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Friday, October 29, 2010


Top Modeling Agencies, TOP 10 of 2011

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So MV decided to create a list of the top modeling agencies in western world, based in the US.  If you are truly beyond the look of an FHM or Maxim and really worth money, these are the management companies that would be interested in you.  We made this list considering the top icons, top money girls (earners), top sexiest models, and overall top 50 models based in the USA.

1)  It remains uncontested that IMG looms over the competition as the defining model management company in the industry. Ford might have really set the industry going and Elite may have forged the supermodel but it is IMG that stands to make a grown up business of the modeling trade.  IMG dominates the spectrum of the NY modeling industry. From editorial in the slickest magazines to the bi-annual fashion and cosmetic campaigns to lucrative catalogues, IMG works hard for its talent roster.  They have the most stars, both editorial and mass market, as well as the New Faces division that has recently posited the best performances via sensations like Daria and Gemma Ward. IMG is a consistent, professional and aggressive operation that works tirelessly for both model and client but most significantly has brought an impeccable brand of corporate discipline to an often-times undisciplined business.  The owner is a billionaire, a testament to the management of the company and the google-like approach to vertical integration in the entertainment industry.  Kate Moss and Heidi Klum are two top earners from this shop. 

2) Wilhelmina Models is one of the most prominent agencies in the fashion industry worldwide. With its continual presence as a leader in model management, Wilhelmina Models hits all aspects of the spectrum by representing women, men, and children as well as full-figured models while simultaneously scouting for the freshest talent globally.  An ability to distinguish and nurture their newest talent directly relates to Wilhelmina’s leading stance in such a competitive marketplace.  The company’s complete professionalism and knowledge with all their clients has allowed Wilhelmina Models to remain a pioneer and innovator in the dynamic and ever-changing fashion and beauty industries for over 40 years.  Many might have a hard time with placing this agency this high up, so go ahead and comment.. and tell MV why there should be someone else here.

 3)  As one of the only two universal brand names in all the agency business (Elite being the other) Ford has a clear legacy to live up to . The massive shift that made pioneer Paul Rowland and his team at Ford in Spring 2010 came as a shock to many. But what it did was signal the intent of the agency's new owners to render this industry giant a fully competitive modeling industry player in the same ballpark as IMG and Women. We consider this agency the comeback kid.   Anna J made a jump to the Ford camp.  This has quickly given the company a level of visibility it hasn't had in many seasons. Will this new found market relevance serve as a siren call to mother agencies? Will Ford leap to first pick status for the best new faces?  We think so.  If it does those choice new models can rest assured that one of the most visionary and best connected managers in the business will be guiding their destiny.

4)  Women Model Management in 2008 is a shadow of its former self.  In two years it has become a bigger player.  Having created for some the impression that the very foundations of that company was about to come apart. But then something quite intriguing happened. The bookings of models both rising (see Toni Garrn) and established (Natasha Poly) have grown, testifying to the value of the shrewd experience and the deep network of connections current Director Louie Chaban has brought to the company.All the stars are still here and the aggressive scouting network in play makes it clear that mother agencies are giving this operation first choice on many of their best prospects. As a result Women has gone to the head of the class in the breaking faces sweepstakes at the same time it has been scooping up a pack of MVPs from vulnerable agencies thus boosting Women's numbers on MDC's Top 50 to an all time high.

5)  Elite is an agency that in its 30 years of existence has processed over 5 million bookings. Clearly its had better days.  A huge array of clients call Elite everyday looking for a wide range of models . As such, the prospect of this agency going broke because it is not in the editorial in-club at the current moment is unlikely.  Elite also boasts one of the single most powerful scouting network on the planet and will not have a problem finding outstanding new faces, a fact verified by the development of girls like Hannah Holman and Lisanne de Jong. As one of the two most recognizable brand names in the business Elite has the experience, connections and know how to make you any kind of star you wish to be, editorial or commercial.

