The Model Agency
About the Show
This series goes inside the offices of Premier Model Management to reveal the realities of life in the world's most glamorous industry
Series 1 Summary
Founded by Carole White and her brother Chris Owen, the world-famous Premier Model Management are leaders in their field. They have nurtured some of the world's greatest models including Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Claudia Schiffer and Linda Evangelista.
This series offers unprecedented access to the world of modelling. Using a multi-camera documentary rig in a commercial environment for the first time, this series reveals the reality of daily life in the world's most glamorous industry.
Premier are beginning one of their busiest periods: the September Show Season, kicked off, as every season, with New York Fashion Week.
Business for the bookers table means organising their models for shoots, catwalk shows and castings, as well as the day-to-day running of the agency and liaising with 'walk-ins', models' parents, scouts, foreign agents, designers and photographers.
In individual interviews, away from the office, Carole and her bookers talk of their nerves around fashion Weeks, the need to find 'that girl', and the immense pressure to secure shows each season with their models.
The shows in New York, London, Paris and Milan are where the best emerging models - or 'new faces' - are launched, and they are vital to the agency.
Rumours are rippling through the office that one of their young models is showing signs she is overwhelmed in New York ahead of the shows and beginning to question if modelling is right for her. She is one of Premier's most anticipated girls and set to launch a huge career. Head of New Faces Annie is anxious to protect her fledgling and wants to ensure she avoids making a snap decision. This could not only jeopardise her future as a model, but also the years of hard work and preparation invested in her by Premier.
Struggling to understand this unexpected turn of events, the agency works through with its usual jokey squabbles, jibes about cheap tattoos, and all-important group fag breaks, as mother-hen Carole sends Annie on her way to New York to resolve their potential crisis.
Carole and Head of New Faces Annie are in New York meeting agencies to find out who the new, hottest models are. There, they will negotiate and 'trade' some of their own models to have the best girls from New York on Premier's books, and have them flown in for London Fashion Week.
Leomie, one of Premier's rising stars, is also followed over in New York as she goes from casting to catwalk, landing some of the biggest shows for NY Fashion Week, and beginning to realise her incredible potential.
Back at Premier, relations are strained between commercial booker John, the editorial bookers, and his boss. Issues are arising around whether the editorial, more high-end and prestige bookings take precedence over the less edgy but much more lucrative side of the agency.
Madness has set in during London Fashion Week, as the agency face long hours and the bookers become increasingly tired and sensitive.
Tensions are rising between the editorial bookers, who have Fashion Week to contend with, and commercial booker John, who doesn't work on the shows. Sleep deprivation is clearly taking its toll as they resort to comparing their own head measurements to get through a long evening.
The gruelling schedule of castings, fittings and shows is affecting the models too. Top Australian model and showgirl Julia Nobis arrives at the office for the London shows, already exhausted from New York Fashion Week. Julia has had no sleep and it's the agency's job to encourage her to rest and eat, as she works through an incredibly successful week, getting booked on more and more shows.
Meanwhile, things are kicking off amongst the agency staff, as commercial booker John walks out of the office in frustration. The atmosphere continues to heat up as the agency bosses, brother and sister Chris and Carole, get into discussions on how to deal with his absence.
John's friend and fellow booker, Sophie, tries to smooth the situation between John and Carole but before long, exhausted from a week of long and stressful days, Chris and Carole get into an explosive row about how they should deal with John.
With the agency at the height of Show Season - frenzied with models, bookings and late nights - show-downs in the office are proving the ultimate test for Premier.
After the showdown between Carole and Chris over booker John's walkout, John returns to the office to talk it out with his bosses, but not without more upset, misunderstanding and a well needed tête-à-tête down the local.
Meanwhile, it's Men's Day in London Fashion Week and the pressure shifts over to the Men's Division - Christophe and Sadaf. Boys, as they explain, are often less confident than the girls, and as well as handling them through hangovers and relationship breakdowns, Christophe and Sadaf spend their days chivvying and encouraging their handsome, but typically teenage, male models out to castings and shows.
