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Alycia Kaback Presents KMM Talent Interview for The Philadelphia News
From “girl-next-door” to working model – a seemingly insurmountable path made possible by Kaback Model Management, based in NYC and Philly with a new office location in Bucks Co.
Philadelphians! We are luckier than other metropolises! A new branch of Kaback and Colby Models has opened in our city. Kaback Models is an agency that is widely acknowledged in the modeling industry. This is a step up for Philly and its residents as it opens a brilliant career path for many who have been dreaming of working in entertainment.This turn in your career is absolutely possible; all it takes is just one step towards destiny. So, how does it work? We talked to a regional director of Kaback Model Management in Philadelphia:
- Who do you represent?
- I represent Kaback Model Management and Colby Models. At the present time we have three offices – two in Pennsylvania (in Philadelphia and Feasterville), and the main office in New York City. In the near future we plan to open more offices in Miami, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Atlanta –there will be 10 corporate offices across the United States. Then, we plan to open about 75 franchise offices throughout the world: in Milan, Paris, Tokyo and so on, but that would probably be in 2012-2013.
- That’s a huge undertaking! And how did this all get started?
- We’ve been around for 4 years now, so we have developed a proven track record of success. Colby Models started with just 2 people. Now we have about 45 employees and staff, but by the end of 2012 we are predicting there will be over 100 people working for the company. We are currently aiming to become one of the 120 fastest growing companies in the United States.
- Have any of your clients reached their desired results?
- We have people who have appeared on American Idol, and in movies like Men In Black 3, Mr. Popper’s Penguins and so many more. We have had kids do Macy’s jobs for $10,000. When we are talking about fame, we think about the level of Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise or Julia Roberts; however, to reach that level of success you have to be in this industry for 10, 15, or 20 years. We have been here for 4. So, do we have people on that track? Yes. But as we talked about, it’s about staying on the track, and continually building your resume.
- What are the goals of your agency?
- As in other agencies we look for talent and people who seem to have what it takes to be successful. That, however, mostly depends on their professionalism, reliability, and dedication. When we find those people, we send them out on castings, book them for the jobs, and submit them for all opportunities for which they qualify. For example, somebody who is 5’11” can walk New York fashion week and do editorial modeling. Those who are 5’8” and shorter, can do commercial print work for billboards, magazines, and catalogues. We have had people do acting jobs, such as Gossip Girl and Boardwalk Empire and a variety of other TV Shows and movies as well.
- Anyone who has a personality and a unique look has a chance in this type of career. Such a person doesn’t have to be beautiful or absolutely perfect, but has to have interesting features and the right personality. You can find these people anywhere, such as McDonald’s, Gap, or the even grocery store just going about their daily life. With this type of work for there actual is not much to thank the genetics for- it’s about having a professional appearance and good work ethic. Modeling is a career. If you take someone who is 20 years old and their last job was working at Target making $8 an hour, when they decide to call in sick, to them it’s not a big deal; somebody else will hang the clothes, fold the clothes, put away stock and so on. When you are in the modeling industry and you are booked for a modeling show in New York for tomorrow, you have to be there, whatever it takes, because it’s a career. . Even a supermodel would say, “When I first started I was just like any other girl, but I was always on time, I worked well with others and I always had a strong work ethic.” So for models to be successful they need to be reliable, on time and very professional. Some people just look for the fame and glory, while others know that it’s hard work. If you need to wake up at 5 o’clock in the morning to head to New York City, you can’t just say “My alarm didn’t work” or “My mom didn’t wake me up.” Models are like school students, some are A-grade and some have Cs, but the C models won’t last long. This industry is only for people on their A-game.
- So how does the future look for your clients?
- It looks great! Right now we are going into commercial season for television productions. The ads for products you will buy in the spring catalogues are shooting now. At the moment there we are casting for 26 productions filming in New York City for TV shows, everything from “Law and Order” to “Gossip Girl”. As far as opportunities for talent, this is probably the best time to get started.
- Do all the clients of your agency choose a career of a model?
