When people ask what I do, they follow with: Is that something people do? How did you know that’s what you wanted to do? How did you end up here? The following is the short answer:
I was born in Oklahoma, specifically, Stillwater. I took interest in clothes watching my grandmothers craft everything from slippers to dresses. My focus shifted from clothes to models, as a result of Tim Walker’s work with supermodel Lily Cole, when I found myself wondering, “Who is that girl? How did she get there?”
From there, I researched, I went through magazines to write in names of models that I knew, so I could research the ones I didn’t. I had flashcards with stats, agencies, home countries, etc., for each. After high school, I applied to school in San Francisco to study fashion journalism (and do everything I could to work at an agency).
I spent my early years in SF honing my styling skills as a merchandiser. Then, I overheard a classmate say she was finishing up an internship at an agency in SF. I immediately sent my resume knowing they had a position to fill. Simultaneously, I got a lead about an opportunity in Miami which happened to line up with my spring break so I submitted my resume there and waited. In the same day, I accepted both opportunities and everything changed.
I began working at City Models, as an intern, then assistant, then agent. Not long after starting there, I flew to Miami to work under John Martinez, a runway producer. John then invited me to work in LA, then to my first show in NY, resort 2011 at Oscar de la Renta, where I worked under John alongside top casting directors, stylists, artists and models for the next five years. Eventually, I stepped away from my job as an agent to focus on school and work in other markets.
Working New York Fashion Week, a chance encounter with a pair of well known mother agents chaperoning a fresh faced ingenue through her first season sparked something in me. That was the first time I had seen a mother agency so hands-on. I knew that models needed advocates, guides, and allies in the business and knew in that instant that this is what I wanted to do.
After graduation, I returned to Oklahoma, unsure of exactly what path I would take. I found that my philosophy of business, which is a by-product of my experience, of being a hands-on mother agent, was not represented here. Thusly, in January of 2015, Philip Ryan International Model Management was formed.