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     The fashion world is notorious for its fickle relationships, one month's flavour is another's sell by date. Yet Models 1, Europe's oldest modelling agency, has reigned supreme since it first opened its doors back in 1968. 
Hannah Jowitt, Head of the Women's Division, and Joe Tootal, Head of the Men's, have clocked an impressive 42 years at the agency between them, both beginning as models there until graduating to the well-respected bookers they are today. Having worked both in front of the camera and behind the scenes, a path followed by many of their colleagues at the agency, Hannah and Joe know a thing or two about not only how to succeed within the fashion industry, but also how to maintain success too. Having just signed fashion icon, Naomi Campbell, who joins fellow supers Twiggy, Linda Evangelista, Cameron Russell and Lennon Gallagher, they show no sign of slowing down. 

  JOE  TOOTAL    &    HANNAH  JOWITT

     What does a day in the life of a Models 1 booker look like? 

     Hannah: Chaos. Completely unpredictable. You can have all the best plans organised, but then someone could miss a flight and it all goes wrong. A girl could come in and chat for an hour and by then your emails have gone mad. All walk in's (when a potential model comes in to see if they can be represented) always see an agent which obviously takes up your time too. 

     Joe: You always have a plan the night before but then the morning of it's completely different. 

     What is the best and worst part of being a booker? 

     Hannah: Everybody loves a rags-to-riches story. Making that phone call to a model, whether it's for a really good editorial or commercial job, is simply the best feeling, in fact we even put them on speakerphone sometimes! 

     Joe: For me it's when you clinch an amazing job for someone who's trying to save for a house for example or is completely new to the industry. I think it comes back to the fact that we always want the best for our models. It's a financial path for some and an opening of doors for others as they meet so many different people in different careers. It's a really eye-opening job being a model. We used to speak directly to the person that was paying the model. I think it's a shame when the Casting Director has such a strong vision of what they want that, despite you knowing that you have the perfect model for that job, you realize that they won't even make the Casting Director's shortlist. 

     Joe: We have a lot less influence now as well, because of the role of the Casting Director. Jobs used to be born through relationships with the photographer, stylist and the agent. 

     What did you expect the job to be like before you started booking and what was the biggest surprise? 

     Hannah: I think I expected it to be fairly similar to the reality, but I didn't realize how time pressured and stressful it can become as everything is very last minute, we don't really plan anything further than a week ahead. That has intensified for sure within the last five years because once someone's sent an email, they think they're at the top of the pile, but what they don't realize is that they've emailed you along with 50 other people. There simply aren't enough hours in the day to respond to each email with a phone call like there used to be. I really feel the pressure when you're just sat there and can see new emails popping up all the time in the corner of your screen. I didn't realize how stressful the job was, but day to day it is what I expected. 

     Joe: There's always something to do. We finish at 6pm, not always, though we always encourage our staff to go home, but obviously sometimes you have to take work home. I think for me the biggest surprise now I'm Head of the Men's Division is that the role is about so much more than just booking your models on jobs and building client relationships, it's also about supporting your team and leading by example. 

     How has the role of the booker changed from when you started? 

     Hannah: It's become less creative and this is something I try to fight every day. For example, I was doing a portfolio the other day, which was a shock in itself because often everything's on iPads now. I printed all the images out, laid it on the table, really took my time on the order of images, what should be in and out. It was just so nice to go back to the old school method of a visual exercise, rather than just dragging and dropping images onto a computer that are so small. When you do it online you think you've got the flow of the book right, but when you're rapidly swiping through, you lose that sense of story. There's a reason why magazine editors put certain images in a certain order and it's such a shame if we lose that. It really made me think that we really need to tell our models and bookers to buy the magazines and look at fashion stories from start to finish, to see how it's structured, which shot has gone where. That's the only way you can get a true feel for the story. It's not just, those are nice clothes there or that's a nice location, you get the whole story. The role is a lot less creative and also, we have a lot less contact with the photographers now too. 

We used to speak directly to the person that was paying the model. I think it's a shame when the Casting Director has such a strong vision of what they want that, despite you knowing that you have the perfect model for that job, you realize that they won't even make the Casting Director's shortlist. 
     Joe: We have a lot less influence now as well, because of the role of the Casting Director. Jobs used to be born through relationships with the photographer, stylist and the agent.

 What do you think makes a successful model? 


      Personality

    What is the best and worst part of being a booker?


