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How to Start an Urban Modeling Agency

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Urban models advertise products geared toward urban audiences and are of diverse ethnic backgrounds. If you've ever watched a hip-hop video or thumbed through an urban magazine, you may have noticed that urban models are of various body types also. This is because urban modeling standards are generally more flexible than those in traditional modeling. There are no height or weight requirements. In fact, many female urban models tend to be more curvy, with hourglass figures. Urban agencies are unique in this way, giving models who may have been previously rejected by mainstream agencies a chance at a modeling career.

Choose a name for your agency, and register it on the National Business Register after making sure it is not already being used. Unless your agency's name contains your last name, file it as a fictitious business name, also called a DBA (doing business as).

Register your agency as a sole proprietorship, a partnership, an LLC or a corporation, depending on which best suits your situation.

Hire a lawyer to help you draw up the two contracts your agency will need: a contract outlining the agreement between you and each model and another that will be between you and your clients, for each job you book.

Have a logo, business cards and a website designed.

Hold an open casting call to find models for your agency, which any interested party may attend. Promote your open call via fliers, word of mouth and the Internet.

Ensure that your models each have a professional portfolio and comp (composite) cards to take to client casting calls.

Begin booking jobs for your models. When a client calls you, she will give you the details of the job and specific information about the model she is seeking. This will help you determine which models to send to the client's casting call.

Tip

A portfolio is a book of at least 12 of the model's best photographs, showcasing his look, photographic ability and versatility. A comp card is a two-sided card, usually 8 1/2 by 5 1/2 inches, displaying the model's head shot, name and agency contact information on the front, and three or four photos and the model's stats on the back. If models cannot supply their own portfolios and comp cards, you may choose to supply them. Many photographers will trade free photo shoots in exchange for the opportunity to work with a model possessing a certain look they are seeking.

To find clientele, attend industry events, such as fashion shows and magazine issue release parties, is a great way to meet potential clients and spread the word about your agency. Look up the contact information for production companies, magazines, clothing lines and other companies that regularly hire models.

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About the Author

Chana Twiggs has been writing since 2001. Her credits include The Philadelphia Sunday SUN, "Philadelphia City Paper," "Philly Word," "The Link" and "The Philadelphia Advertising and Business Weekly." Twiggs has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Temple University.

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