned the ins and outs of the industry. My hair is long again and I go by my real first name. Needless to say, my agencies throughout the years didn’t know everything. You really learn from working as a model, what clients want from you. What works for one client doesn’t necessarily work for another. You really have to own your look…whatever you choose it to be. All you really need to succeed in the talent industry is an awesome portfolio and a personality. There are millions of clients out there, and trust me someone is looking for you.
And because the agencies have the industry on lockdown, there are no other options for members of the talent industry and clients to meet and conduct work in a safe manner. So then I got to thinking…why is the fashion industry one of the only multibillion dollar industries left that hasn’t been disrupted? The process has been the same since the dawn of the fashion industry. I mean seriously, I still have to get a paper voucher signed after each job I do…hello the 21st century is calling!!
Recently sites like MyStyleBlox.com have come into the scene to really shake up the industry. They put a new spin on the standard “Model Mayhem” like sites. Instead of just posting pictures online, the talent can manage their own books, get hired, and even leave reviews about other members they worked with. Cutting out the agency from the process even allows the talent to keep more of their hard earned money, which I for one am all for!
I still enjoy modeling…I love getting my hair and makeup done, wearing beautiful clothes and doing something that I truly love. So now the question becomes not DO we have another choice, but will the agencies even be around in the future?