FASHION - INTERVIEW
Thursday, November 15, 2018
FASHION - INTERVIEW
by Melisa Kaya
Raquel Repka took the first steps into the fashion world by modeling in the US and Japan. She wanted to share her experiences with the new models and she decided to pursue a career on the backstage. After taking over The Rock Agency in 1994, she has been working to present a new future to every model or talented person entering from the Rock Agency's door. To learn more about the roles of agencies in the world of fashion and their working processes, I asked Raquel Repka.
Raquel, how did you first become interested in the fashion industry? What inspired you?
I worked as a model throughout High School and college. I paid for my college tuition at the University of Wisconsin - Madison by modeling, and working in the agency. I modeled in the Midwest, New York, and Japan.
After your modeling career in the US and Japan, why did you prefer to pursue a career on the other side of the desk?
The opportunities that a modeling career provide are amazing. It is an amazing way to learn about business, people, the world. I wanted to be able to give that opportunity to others.
Could you tell us about your 25-year of career?
I am not sure exactly what you would like to hear about. This has been more than a career. I love this industry so much, it has been an integral part of my life in many ways. I have no children of my own, the models that I work with have definitely filled that space. I now represent children and grandchildren of the models that I started with. The job has allowed me to see the world, and travel is another passion of mine. Every time I discover a new market for my models to work in, I make a trip to explore the city myself, and that has been a great joy to discover the world in this way. I strongly believe that everyone should find something they LOVE and make a career out of it. There is nothing better than just always doing what you love. It makes the long hours painless.
Heller Ashley Tear
Now you are the owner of The Rock Agency and you are shaping dreams. What has been changed in the fashion industry in the last 25 years?
Fashion goes through cycles. Everything all comes back around. What is more intriguing to me are the things that have changed in the business world. Fashion is a business, modeling is a business. The way one markets a product has changed dramatically, technology has made things faster, easier, and more complicated all at the same time, and the selfie - driven generation, the social media driven world has completely tweaked the concepts of business in general. I feel like social media has been a bit too distracting for some. It has made some people forget about the important things, honesty, integrity, and beauty can now too easily be disguised and overlooked....at least momentarily.
Could you tell us about The Rock Agency?
We are a full-service agency booking all media throughout the Midwest and managing the careers of our models and actors, worldwide.
How many models and talents do you working with?
We work with babies to grandparents, actors, voice-over artists, print models, runway models, fit models, stylists, tailors, and make-up artists. With all of these divisions our roster has reached upwards of 300 active people that we represent.
What are the benefits of models and talents to being signed to an agency?
There are so many benefits. Our team has over 100 years of experience in this industry, so to have that much insight to help direct one's career, that alone would be benefit enough. But in general, having an agency brings an entire team to your business. We work with our models and talent as a team to get as much work for as high a pay rate as we can possibly manifest. An agency helps to develop your brand, to create the best marketing materials, to market you to every possible client in every possible market. An agency also deals with the legal and accounting and administrative side of your modeling, or talent business.
Some models have more than one agency deal. Doesn't this cause any confusion?
Talent should ideally have an agency in every single market. And their Mother agency should help them build a network of agencies that cast a net across the world so that they are represented to all clientele. The Rock Agency excels at knowing the agents in all the other markets. Knowing which bookers "play well" together is important because the network we create for our models works together as a cohesive team all with the models' success in mind.
If you are referring to having more than one agency within one single market, then yes, that is possibly the worst thing a talent can do for their career. A good agency works with every single client in a market. So for a talent to have two agencies in one market puts them at risk. You see, for every production/booking clients will reach out to all the agencies to request suggestions about what model/talent to book. So, if you, as a model or talent, are presented to the client by two agencies...the client has two choices. 1.) Ask for a quote...so whichever agency quotes a lower rate for you....that is the agency you end up booking the job through. 2.) Just stay away from booking you at all...clients want to keep good relationships with the bookers at the agencies. So if they choose to book a model who is multi-listed..they are upsetting one of the bookers...so the best clients will literally just steer completely clear of the talent who was presented by two or more agents because they do not want to deal with the fallout.
Heller Ashley Tear
What are the key features that make a model be preferred by brands?
Every brand is different, so all sorts of looks can work. I will say, a great upbeat, positive personality and work ethic....that is what creates a model that brands want to book and rebook.
What do you think about the importance of social media for models and talents? How can they use it and get benefit from social media to create a successful career?
It is vital now, clients will research the models and talent that they are booking. The social media needs to be there, be big, and fit the brand, or the model/talent will not be booked.
What kind of services do you offer to your commercial clients?
We are full service.
What do you do when you have a client who wants to work with a model not contracted with your agency?
This doesn't really happen. Clients come to us to book our models.
Who chooses the model for an advertisement or catalog shoots? Is it the brand, or the advertising agency?
Tear Olson Trevor
Many companies want to work with a professional model in their catalog photo shoots. However, for companies that do not know the sector well, this situation always seems financially frightening. Could you inform us about pricing policies?
Regarding rates...it is hard to really give you an average. The way that rates are determined is sort of complicated. Rates vary depending on usage, exposure, visibility, length of use, type of media used, the experience of the model, the recognizability of the model, time on set, type of clothing the model wears...there are just so many factors. So, for example, if a picture will be used for a shorter period of time, we would ask for a lower rate than if it were used for a longer period of time. And for example, if a shot will only be used in on media or one market then the rate would be lower. So, a nationwide billboard is more expensive than a local in-store POP.
What should your clients decide before contacting you? What is your first question in your first meeting with a new client?
Clients come to us with the advertising in mind. Usage and style are the first questions.
How can our readers follow The Rock Agency?
Social media is the best option. Instagram (@therockagency) and Facebook (@therockagency).
Thank you Raquel for this enjoyable interview.