A model booker scouts new talent and books jobs for the models she represents. She needs strong people skills to maintain relationships with her models and with photographers, creative directors and other decision-makers in the modeling industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that, overall, talent managers and agents such as model bookers earned a median annual salary of $63,370 as of May 2012.
This role doesn't require a specific degree or background. Milan-based booker Markus Riggi, for example, worked for his family’s construction business before enrolling in a six-month course for aspiring modeling-management professionals. Christian Alexander, president of Front Management in Miami Beach, worked as a fashion illustrator before quitting his job and pursuing a career in talent management. Many bookers start out as junior or assistant bookers, advancing to more senior positions after they gain experience and prove themselves.
A model booker not only assigns models to specific jobs, she often works with them on creating a successful career. She helps them decide if they're more suited to a career on the editorial side, such as modeling for fashion magazines, or on the commercial side, such as campaigns for clothing lines, perfumes and other consumer products. She might also help her model clients cultivate the right personal style and image for the type of career they want. She must also be someone the models can depend on, especially when dealing with underage models. In this case, the agency must ensure their safety, even when they travel overseas for a shoot.
On any given day, a model booker might set up a shoot for one of her clients, negotiate the terms of a model’s contract and scour the Internet in search of new faces to add to her agency’s roster. She must be detail-oriented, skilled in juggling multiple tasks and able to handle the several important decisions she must make throughout the day. She also acts as a go-between, handling interactions between her models and the other clients she represents, such as magazines and corporate marketing directors. It’s her responsibility to ensure her models show up on time and are ready to work; if any of them behave unprofessionally, it reflects badly on her.
A model booker must maintain her cool no matter what, even when dealing with an unhappy client or a difficult model. The job also requires diplomacy and tact, to foster healthy relationships. Model bookers also need extensive industry knowledge and experience, and must stay informed of developments such as which photographers are working with which magazines. They must understand the preferences and working styles of everyone from art directors to photographers if they want to match them with the most suitable models.