Demystifying Modeling Agency Boards
(Shout out to one of my readers, Tom, for inspiring me to write this blog post based on his questions about agency boards!)
Visiting modeling agency websites is a great way to get familiar with how these companies present themselves, the divisions they specialize in and view photos of the models currently on roster, not to mention learning how to submit yourself for representation.
One thing you might have noticed on these same websites--namely fashion agency sites--are terms like Main, New Faces, Development, Images, Direct, etc. What does this mean and does it apply to you?
MODELING AGENCY BOARDS
Similar to the concept of Pinterest, the use of boards by agencies is a way they organize and classify which models belong where, according to experience and where they are at in their modeling career.
It also serves as a convenient way to communicate to clients visiting the site as to which models they may be interested in, based on project needs.
When a model gets signed to an agency, it is up to the agency to determine which of these boards they'll be placed on.
It is important to note that some agencies use these terms interchangeably, such as New Faces and Development. Others may not have boards at all or might only have New Faces listed as a board and the other models in regular galleries (i.e. Men, Women, Youth,).
Ultimately, how boards are used and labeled varies from agency to agency and market to market but is mainly reserved for high fashion and runway models/agencies.
NEW FACES BOARD
Models that appear on an agency's website under the New Faces board are the newbies to the industry. They have no previous training or modeling experience so they don't have a portfolio or comp/zed card to showcase to clients. Snapshots/Polaroids are usually submitted instead and are displayed with their profile on the agency website. Clients considering someone from the New Faces board know upfront that the person they're hiring is new to the game.
Models on the New Faces boards are typically in the process of setting up their test shoots in order to create their portfolios and comp/zed cards. We all gotta start somewhere, right?
Models on the Development board are similar to the folks in the New Faces category except they're a bit ahead of the learning curve. They've likely already done their test shoots and have a starter portfolio and comp/zed cards for clients to view. So they're not technically professionals but they've got some shooting experience under their belt and aren't a stranger to the camera.
These are your models who are actively working and available for castings and go-sees for various projects. They're experienced, have a large body of work and tearsheets to show they've been published. It's not so much how long they've been modeling that reflects their placement on the Main board, however. If a model is popular and starts booking work left and right, they'll be in this category, whether they've been with the agency for 3 months or 3 years.
Many fashion models are represented by several agencies in different countries. As a result, they can't be everywhere all the time. When clients are interested in a model listed on an agency's Images board, they automatically understand that female or male model is not available to attend castings or go-sees.
Does that mean they wouldn't be considered for an assignment? Not necessarily. Models on the Images board have experience, tearsheets and a strong portfolio clients can view to help them make their decision in place of meeting in-person.
Models on the Direct board are there because they can be "directly booked" for modeling work without a casting or go-see because the client loves their look and knows they can deliver based on the portfolio and other agency provided materials they've seen from that individual. Clients who want to work with a model on the Direct board simply have to let the agency know the details and if the model is available, the booking will be confirmed and details finalized.
CAN MODELS BE ON MORE THAN ONE BOARD?
Sure. But remember: not all agencies use the same types of boards. Many just have New Faces or Development and that's it, while others have Main and Direct boards. A model could technically be on an Images board and a Direct board but chances are agencies would rather pick one or the other to put on their site and not both since they can be used interchangeably.
HOW DO I GET ON A MODELING AGENCY BOARD?
You need to be signed to an agency first. As stated above, it's the agency's decision whether to include you on one of the boards and which ones. Not being listed on a board isn't a bad thing or a reflection of your potential as a model. Any number of factors play into those types of situations but as long as you have a reputable agency who knows what they're doing and has a proven track record in the industry, you'll be in good hands and can enjoy the ride and all the new experiences it brings.