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As implied by the job title, a modeling agent works in fashion modeling and books jobs for men, women and children. Modeling agents work with high fashion, catalog, commercial and other models and might specialize in a certain area of modeling or place models in a variety of areas. They might work for large modeling agencies or work for themselves. A reputable modeling agent normally earns his or her salary as a percentage of his or her models' earnings, so they are motivated to place models in good modeling jobs.
A day in the life of a modeling agent might include trying to discover new models by reviewing model cards, also called Zed cards, which basically are the model's calling card. The modeling agent also looks at model portfolios to find models who have the looks needed by designers, advertisers, clothing manufacturers and others who employ models. They contact modeling employers to find out what they are looking for and send models to model calls. Modeling agents negotiate contracts on behalf of their models or advise models on contract negotiations. They also might follow up on payments to ensure that their models are being paid as required by their contracts.
Modeling agents often advise their models about what to wear to model calls and how to apply makeup for calls. They also might give models recommendations about experienced portfolio photographers who they think will best highlight the models’ looks. The modeling agent often is the main advisor to the models that he or she represents and is concerned with looking out for the best interests of his or her stable of models.
Modeling agents might have a large stable of models or a small number, depending on the size of the agency. The majority of modeling agents are located in large modeling centers, such as New York, Milan and Paris. Modeling agents also can be found working in areas that generally are not thought of as hot spots for modeling. Modeling agents working outside the modeling epicenters might focus more on placing catalog or commercial models rather than in the runway and high-fashion fields.
A modeling agent often needs to be highly immersed in the modeling world and have strong contacts in order to be successful in this competitive industry. There are many scams in modeling, so the modeling agent must maintain high ethical standards to retain models. Finding legitimate work for their models is very important for modeling agents if they want to retain models and make a living in the profession.