One model in particular causes a crisis for Sadaf when he fails to arrive until 10 minutes before catwalk time, leaving her panicked and red-faced on the phone to the organisers. Sadaf takes him to task for his lack of commitment and they have a frank discussion about whether he wants to continue this career when he reveals he struggles to deal with the rejection he faces every day as a model.
Carole and the main table carry on with business as usual, from John settling back in and preparing for a big client's celebrity charity ball, to Paul wearing a net Dior suit bag on his head while on the phones, and the bookers jibe Carole that she doesn't like giving praise. As Carole herself admits: 'I always want more'.
Premier is filled with showgirls from all over the world flown in especially for London Fashion Week.
The pressure mounts and tempers fray as the bookers work day and night to get the girls in from New York, and out to up to 20 castings a day, spread out all over London, before finding out who's booked whom for which shows. Getting their girls on the top shows is vital for the agency's prestige and the onus is on the bookers to beat their rivals.
Managing the girls' often volatile tempers is a vital part of show booking. The bookers are tested when the behaviour of a 17-year-old Ukrainian girl leads to an explosive face-off with senior booker Aidan; and the bookers go into high alert when Japanese model Coco, who can't speak English, gets lost alone in the middle of the night.
Meanwhile, bright new hope Leomie is exhausted and tearful when she learns that she has to miss her first two weeks of college in order to continue her catwalk career.
Back in the agency, the bookers bond over the madness of long days and nights, and Aidan and Sissy discuss their romance.
As Fashion Week comes to an end, Leomie is poised to break through, coming one step closer to the big money that comes from booking a major campaign after the whirlwind of Show Season is over.
The agency changes gear after the chaos of London Fashion Week. Now they're preparing to hype their new girl Leomie through the final chapter of Paris and then on to booking her first major magazine shoots, which could lead to big money in future high-profile campaigns.
As Head of New Faces Annie, Director of Scouting Anthony and Senior Booker Aidan get behind their girl, an unexpected drama unfolds when world famous photographer Mario Testino asks to meet Premier's other 'new face', India, for a possible campaign for Burberry.
There's only one problem: India decided to turn her back on modelling when she was in New York at the beginning of the Show Season. Desperate for India not to miss out on this dream opportunity, Annie tries to persuade her to go for the Burberry job.
Meanwhile, Leomie begins to realise the success that Premier had predicted for her, taking it all in her stride but excited about what her future holds. She becomes the toast of Paris, opening one of the top shows and booking her first major fashion shoot for Italian Vogue, setting her on a path to potentially life-changing riches.
In the final episode of the series, tough decisions are being made as the agency decides to drop some of the models currently on its books, new girls Abbie and India-Madeleine face some home truths, and boss Carole talks candidly about the Hague trial and her relationship with supermodel Naomi Campbell.
In summer 2010 Carole was called as a witness in the trial of the former president of Liberia, Charles Taylor. Footage of her seven-hour cross-interrogation is intercut with Carole's reflections on the experience and interviews with the Premier bookers who were drawn into the case after Annie posted photos of a 'Blood Diamonds party' held at the agency on Facebook.
Chris, Carole and Sissy talk about the impact that Naomi Campbell had on their business and personal lives: a relationship that has ended in a commercial dispute. Carole visits her lawyer in preparation for the court case.
New face Abbie is struggling to find work and visits Annie to discuss her options. The ambition is for her to become a show girl, but at 5'9" she's still considered too short for the catwalk and has difficulty walking in high heels.
Meanwhile walk-in India-Madeleine makes a strong impression. New girls have to be snapped up quickly before other model scouts move in. But being signed is just the first step; both Abbie and India-Madeleine will need to work hard, deal with criticism about their appearance, and invest time and money if they want to make it in the business.
As new models are brought in to the agency, Carole decides to call time on some of the models who've been less successful. It's a harsh process and for many of the girls this will be the end of their career with Premier.
Tensions rise as the bookers defend their girls; Sissy attacks Carole for her ruthless attitude, while Carole is quick to remind them that this is a business and she's not prepared to keep girls on the books who aren't delivering.
The Model Agency synopsis
This series goes inside the offices of Premier Model Management to reveal the realities of life in the world's most glamorous industryEpisode Guide >