Model, Mother Agent & Model Scout; Today we have the pleasure to talk with Matthijs Brooimans from MATT Models: A fairly new boutique agency, based in Amsterdam, specialized in personal management services for models. They provide their models an individual approach and career planning along with strong placements with top agencies worldwide, always keeping focus on the models longevity in their careers.
What’s a typical week like for you?
The word typical is not part of my dictionary ;). Every week and every day brings in new challenges and adventures.
It’s basically a mix of different kind of tasks. For example: Answering emails and phone calls 24/7, having meetings with clients/models/photographers/bookers, scouting new faces, planning model trips, shooting new polaroid’s &videos, book jobs and shows for the models, planning teleconference meetings with agencies from abroad, visit productions to see my models work – meet the people on the set, marketing through social media and websites etc etc.
Besides all that, I have to visit my existing and potential clients & partner agencies / agencies as much as possible because it’s very important to stay in close contact with my network. If and when possible I’d also travel with my models sometimes, for example during Fashion weeks in Milan/Paris/London, or when they have a specific job.
One thing I also enjoy is the “Street Scouting” in Amsterdam and other smaller larger cities in the north and south of The Netherlands. One of the big advantages of living and working in Amsterdam is that many from the directors & scouts from the top agencies worldwide visit Amsterdam on a regular basis to scout new Dutch faces. Besides that, The Netherlands is still positioned in the top 3 of best countries to scout new Top Models…that’s a big advantage of living here.
What is it that you’re looking for when scouting for models?
I think people that are not working in this industry, don’t exactly realize what is involved when you are searching for a new top model. My challenge and focus is to find boys or girls that actually have no idea that they can even work as a model.
If you refer to looks, I search for natural beauty, or a specific/strange or special kind of look. A face that people can identify easily. Important characteristics are facial structure, body proportions, height, hair quality and natural charisma.
After the first meeting that I’m having with the model I determine if they are suitable for this business or not. The results of the polaroid’s that we shoot will also tell a lot about the possible potential.
The age can also be important. Especially with really young boys and girls without any experience (age 14/15) I’m really careful because often they are also still studying and discovering who they are and what they want to achieve in life
Would you say all the models you have scouted have something in common?
Not exactly. I try to find different and unique faces all the time. Clients and casting directors are always looking around for refreshing types and new looks.
How does MATT Models guide, and develop new models?
When I take on a new model they are often quite young …between 15 and17 years old. At first there is the “discovery / development phase” and I must say…I personally love that part. In the beginning, it’s very important to get to know each other, so see how the girl or boy is, what they like, what they do, what they say and especially to find out if they are okay being in front of my camera when we start shooting some polaroid’s! Are they comfortable with it? Do they want to learn? Do they have fun? Some girls or boys, just have it from the start irrespectively of their age. Other models really have to practice for a while, get comfortable with it…from both sides is a fun but delicate process. Some models take longer before they have developed themselves sufficiently while others start working within a few weeks.
When I feel that a model is ready for it, I’ll arrange set up a test shoot with a nice crew a.s.a.p. because ‘on set’ it actually has to happen. From there, you can really see the potential that a model has, or not.
After that, it’s about being patient in order to slowly develop the model in the right way. Most of the time the models are still in school, and we fully support them to finish their school first. In between, they can learn the basics about the modeling industry. They can practice via test shoots, take catwalk classes, start to work-out, learn about a healthy lifestyle and much more. Per model, we try to set up new goals every quarter, so that we are always thinking the same way and our plans are aligned.
The models can always contact me when they have any questions, or things they want to share with me. Besides having close contact with the models, we also believe it is very important for the development of the model to stay in close contact with the parents.
Once you sign a model, how long will you wait for a model to break out?
You have to have patience. At MATT Models we don’t focus on making fast-money. We focus on long term careers, so it’s important we keep our models exclusive, especially in the beginning until they are launched at the major fashion weeks. Because the world’s most well-known casting directors mostly want to see ‘NEW FACES’…it would actually be the best for them, if the model is ‘brand new’, so nobody has seen this face yet.
