Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Fashioning February: The Model Agency

I have always wondered what it was like to work in a model agency. I have always know that it is not as glamorous as it looks, in fact juggling the lives of several models who are dotted around the world while meeting client's needs must be bloody hard work. However, I am sure it is very fulfilling to see the young people whose lives you have managed go on to become successful models. The Model Agency hits our screens next week and this seven part documentary takes us into the lives of the founders, scouts, bookers and the models. Premier Model Management are the big boys in the modelling industry, for a start they have managed the careers of Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Claudia Schiffer and Linda Evangelista which is nothing to sniff at. The agency was founded by brother and sister duo, Carole White and Chris Owen in 1981 and they head a small team of very passionate and vibrant staff. We are introduced to senior booker, Paul. junior booker, Jamie, commercial booker, John, director of scouting, Anthony and Sadaf, booker for the mens division. Then there is Annie who is head of New Faces who works with Sissy who is Carole's daughter.
The series shows the Premier staff tackle their most busiest time of the year - the September Show season - which means one thing, New York Fashion Week, London Fashion Week, Milan Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week. We see them negotiating payment rates, pitching models. sorting out catwalk shows, shoots and castings, liaising with photographers, designers, foreign agents, scouts, model's parents along with the general running of the office. Then there is the crucial aspect of hunting for new models in the crucial bid to find that new face. The series also delves into the lives of the models and follows them as they rush frantically from castings to catwalk shows. I found The Model Agency completely fascinating: the huge pressure that the staff work under while dealing with the models and making sure that they emotionally and physically able to work really absorbed me. The bookers are basically parents to the models and sort out everything from their travel and accommodation as well as their personal lives. As Annie comments in the first episode, the models tell their booker stuff they do not tell their parents. We are also shown the volatile nature of the industry where an awful lot is at stake and with models earning anything between £5,000 to £15,000 a day it is no surprise to see people getting heated under the collar. The programme also displays the affection that the team at the agency have for each other and despite working in such a high pressure environment, they are still a small family unit.

The Model Agency is aired on Wednesday 23rd February at 10.00pm on Channel 4.

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