What is a mother agency?

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What is a mother agent? It is a question I have heard more times than I can count, especially having a modeling agency in Oklahoma. I have heard just as many answers.

A mother agent is so much more than just an agent. A mother agent provides models with training, knowledge of the fashion, ad, and talent industries, confidence in their ability and counseling about the ups and downs of the industry; in short, their foundation.

The most common misconception about modeling is that it is easy. Anyone who has ever modeled will tell you the opposite. Modeling is about storytelling, referencing emotions and conveying them through nothing more than your body and face. On top of all that, the model can’t forget about the product. Oh yeah, the PRODUCT! Whether selling a story, idea, lifestyle, or just a sweater, the product must always be at the forefront of the model’s focus.

This all seems to be a lot to keep in mind at once, but the trick is to practice, practice, practice, until the thinking subsides.

My favorite part of working with any aspiring model in Oklahoma or elsewhere is trying to figure them out. By getting to know them, their interests and their life experiences both big and small, a picture begins to form in my head. A picture of who he or she translates to in imagery, which turns into a modeling portfolio that shows their many facets as a muse.

No matter what instruction I am giving to a model, whether posing, expression, walking, or otherwise, I always finish up with, “Now take everything I’ve just told you, discard it, and do what feels natural to you.”

Those “Aha!” moments, where out of nowhere, things click, the wheels start turning, and the model starts to build momentum in their skills, are easily the most rewarding part of the job. Me believing a model has “it” is enough in the beginning, but once they realize what “it” is (read the confidence that comes with that realization), they become unstoppable.

There are thousands of modeling “formulas” touted by coaches, schools, photographers, agents, etc., all over the world. Formulas ALONE do not work, because they remove the most important part of the craft, the individual. No two models are alike, because, believe it or not, they are people too. Their experiences shape their expression, the way they move, the way they walk, and the way they respond to the world around them. It is the mother agency’s job to cultivate that “it” factor.

Contact sheets from Jacob Jones’ first test courtesy of Bradley Cheatwood Photography.

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