Posts tagged with "modeling career"

Illustration of a Booker by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

Turf Shifts Modeling World

By Dana Feeney

The modeling industry has two very different faces. One side are supermodels, like Gigi and Bella Hadid, glamorously modeling, making millions of dollars, and traveling the world. The other are the unknown models working job to job, facing exploitation and manipulation by their agencies and clients, and trying to make their name in the industry. The mistreatment of models is as old as the industry itself. Skinny, cis, and white models experience this brutal reality. Working as a model is only worse for people of color [POC], LGBTQA+, and immigrants because of the lack of transparency or regulation and rampant misconduct.

New Players

The current push for diversity and inclusion has caused a much higher demand for POC, and LGBTQA+ models with different body types. In recent months, a few new players in the game are building their reputations on accountability and proper treatment of the models and creatives they represent. Three small agencies and one superpower are disrupting the model representation world: New Pandemics, Zandwagon, Community New York, and film and television power player Creative Artists Agency (CAA).
The way modeling deals traditionally work is that a model signs to an agency, such as Next Models, Ford Models, IMG Models, or Wilhelmina Models. The agency provides its models with certain services such as housing, transportation, portfolio shoots, and more. In most cases, anything an agency provides for a model they have to pay back to the agency, often at a high-interest rate. The interest rate means the longer they take to pay it back, the more they owe to the agency.

Although models sign contracts to agencies, they are not considered employees of those agencies and instead are independent contractors who the agency aids in booking jobs. The agencies do not keep models on their payroll. They do control the money that the models earn on a job and how their money models earn is distributed. Bad payment practices reach far beyond the agencies. The agencies are responsible for billing the client right after the model completes their job. Payment for jobs by agencies to their models is notoriously sketchy because clients are not required to pay upfront before shoots and can legally take up to 90 days to settle up. Most agencies take at least a 20% fee out of any money their models make and charge clients a “booking fee,” so for a $1000 job, they would charge $1200 but only pay the model $800. Worst of all, if a client does not pay the agency for work a model did, the agency does not owe the model the money they earned. The common practice in the industry is that the model only gets paid if the agency gets paid.

The film and television management world contrasts the modeling world in many ways. The modeling industry as a whole is riddled with misconduct, manipulation, and poor treatment of models by their agencies and brands. Many modeling agencies use contracts that include fees and costs they can pull out of the model paychecks and use debt, housing, and visas to keep their models dependent.

Agencies in other media such as film, only make money if their clients make money. In film, the percentage is around 10% because of unions. Although, none of these industries are flawless especially considering scandals in the film and tv world with predators like Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer.
Creative Artists Agency (CAA) has a long history of representing talents across film, tv, music, and more. In August of 2020, CAA announced their partnership with KCD Worldwide, a fashion services agency, which signaled CAA’s entrance into fashion model management for the first time in the agency’s history. CAA has a strong legacy of representing high-profile individuals and building their careers. They have also stated that they only take a 10% fee out of their models’ earnings, half of the general standard of 20%. Despite their claims for better treatment of models, CAA is not blemish-free when it comes to allegations of abuse and sexual misconduct. Multiple former CAA agents have faced lawsuits.

Additionally, CAA has previously represented multiple people accused of misconduct, including Shia LaBeouf, Chris D’Elia, and Marilyn Mason; all of whom are no longer represented by CAA.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are the smaller boutique agencies mentioned earlier, New Pandemics, Zandwagon, and Community New York. New Pandemics is “a casting and management agency dedicated to increasing LBGTQ+ visibility.”

Zandwagon is “a talent management company that could guide everyday life individuals who are breaking beauty standards daily” according to their website. Community New York is run by Butterfly Cayley, Moe Lamstein, and Richie Keoall, three first-generation immigrants from Laos, and “is founded on inclusivity and progressive values by changing not only the style but the very structure of management.” Cayley, Lamstein, and Keoall have impressive experience at agencies including DNA and Elite Model Management. Community New York now represents stars such as Hunter Schafer, who is well known for her work on the hit HBO show “Euphoria” and is now a brand ambassador for Shiseido.

With small diversity forward agencies up and coming, the existing modeling industry is under attack from all sides. All three of these agencies emphasize how much they value representation and inclusivity in this industry that has avoided breaking societal beauty standards for so long. They also claim they will be different from other agencies and provide better treatment for their clients. These agencies are sending the message that you’re either with them or against them, and they’re willing to think outside of the box to get proper treatment and equity for models from all walks of life.

