Interview with the CEO & Founder of MagModel agency. Olga Ly talks about her career, fashion challenges today, what it takes to be a successful model and much more.
1. How did you start your business?
Being in a modeling industry for many years I’ve learned how important it is the role of a pr in this business. It’s never enough just to look good, it’s very important to create a personality , ideally to be different to everyone else which is the hardest bit in modeling as competition is huge.
There is always someone better looking, better connected, better accepted , thats why its very im-portant to build and keep the confidence and self love which will be your key for the ability to stay in the industry.
I love fashion and always wanted to keep myself within it. When I moved to LA I met so many people , who were looking for a good PR and this is how an idea opening MagModel PR was born.
2. What makes MagModel PR special compared to other agencies?
Mag Model PR is a production agency that helps to build and develop the careers of models, actors, artists and companies. The advantages of the company are the knowledge of the specific conditions of the market and the individual approach to each client. In a short period of time it has resulted in the industry’s highest standard of excellence. By managing careers over publishing services , MMPA has shown nonstop growth.
3. What do you see as the biggest issues that models face today ?
I believe there are several issues that models have to face today.
One of them is the pressure of social media that we haven’t experienced before. Back then being a model was your job and as any other persons you would have your time off once the day is over. This doesn’t really apply anymore as your im-age and your followers are sometimes more important than your book. So not only models have to be constantly creating content, they are also exposed to the vio-lence of social media with the haters, mean comments and judgment.
Second of them would be sexual harassement of course. We saw the #MeToo movement and all the voices it raised. Who would have thought big photographers were responsible for such actions. The issue in the current industry is that you start very early, you travel on your own and when your agency asks you to go to a casting or a go-see, you go by yourself and it’s very easy for a professional to abuse the innocence of a young model.
Third issue in my opinion would be the vulnerability of the models. Again, most of them start their careers very young and not all of them have a great support sys-tem. Without it they can be very vulnerable as this industry is tough. You have to work incredibly hard, you’re often alone, you’re judge all the time….without a sup-port system it’s so easy to feel depressed, to start mistreating your body and not keep a healthy lifestyle.
4. How can agencies and brands help combat these problems ?
I believe some brands started to combat these issues with massive initiative such as WeCareForModels or the Charter on Working Relations With Fashion Models and Their Well-Being. These initiatives are a team work between luxury groups, magazines and models agencies.
Then I believe it is the role of the agencies to warn their models and help them rec-ognize signs that could lead them in the bad direction. Brands and magazines are on a path of understanding regarding models well being and really tend to cut off work relationship with people having disrespectful behaviours. It is still a long way to go but everybody is getting there.
5. What are you specifically doing to help ?
Because I’ve been a model and started my career quite young, I know what it’s like to be in a new city every week, alone and have to grow up faster than any other teenagers. Every model joining MagModel receive a lot of advices and not only about how to grow her career. I really focus on the work ethic as I believe you can-not do anything without it but I also spend a lot of time explaining the importance of self care and self love. You have to love yourself if you want to be loved. You have to feel good if you want to convince a brand you’re a good fit for their upcoming campaigns. And when you feel something is not right or feel uncomfortable, you have to raise your voice because you have a voice.
I try to share these messages everywhere, not only with my clients or models but also with women I get to meet, friends and family.
6. As a successful business woman what would you advise to young women starting their career?
My very first advice would be to never give up. Lots of people will try to put you down and you cannot let their negative energy impact yourself. My second advice would be to work hard. Life is not easy and so is the path to success. Being suc-cessful always means you have to work hard and have a strong work ethic. With-out this work ethic and a good motivation you cannot go far. Last but not least, I would suggest to treat others as you would like them to treat you, being supportive towards other can go a long way.
7. Where do you see your agencies in 5 years ?
It’s hard to tell as you never know how the business will evolve but I wish for Mag-Models to have several offices in the world in addition to our offices in L.A and in Monaco. I wish for our models and clients to find their place in the fashion world and for all of us to create tight relationships with key players of this industry. Mod-els, designers, brands, magazines, I wish MagModel will give them the best out-come they deserve.