     Hannah: Everybody loves a rags-to-riches story. Making that phone call to a model, whether it's for a really good editorial or commercial job, is simply the best feeling, in fact we even put them on speakerphone sometimes! 
     Joe: For me it's when you clinch an amazing job for someone who's trying to save for a house for example or is completely new to the industry. I think it comes back to the fact that we always want the best for our models. It's a financial path for some and an opening of doors for others as they meet so many different people in different careers. It's a really eye-opening job being a model.

     I feel as though the role of a Casting Director must have come out of necessity or did it always exist?


Joe: The role of the Casting Director has always existed, but I think it's become more prominent because the market is so much more saturated. There are 33 agencies now in London so obviously clients can't possibly have relationships with all of them. 
Hannah: Clients don't have the time to filter through everyone and that's the Casting Director's responsibility now. 

 

     Models 1 is the longest running agency in Europe. How have you managed to maintain that longevity, prestige and reputation in the agency?


Joe: The way it runs has been handed down through generations. We have a very respectful approach towards every part of the industry and that rubs off on our new bookers too. 
Hannah: We've worked very hard on our brand image as well, John Homer (Managing Director) certainly does. We're very conscious of working on both the internal and external image of the agency aside from just the models. We have a good reputation for being good people to models, to clients, to staff, it's so important that's maintained, at home and internationally as well. 

 

     How do you maintain strong relationships with the international agencies?


     Hannah: We travel to see them quite often and vice versa. These relationships are so important because you want all of these agencies to have the same idea about what you want this girl to be doing and where she's going within her career. It's in everyone's best interest. 
Joe: You always have to trust that these agencies are making the right decision for the model, not just for the money. 


     Hannah, you signed with the agency at 16 and moved to London straight away. Then later on in your twenties, you became a booker. How smooth was this transition from model to booker?

 
     Hannah: I knew being 5 ft 7 and not leaving London very much for work meant that I needed to think about my career after modelling. It was Karen who helped guide me into working at the office, so I got my first job there whilst Donna Green (Senior Men's Division Bookings Agent) was on maternity leave. At the time the job transition felt very accidental but looking back I think it had always been in the back of my mind! 

 

     Joe, what was the biggest difference between working on the Women's and Men's board? 


     Joe: I think initially it was the attitude guys had towards modelling. This job is famously more of a female focussed industry and now guys have been chucked into the mix too, but they don't really know how to deal with it. Guys have a very different attitude towards modelling, young guys even more so. I've been quite surprised by how many of them don't answer their phone, or get into a fight and turn up to a job with a black eye, or shave their heads without telling us. You have to pick your battles when it comes to addressing problems like that. There's so much effort and emotion that we as team put into every element of this job, so it gets to a point where there's nothing we can do. 

 

   

 

 


     If you could change one thing about the industry what would it be? 


     Joe: For me, I'd love to banish all the egos and anger that comes with the job. We get quite deep into things at our job here because we're so passionate about it, but we also need to check in and realize what we're doing. It's an industry that should be happy, it should be creative, and it should be positive, and I think people lose sight of that sometimes. There's just no point. 
     Hannah: Egos just get in the way of things happening. We've got a fun job and we're so lucky to do what we do, so sometimes people need to take a reality check. 
What do you think makes a successful model? PERSONALITY. 

 

     The gender pay gap is quite rightly being highly publicised at the moment, however fashion is the only industry in the world where women are paid significantly more than men. Do you think this is changing or ever will change? 


     Joe: This is a very controversial question. I think certainly as an agency, we're always fighting to get the best rates for our guys, but we also understand why women are paid more. It's purely down to the fact that women sell more products. 
     Hannah: I think it will change, but also, if you take the male/female element out of it and you look at the models for a second as a product, market forecasts dictate that women book more jobs than men, meaning they're more in demand and probably shift more volume in monetary value for the client, so therefore, there is a higher budget. I still think that, because of the gender pay gap argument, it will equalize, but I always think, can't we just have that one industry where us women do better? Can't we tackle all the other industries where women are paid far less than men first, before we solve the fashion industry? Brands like Topshop/Topman and ASOS, have to pay the same amount to men and women because they're equally weighted. 

 

     How responsible do you feel as bookers to help with a model's career after modelling? 


     Joe: It comes back down to the individual again because some models in their 30s genuinely haven't even considered life after modelling. It's a very difficult job to let go of because you could be quiet for a while but then suddenly get paid £10k for one job and then you think you're back in the game. 
     Hannah: I think we take it quite seriously in attempting to prepare a model with the knowledge that it doesn't last forever. I think a problem for us all is that time passes very fast. So ultimately, I would always encourage a girl to have an idea of what they want to do after modelling by 25/26, just prepare for it even if you don't need it. 
 

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