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IN CONVERSATION WITH ALISON WOODHAM

— JASMEEN DUGAL

"The Model Book" — a democratised, e-booking platform that connects new faces and professional models with agencies and clients — is poised to transform the business of modeling. Created to provide a fast, secure and efficient service, it's the only platform in Asia that empowers models to be in control of their career. Registered models can interact with clients on the curated database, get audition alerts and opportunities to boost their earning while clients can search through the comprehensive listing of models, view their profile and previous work to see if it is a fit. In conversation with the game-changer, founder Alison Woodham.

 

''After twenty-five years in the industry, on both sides of the fence i.e. a model and a client, I perceived the inefficiencies of the modeling business; that's how the idea of "The Model Book" took shape. I put the grievances of both sides on paper and then developed a platform through which models can manage their career efficiently. It works for everyone in the business — agencies can be part of a handpicked database, clients can find all models in one consolidated platform and aspiring models have the opportunity to be scouted!

 

Honestly, though, it's going to be a long, hard road. Reminiscing about the days when talent agencies first came to India and I ran the first one, Elite Model Management, in Mumbai, it took years for clients to accept it and break off from model coordinators! Of course, it was more effective to work with agencies because they did find all the models in one place except, of course, overseas models! That is the tremendous advantage of working with agencies! Now, back then, it took years to accept a new concept, and today it will be the same case with a digital platform — it will take time to get used to this new concept "The Model Book" but it's the wave of the future!! The process of scouting for and booking models would be streamlined with this consolidated online platform, for industry professionals.

 

That said, "The Model Book" would benefit both aspiring and professional fashion models. They would get visibility, make connections, interact with clients, and receive alerts about auditions and jobs. There is an excellent backend team in place to screen applicants and take care of human error factors like models not showing up on time, guidance for new talent, and at a later stage, master classes on the business of modelling and image consultancy, and affiliations to model schools. Of course, I will mentor new models personally if I feel they have potential but lack the knowledge of how to go about it. Most new talent would need guidance on the text and photographs for their profile. We ask for Polaroids— just basics. Because polaroids show a client how a model looks in real life and then it is a canvas for them to work on according to the brands' requirement. There are no surprises if they directly book a model without casting! Later, when models manage their own profiles, they can upload portfolio pictures approved by us.

 

People may wonder that since "The Model Book" is an online platform, how would models know if a client is genuine. Well, that's where we come in; we verify clients; initially we will work only with clients we know, for safety reasons; later, it's up to the models to judge how genuine a client is before signing up for a job, although we're right here to assist if required. We want to give models freedom to manage their career. We also don't charge a high commissions like the talent agencies do so we encourage models to make their own decisions and keep our work load to a minimum.

 

I'm proud to reveal that "The Model Book" is the only platform of its kind in Asia. The UK has just launched u-booker and Europe has model-management, which are similar platforms. India has online agencies but nothing like our platform, which allows models to manage their career and have direct access to clients. That said, we are sorting teething problems — we get applications every day but we're cautious because we need to create a niche; after all, clients need to trust us to provide quality models. The next step would be to sign up clients and start posting jobs. It is Catch 22 — we'll get models to register if we have jobs for them and we'll get clients to register if we have an extensive database of models… but Rome was not built in a day!''
 

THE MODEL BOOK
Alison Woodham, Founder, The Model Book
 
20-MAY-2019
 
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