6) In the grand old days of the modeling industry, legendary model-masters used to elegantly but unabashedly set the booking terms to the clients as to the market value of their models. The tradition lives on at DNA, the single most consistent and selective NY boutique operation of the last five years. Focusing their high-end relationships with Conde Nast and a small circle of the industry's most powerful photographers, DNA is every inch as elite and successful as they want to be. New models like Ali Michael that they take on are a few of the selection made. A new model scouted by DNA might want to feel privileged at being selected because the track records of Natalia Vodianova, Doutzen Krous and Karolina Kurkova are inspirational indicators of where excellent management can take a girl. Legendary supermodels + impeccable management of established girls + a steady upflow of blue chip new faces = stability and security, which is a coveted thing for a boutique to gain. And we think they will maintain it for many years to come. 

7) With  Chris Gay at the head of this agency, Things have certainly turned around. Marilyn has always been a pristine name on the New York scene, marked by an integrity and consistency when it came to the ideal of careful management.   Marilyn's long standing power as a scouting force with a new drive to maximize those prized finds onto the editorial, campaign and contract market are now in focus.  And the results are the stable of talent.  To name check, there is Arlenis (Lancome), as well as Liu Wen and Constance for Estee Lauder. Add to that windfall the presence of a bonafide modeling star like VS icon Adriana Lima as well as breakthrough editorial forces like Eniko and Lindsey Wixson and what you have is one of the most diverse, vibrant and concise modeling boards in the industry. This is the core value Marilyn offers as a management company to mother agencies puzzled as to where to put their girls on the New York chess-board. A lot of agencies can log the cool magazines and the high visibility shows on those newcomers, but this agency keeps the consistency alive and well.

8)  New York Models has an audacious track record as a venue for some of the most dynamic new faces on the market. Its scouting tradition effortlessly ranks with those of the more directional agencies in the trade. In addition the managers on its booking board bring together an ideal balance of experience and passion driven innovation. The dedication with which this agency seeks to constantly present its models to the best clients proves that there is no shortage of ambition (or contacts) here. Owner Heinz Holba's ambition is a lot more aggressive than most might have presumed as he already has one of the most active new US model searches in motion, as well as big plans for the future of this high-editorial shop.

9)   Major has secured its place in the midst of the ruthless and predatory NY modeling scene. Their key editorial girl, Tiiu, stayed put and has been well rewarded for that loyalty by landing a lucrative Cover Girl contract.  Major also managed to diversify their board with promising new faces such as Egle even as they opening a quickly successful new shop in Paris, thus opening their scouting possibilities. In a tumultuous year  Major stayed constant probably due to the very considered and respectful manner in which Katia Sherman maintains the integrity of her board. This is one agency head who will go that extra mile, emotionally and financially for a model she truly believes in. This is rare and all the more precious in this business and all the more compelling a reason for a new girl to align herself with Major.  The predictable editorial management "grid" exemplified by booking a girl with (Steven/Mario/Mert-n-Marcus) for (Vogue/Pop/Numero/V/W) in order to get (Gucci/Prada/Calvin/Fendi) campaigns is not a proposition exclusive to the IMG's and DNA's. Clients look everywhere for the Next Big Thing. And that's very good news for you, the aspiring model.

10)  Supreme Management , an agency that always flaunted its maverick credentials has been recoded in a new mould with a new management team is back. The big bonus of that new start is that Supreme jumps starts with three major aces: Chanel Iman, Lakshmi and Jacquelyne Jablonski. From that foundation a new taste can be built and the buzzwords at Supreme these days are "clean, classic and beautiful" . The increasing momentum of rising newcomer Ieva and a purposeful dedication to to marketable models who clock those big billings signal that the experience and discipline Caroline Poznanski and Michele Pryor bring to this board will be the key ingredients to survival and stability

THERE YOU have it... the top 10 of the 50 best in the USA.  Let us know what you think.  And we hope you enjoyed more shots of Miss Cris at Model Vanity Studios

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