Ten years ago, most fashion shows and even commercial print ads looked very similar, with the models all looking the same, as if they all came from the same mould. However, just recently there has been a shift in diversity and inclusion, not only in terms of race and ethnicity, but also in terms of height, age and disability. Brands are realizing the power of using models that the everyday consumer can authentically connect with and identify with. Additionally, on the backend, modeling agencies are changing their practices to provide more support, guidance, and care for the mental well-being of their clients. Agents are improving their approaches to attracting and retaining top talent across all modeling categories.
Jules Newmark, founder of namesake newMark Models, created a 360-degree approach to fashion marketing and advertising while positioning talent growth and happiness first. Part of its strategy is to empower its clients to set and achieve ambitious goals. In doing so, she created The Guardian MGMT, a digital creator and content agency that aims to elevate an artist’s vision into reality. The agency represents models, surfers, singers, influencers and entrepreneurs. Newmark and her team work with global brands including Guess Cosmetics, Skechers, Pretty Little Thing and Smashbox.
“I wanted to create an all-female agency that was unique in a positive, uplifting, and encouraging way,” Newmark shares. “It was a family and a home for these young girls where they could feel safe; they could feel like someone was watching over them. This is something that I think our industry lacked at the time. Most of the time it’s very dark and it’s very adult. It’s like, ‘We’re just going to lose weight and figure it out.’ There is no real “here are some steps you can take to be healthy and do it the right way…” Much of what has been missed up to this point I have could see in the company was that models were not treated that way. They were sort of things, objects that were just supposed to appear, do what they’re supposed to do, not share opinions and go home.
Newmark began her career as an editorial assistant writing articles. She quickly realized that the publishing industry was moving online and wondered if she wanted to stay in the industry. She connected with a classmate on social media who had posted about her modeling agency. She sent a cold email to the owner of the agency, explaining her search for a new position and that her skills could transfer to the modeling industry.
They offered him a job. She was tasked with calling different brands to see if they were looking for models for upcoming projects. She learned to persuade others and to be direct. As she gained experience in the industry, she knew that was what she was meant to do.
Through connections, she met another agent in town who worked more on the fashion side of the industry than the brand and publishing side. She started learning how to take measurements correctly, learned international modeling procedures and how to talk about weight and diet with teenage girls. After reaching the top of this agency, she had lunch with a friend who convinced her that it was time to start her own business. After researching how to start a modeling agency and the licenses she would need, she packed up her apartment in San Diego and moved to Los Angeles. In 2014, it opened its doors.
“So I wanted to make space for those people, especially women, and I did,” Newmark says. “It was before the #metoo movement. It wasn’t really a defined place; there was no women’s group. It’s like a sisterhood in a way. It became a family and all the girls became friends.We traveled together and became friends and family after a while.
Newmark’s list grew rapidly. Then, with the intention of serving her clients on a larger scale, she launched the Guardian. Here, she is also able to represent other types of creatives, such as photographers and bloggers, helping them scale their projects.
As Newmark continues to pivot in her career and grow her agency, she is focused on the following key milestones:
- Make sure your next move feels like you’re alive. Don’t turn to anything that will drain your energy in a negative way.
- Surround yourself with people who will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.
- Believe in yourself to the point that you can’t talk yourself out of doing something; that you are able to eliminate white noise and focus on the next step.
“It’s about finding those young women who need inspiration or need a little nudge to do something they already know they can do, but maybe never have. thought they could,” Newmark concludes. “I meet a lot of people like that. So many young people think it takes a lot more to do something. They think, ‘I could never do something like that. Look at everything you’ve done. I’m like, ‘But have I?’ I have a co-working space. I googled. I didn’t use my degree for all that; it was just life hacking. I just tried. I took the leap. »