Same Old Problems

Many of the biggest fashion houses in the world are still reckoning with the #MeToo movement. The fashion industry is known as a highly predatory business. Many of even the largest names in modeling have had to survive people abusing their power on sets and behind the scenes to become who they are. Household names, such as Kate Upton, Coco Rocha, and Cameron Russel, have all spoken out about their experiences with the abuse they’ve experienced while working as models.

Kate Upton spoke out against Paul Marciano in 2018, which led to a total of $500,000 in settlement agreements involving five individuals. He has remained an active participant at GUESS as a board member and chief creative officer, despite resigning from his position as an executive. At the beginning of February, the news broke that Marciano is once again being sued over sexual assault allegations by a woman who has chosen to remain anonymous. The allegations against Marciano are not an isolated incident. Similarly, allegations were brought against Alexander Wang in December of 2020 but began as early as 2017, yet some still chose his side despite the overwhelming corroboration of multiple individuals. If the word of a woman as successful as Kate Upton is not enough to oust a predator from power, it’s unclear what realistically can protect vulnerable individuals with less acclaim from the same experiences or worse.

The silver lining of these allegations coming to light is the industry supporting the individuals coming forward more than ever before. In the past, many models lost their careers before they had even begun due to the actions of predators and the mechanisms powerful people use to silence their victims. Accounts such as @shitmodelmgmt and @dietprada have been using their online platforms to expose predators and condemn their actions openly across Instagram and Twitter. Additionally, the Model Alliance, an organization dedicated to giving models a voice in their work, has also spoken out against Wang on their Instagram saying, “We stand with David Casavant, Owen Mooney, Gia Garison, and all the accusers of @alexanderwangny in their pursuit towards justice.”

The upheaval that began in 2006 with survivor and activist Tarana Burke’s creation of the #MeToo movement has continued into 2021. Slowly but surely survivors are taking their power back and pushing to create real change in media industries that have exploited them for far too long.

Illustration of models by Rita Azar for 360 Magazine

Acobie the Model Headshot

The Model Acobie

360 Magazine sat down with up and coming model Acobie Inniss, to find out how he got started with modeling and where he plans to go next. The young, Barbadian model has a unique look that is sure to gain attention as his modeling career takes off.

Included below is also information about Rhaj Paul a designer that works with Acobie and Graham Edwards, Acobie’s agent. Working together, the team has created an amazing shoot featuring Acobie as the star.

When did you decide to begin modeling and how did you get started? 

I was approached by Graham from GADAL Model Management at the end of 2018 and I didn’t take it too seriously at the time. A year later we had another chance encounter meeting and this time I decided it couldn’t hurt to give it a try; so I officially started at the end of 2019. 

What was it like growing up in Barbados?  

Growing up in Barbados is great! I loved that a nice beach would always be right around the corner; I was definitely a beach person, like in the summer I would be at the beach every day. I loved riding around on my bike and playing football and many other sports with my friends.  

Do you think you will eventually become a full-time model? Why or why not? 

Yes! I’m hoping to become a full-time model; but I know life can have twists and turns so I remain open to it happening or not happening, where ever life takes me I guess. 

Where do you aspire to be five years from now and do you have plans to get there? 

Five years from now I’d like to have my own home and to be traveling the world with my girlfriend- who I hope will be my wife at that time. I also want to be in a financial position to invest in Real Estate and be able to help the needy. Things don’t always go according to plan, but it’s still good to have one in place. I plan to keep an open mind and open heart to whatever opportunities come my way. 

Are your family and friends supportive of your modeling career? 

My mother and my close friends are supportive. 

What has been your favorite part of modeling so far? 

So far, my favorite part is meeting new people; trying new experiences and exercising my confidence and communication skills. 

Some of your hobbies include stunt-riding and photography, do you hope to progress these talents further in the future?  

Yes, I hope to progress further in these hobbies. For example the stunt riding; I’d love to build a community (of riders) where we ride for a cause…hopefully raise some funds as well and donate to different charities while having fun riding (smile). 

What makes you unique from other up and coming models? 

Well, I think everyone is unique in their own way; for me, I’m not sure, some people say it’s my hair or maybe my eyes. Lol. 

Do you have any collaborations coming up that you’re excited about? 

I’m definitely hoping to have some collaborations! I know my agency is working on stuff…don’t want to let the cat out of the bag. I like to only speak about things after they are done. 

Are there any other models you would like to work with in the future?  

I’d like to work with everyone! I’m new to this industry so I want to learn as much as I can from everyone. 

About Acobie Inniss

Acobie is a newly discovered Barbadian model who describes himself as a “regular guy” who loves stunt riding and going for long rides on his Haro mountain bike. He says, he also likes researching things on the internet and learning new things.  