- Well, 100% of those who come to us want to be a model, and 100% of them want to be a fashion model. The thing that most people do not understand is that when you ask a person: “What is modeling?” they answer something like: “Glitzy and glamorous, runways in New York”. Well, the fashion industry is just the smallest section of the industry and it only accounts for 10% of the overall industry. The largest segment of the industry is commercial print modeling: magazines, billboards, and catalogs. There’s only 2% of world population that qualifies for fashion work because of strict height and measurement requirements needed to qualify. So, about 98% of people that we see will never qualify to be a runway model and will never work in New York at that high-end level. But that 98% will fall into the largest segment of the industry with 90% of the jobs. So, when we are discussing career options with people, we say: “Hey, you have a chance to be in a magazine, on a billboard, or to do a Gap ad, something like that or to be on television, or in a movie, is that something you’d be interested in?” Most people are not going be an editorial model, but there is so much work available in commercial print and acting, where they can focus their careers. There are always a couple of people who will say: “I’m 5’5” and I will prove that you’re wrong.” Well, we wish them the best of luck, knowing that they may work on a fashion show in a mall. But what we do are not those types of jobs. We work with very high-end clients and very high-end designers; it’s all A-list clientele.
- But regardless whether they will choose this as the focus of their career or not, working in entertainment can be very useful for them, right?
- If you’re a high fashion model, you have to be in New York every day. Some people drop it because they have to study, or have another job, or have a child. But when they do commercial print work, they don’t have to work every day, and they still are able to go to school. A 20-21-year-old girl, who is studying in a college and struggles paying her rent, for her car, for her books and so on, can go to work as a waitress, spend lots of time on this side job and earn little money. On the other hand, she can do commercial print work two days a month and make $1000 per day and have the money to pay her bills and concentrate on her studying more. A lot of very successful attorneys and doctors that took this opportunity during their college years had more time to study. Many people do not understand that this career can really support them and help them become more successful. It may not change your life, but it can be a great opportunity. Another example is a single mom in her 40s who has dreamt about this career in growing up, has raised her children and now has a few free days a month to try modeling. So, the modeling industry is not just about young people or kids, it’s also about people who you would never think of who would be great for financial ads, or posing as doctors, lawyers, or other adults you see in magazines. These are the people next door who you see in everyday life, but in order to become models, they need agents.
- My advice is: If you want to do this, wherever you go, you should never be paying people money to represent you. You shouldn’t go and spend thousands of dollars on classes or on photographs without actually being signed. A lot of people will try to take advantage of you based on the fact that you don’t know what you need to do. People will spend money on photos and classes, but if you aren’t signed with anyone, you aren’t working. So, for those who want to try this career, my advice is to search for more information on an agency. The agency must be based in New York or Los Angeles. We work in Philadelphia, but our office is based in New York. There is not a lot of work in the Philadelphia or Delaware area so work is going to be concentrated in New York. The competition goes only to New York, but Philadelphia is the 5th largest city in the United States, and is a great market for us to be in as we’ve found some great good-looking people here.
- How would you define a professional model?
- A professional model is somebody who has a passion for the industry, a desire to be successful, and a great look. It’s a person who shows up on time, is always reliable and dedicated to the industry. A professional model is someone who has clear skin and a nice smile. But just like in any other industry, you cannot do it all by yourself. You need to have the right connections; you need to know the right people; you need to have faith in yourself and the people you work with. There is no such thing as an overnight success. A professional model needs to have accepted where they fit in within the industry. If you’re a geeky guy, you’re going to do the geeky ads; you’re not going to be “the Hero”. Models also need to make investments in themselves and put in time and effort; they may need to lose weight, get into shape, and start taking better care of themselves. Modeling is a great career for those who understand that they have to make their own path. In this office, you are always actively involved in what we are doing. Our office offers free workshops w here we have people from America’s Next Top Model, Warner Bros., Central Casting, etc. come in to work personally with our talent and mentor them through the beginning stages of their careers.
- How long does it take to actually start working?
- It’s possible you can sign up with us today and start working tomorrow; however between the beginning and when a model makes it their career, could be 1-2 years. It takes a lot of exposure before people can start recognizing them. They need to appear in commercials, ads, movies, etc. The more times their faces appear, the more exposure they have and the more opportunities they getFirst, they take 1 job, then 2, then 4, then 16, and now their faces are seen not only in New York, but in Chicago, Tokyo and Milan. This is the path that any girl who comes to an open call can take that leads to chance of becoming a world famous super model, but can take many years to become a success.
KMM – Kaback Model Management