Agent Inc. Aims to Protect Models in the Fashion and Events Industries

By Camille Moore, April 6, 2018

Agent Inc., a start-up based in California, is providing a new and safer way for models to book jobs. On the events side, many companies and venues hire promotional models as a way to help with networking and educating attendees on their product or service. On the fashion side, clients book models for promotional campaigns, photo shoots, etc.

Though glitz and glamour are words associated with the fashion and modeling world, models are often subjected to racism or sexual assault.

And with the onset of the #MeToo movement, stories are being told almost daily. There is no time quite like the present for an innovative platform to revamp the modeling industry—in both corporate and fashion events.

“We sat down and thought, ‘if we were to reimagine the industry as a whole, how would we do it?’,” said Mark Willingham, CEO of Agent Inc., a platform that is spearheading how models and companies book business; it already has over 10,000 models signed up and has seen an increase on the model and client side with the #MeToo movement.

After a 12-year career in the fashion industry and working with models, Willingham, along with co-founder Dustin Diaz, started to look at the elements that needed improvement in the industry: model safety, booking jobs, background checks and payments.

“After researching, he [Diaz] found out the industry is super fragmented,” said Willingham. “On the cover, it’s glamorous but it has a dark underbelly and is nontransparent. It’s difficult for models trying to build their careers and is really hard to see what’s going on behind the scenes.”

One example Willingham mentioned is when models were hired for events, they would often ask the marketing staff, “How much are you paying the agency?” The agency would tell the model $200 for the four-hour job. But the marketing team/company actually paid $600 to the agency, meaning the agency kept two-thirds of the profit. Thus, creating a broken trust between the model and agency.

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