One look at Acobie however, and you’ll see he’s anything but “regular”; the 6’ 2”, 21-year-old is an eclectic ethnic blend of Black; White and Indian- with a negro structured face and nose; light skin; freckles; pink lips; hair that can change color ranging from dark brown to blonde; perfect jaw-lines and hazel eyes with an intense gaze, that causes you too, to also gaze intensely. Anything but “regular!” 

Acobie is not just another pretty face though, he is also talented practically with his hands. He’s a certified electrician and PV (photovoltaic) installer and sees the latter as “the future” because it’s “environmentally sustainable; good for the planet and clean energy”. 

He also has a passion for photography (which he’s teaching himself); because he likes how you can “capture a moment forever.” All the knowledge he has on various topics such as his stunt-riding and photography he eagerly shares on his YouTube channel another one of his hobbies. 

He loves the artist Saint Jhn (who’s originally from Guyana) and appreciates his music; success and Caribbean roots. Acobie is also into Kendrick Lamar and Arianna Grande. His favorite fashion brands he’d love to work with are Polo Ralph Lauren; Gucci and Prada. 

About Rhaj Paul 

Rhaj Paul is a conscious artist, whose objective is to use the medium of fashion and design to grow positivity, creativity and connection, particularly in the Caribbean and the Caribbean diaspora.  

From the emergence of his eponymous cut ‘n’ sewn menswear label – Rhaj Paul Montaazh (pron. ‘montage’) in 2000 to the trendsetting soft apparel Brand Evolve in 2010, and the first-ever Barbadian beard brand – The Beard Island Gang in 2014, the name Rhaj Paul has been synonymous with top-quality craftsmanship, unique style and innovative fashion marketing in Barbados.  

His work encompasses bespoke tailoring and design, fashion styling, graphic design and motivational public speaking. 

Rhaj has worked with various organizations, entertainers, artists, videographers and photographers and has also starred in several local movies  

Passionate, inspired, skilled and committed to raising an attitude of excellence and a genuine love for authentic self-expression, Rhaj Paul represents the Ministry Of Style Creative Alliance in its mandate to grow creative entrepreneurship in the Caribbean region and beyond. 

Welcome, Minister of Style Rhaj Paul Whitehead!  

Rhaj Paul Photograph

About Khali Goodman

Khalil Goodman is a photographer, digital strategist and writer.  When he’s not art-directing or shooting a new set of images, Khalil spends too much time reading comic books and listening to all the wrong music at the right volume. 

Khalil Goodman Portrait

About Graham Edwards

Graham Edwards is a Model Agent and the founder and owner of GADAL Model Management Inc., a Barbadian based mother agency and model management company specializing in the scouting, training and placement of primarily black models internationally.   

The name “GADAL” is a Hebrew verb for: “to grow; become great; become important; promote; make powerful; praise; magnify; do great things; to increase; to exceed; to excel; to promote; to become like a great tree or tower.”  

It’s a personification of all that he wants to do for black models worldwide. He describes his job as, “doing my part to ensure a more level playing field in the fashion industry for models of color; long before Black Lives Matter appeared- I always knew black models mattered!”  

Nothing makes him more satisfied than to see models of color succeed and to see them on the runways worldwide and in the pages of major international magazines.  

Models scouted and placed internationally by GADAL Model Management Inc. through Graham, have appeared in Beyoncé’s music video: Get In Formation; Tinchy Stryder’s In My System; Avicii’s I Could Be The One; in shoots with Selita Banks; appeared in major fashion publications: L’Officiel Hommes; Men’s Health UK; Men’s Health Portugal; Cosmopolitan; Essence Magazine; Prestige Hong Kong; Cole Magazine; ESTE 2 and walked for international labels and designers: Givenchy; Calvin Klein; Moncler; Marcelo Burlon; Granted London; Sibling London; OTHER UK; Fausto Puglisi; Dockers and represented international brands such as: Nike; Coca Cola; Levi Jeans; Addidas; Asics and Equinox Gym. 

The company has signed the models it represents into several international fashion markets and placed them with larger model agencies in: Germany; Italy; Mexico; South Africa; Spain, UK and the USA. Graham loves his job; still, actively scouts for models and is excited about every ‘new face’ he discovers and helping them achieve their fullest potential! 

Acobie the Model Headshot

Acobie the Model Headshot

Acobie the Model Headshot

Acobie the Model Headshot

Acobie the Model Headshot

Acobie the Model Headshot

Acobie the Model Headshot

Acobie the Model Headshot