Tyra Banks, Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford, Bella Hadid, Gigi Hadid, and Ashley Graham. These model moguls have become household names synonymous with personal branding, social influencing, and beauty. Evidenced by their hypervisibility in film, television, and print media, their success induces multitudes of young model hopefuls into visions of pampered globe-trotting lifestyles and social media followings rivaling those of their idols. But if you think these top models are entirely self-made, you’d be mistaken. Behind these success stories lies the support and strategy of various individuals that go unnamed as they play a crucial role in the success of any model. Some of these mysterious, disembodied, behind-the-scenes operatives are known in the industry as mother agents.
Mother agents discover and refine potential model talent. They may be a part of formal model search platforms whether televised or not, or represent themselves when searching or scouting for talent at the local mall, sporting event, or anywhere young adults congregate. Once a mother agent identifies an individual with a marketable model “look,” develops their talent through performing several photo shoots with trusted local photographers, and educates them on industry basics, the mother agent then secures a contract for a model with a reputable agency in a large market such as New York, L.A., Chicago or Atlanta.
Once a model is placed with an agency and starts booking jobs, that is officially your cue to kick up your feet, fold your arms behind your head, and summon a sweet, salt-rimmed, parasoled alcoholic beverage and watch the fruit of your labor mature as the model you assisted starts to book paid work and see their dreams materialize.