As a modeling coach, one of the most common questions I get from models is, "How do I find an agency?"
While some may think it's as easy as doing a Google search for agencies in the area, they will quickly find it hard to tell legitimate agencies apart from non-legitimate agencies when countless options pop up. In this post, I'll go over some tips on finding reputable agencies to submit to, as well as things to keep in mind as you search for agencies.
If you're new to the modeling industry or looking for an agency outside your local area, looking online is the quickest way to find out what agencies are there. Most agencies are located in large cities, so if you live in a more rural area, you will need to search in the largest city near you. Since I am based in Kansas City, I will use Kansas as a search example. If I were to do a Google search of "modeling agencies in Kansas", I would get several in the Kansas City metro area and a couple in the Wichita area. This makes sense, as those are the biggest cities in Kansas.
Now that you've gotten a general idea of where the agencies are located, you can decide which area is best for you to narrow your search. When doing this, you want to keep in mind which city would have the most potential job opportunities for you. In this instance, Kansas City has a larger and more established fashion industry, so it will have a higher concentration of potential modeling clients. Because of that fact, this is where I recommend you focus your search, even if you live closer to Wichita. The same goes for other states- the larger cities would have the best options for work.
Once you've narrowed your focus, it's time to flush out the legitimate agencies from the non-legitimate agencies. In this digital age, it's incredibly easy to make yourself look good online, so you need to dig deeper than just submitting to every agency that pops up on the search list. I always suggest looking at all the agency's websites to see if they look professional and easy to navigate. Also, check out how many models they currently have on their roster and what categories they represent (men, women, non-binary, fitness, curve, etc.). Check out their reviews and testimonials if they have any to get a feel for what is being posted about them.
Once you finish looking at the websites, head over to their social media pages and check those out. What type of content are they posting- is it models doing bookings and different clients they've worked with, or just a bunch of headshots of the models they represent? If they have a limited amount of client work posted, it could be due to them not getting their models much work, which would be a red flag for you to take note of. If client work is posted, what type of clients are they working with, and are they clients that you would also like to get bookings from?
After looking at the websites and social media pages, you'll most likely be able to cross a few agencies off the list that didn't appeal to you or look legitimate. Once you have narrowed your list down, I strongly suggest reaching out to a couple of models they have on their rosters to get their opinion on working with that agency. I always recommend reaching out to more than one because not all of them will answer you, and you also want to get feedback from more than one person. I have gotten many messages over the years on Facebook and Instagram asking about my working experience with my agencies, and I'm always honest about the pros and cons of signing them.
While you're doing your agency research, there are a few things that you, as a model, want to keep in mind. First, consider the location in which you're looking for agencies. If it's not local, are you realistically able to easily travel to that area for bookings if you get signed by an agency? If not, I suggest not applying to them.
Another thing you want to consider is the market type of the area you're agency searching in (fashion or commercial) and whether you fit with that market. If you have a commercial look but submit to agencies in a fashion market, your likelihood of getting signed is minimal. The same goes for niche modeling like fitness modeling. If all the agencies you're submitting to don't have a fitness division or many fitness clients, they most likely won't sign you.
Many agencies also have height, age, and/or size requirements for new models, and you must pay attention to those. If their submission page says they're only looking for 5'9" or taller models, and you're 5'4", you can pretty much bet that they won't consider signing you. You also want to look at their roster of current models and see how many they have that have a similar look as you. If their roster is saturated with models that fit your specifications (hair color, body type, age, etc.), they will most likely not want to add another model that looks like that. However, if there aren't many or any models that look like you, it could either be a great opportunity for you to be added to their roster or an indication that they don't need/want models that fit your description on their roster.
Signing with an agency is a big commitment, so you want to make sure you're making a well-educated decision and aren't signing with an agency just to be able to say you're a represented model. I hope these tips help you find the right agency for you!