For example we just got a nice, well paid, campaign request for Jip but on the same day we also got a request from Vogue. We confirmed Jip for Vogue, because it’s a strategically much better job in the long run for the image of the model. If the campaign client comes back next time, we will be able to book Jip for a better rate. Of course it’s our job, to protect the career choices of the model.
What if a girl or boy want’s to apply? What’s the best thing they can do, and is there a minimum age?
The most important thing to understand is that you don’t need any experience to apply. It’s also not necessary to sent us any ‘professional photo’s or expensive professional headshots. All you need to do, is find a good friend, and ask them to snap a few pictures. On our website (see www.mattmodels.nl) you will find some examples.
Then, regarding the age…it really depends on the boy or girl, but 14 to15 years old is our minimum. If the models are under 18, we always tell them to bring their parents. I see some potential models that are very mature and confident and relaxed already at that age. After the intake meeting, we normally start shooting some polaroid’s and a video of the model and from there we slowly move on.
Others are still insecure, quiet…and some actually have no idea what they are getting into. We then advise the model/and parents to get back to us after they have given the “modeling world” some further thought. In any case, models should always feel free to sent us updates and new polaroid’s.
What models should we keep an eye on of MATT Models?
Well, look at Jip and Tyvanni. Both girls developed so well, and these girls are actually what MATT Models stands for. Both are having a great personality, and own style…carrying a big load of potential to work as top models. At the moment they both travel all over Europe, and they will be launched at the Fashion Weeks in February 2017. For them it’s extremely important to get used to the modeling life, to travel a lot and to work with different kind of international clients and production teams.
Tyvanni is currently based in London and next week both Tyvanni and Jip both shoot for POP Magazine with Vivianne Sassen & Stylist Vanessa Reid. Jip recently shot two great editorials for D la Repubblica in Paris with photographer duo Van Mossevelde and she’s shooting her first Vogue story next week to. Both girls always give so much positive energy, and you can see them change from girls to ‘business women’. It’s a super exciting process and I’m very proud of them.
What makes MATT MODELS unique?
Having a Boutique Management is great as you can really build a strong relationship with both models as parents, because our board will always stay small because we are very selective.
There are of course more Boutique agencies around and I don’t want to compare MATT Models too much with other agencies but rather try to focus on our own working way and strategy to get the best results for all the parties involved.
One of our unique strategies is our focus on the development process & character building for each model. I’ll explain you more below
Development process & Character building:
There’s a lot to tell about what skills are needed to become a successful model. At MATT Models, we look deeper into the person itself, the person that’s behind the ‘model’. With every model we sit down we basically ask ourselves the question: What key elements do you as a person need to posses to become a successful model?
A few elements are ‘in my opinion’ extremely important:
First of all there’s ‘Beauty & Appearance’ and of course the ‘Basic body measurements’: You can exercise to lose weight, reduce in size but you can’t train yourself to become taller….
But (some) other crucial aspects are for example: Persistence, versatility, personality and brains. These aspects must not be underestimated.
We see it as our job to do everything possible to reach and develop these characteristics so the models can perform in the best way possible to have a long and profitable career in the end.
We do this by creating and stimulating their self-knowledge, sense of responsibility, and self confidence.
To assure that all of these points are addressed properly, MATT Models cooperates with a top team of professionals such as personal trainers, nutritionists, skin specialists, catwalk coaches and life & acting coaches.
The combination of all this and to see models develop is probably one of the most rewarding aspects of this job…through hard work you can really see your models grow in so many different ways…in the end, it’s all about having a happy, healthy and successful life.
What’s on the planning for MATT Models?
Most important now is to keep moving forward and follow the path we have outlined. It is not our ambition to grow as fast as possible, we prefer steady and strong management. Our day-to-day focus is to make sure that our models keep working and that we bring them, step by step, to a higher level…