"I Export Beauty & Dreams!"
How did you find your way to working with Metro Models?
It was coincidence of circumstances. First I started working for Metro Models in Zurich doing different things. Later when I came back to Tallinn to graduate from university, the owner asked me if was interested of continuing working from Tallinn for them. A year later the owner and I talked about opening a scouting office of Metro Models here as it's really good place for finding potential models. So in March, we opened a scouting office in Tallinn and I am the head of that office.
Do a lot of Estonian models go abroad and work?
Yes, because there is not a lot of work and the fees are not that big. Much work is done for free or you get some beauty gifts and gift cards, but for new face models it's still a good opportunity to develop their book and catwalk experience. It's also good to get noticed in this market too.
What has been a challenge so far?
It's not so easy to find perfect top model material models. We also have quite many model agencies in a very small country, so there is a big competition for the models.
How do you differentiate yourself from other agencies?
One of the big plusses about us is that the head office is in Switzerland, so we are getting very well paid modeling jobs from there too. We are working quite hard to get more direct booking jobs in, but not only, from Switzerland. I don't know all the other agency rules, but in our agency models don't need to pay for their test shootings and professional snaps & videos. It's our investment to the models we believe in.
Is the social media important to a model agency?
Yes, Facebook is very useful. You can look through so many people in very little time. It’s not the same when you scout in the street. In the street you never know if you are gonna be lucky or not. In Facebook you can also get an idea if the person is photogenic, but to be honest most of the models who I have met are in real life much better looking and make great fashion pictures compared to the ones they have in their Facebook page.
What do you look for when you scout? What are the requirements for your models?
Her face needs to be somehow special and unique. She also needs a body of a model - skinny and tall. Minimum of 170 centimeters, but hopefully taller. It all depends on the face. If the face is sweet looking like a doll face, then 170cm can be enough. Editorial models need to be taller. There is not a formula because you never know who works well and what the industry wants. All the agencies and bookers have their own taste and the market is always in changing.
What’s a good personality for a model?
First of all, you have to like modeling. You have to be motivated and give your best in every job. And then there is the indefinable factor that some people just have, an aura or charisma. That’s the IT-factor.
What advice would you give a model that going to a casting?
Do a background check of the client. Show them that you know something about their brand.
What’s your goal for the agency?
I want to find strong models and take them to the top. I want to make Metro agency well-known in a good way in Estonia and worldwide too.
What do you like about the job at the agency?
I like to work with people. I like the contact with the models and also the contact with agency bookers and scouts. I really want to give my best when developing a model’s career who I believe in. I have a background as a jewelry designer but the agency seems to be more my passion. Of course I like jewelry design, but somehow the agency work seems to come more easily. I like to believe that I can make another person's life better.
What motivates you?
A little over a year ago I graduated as jewelry designer but didn't feel that it's the thing that I want to do every day. Then came the opportunity to work in the modelling agency full time. Every morning when I get up I feel it’s the right thing for me. That I can do so much, make it stronger, find good models and somehow give a better life to them.
How can you make her life better?
If the girl already has the perfect body and face for modeling, then it's the best way for her to travel for free and meet new people and earn a living through it as it can be very well paid. There are so many girls who would like to be a model but don’t have the face or body. But some girls are already born this way so why not use it in the best way.
Is it a dream you share with the other girls?
In a sense yes - it was my dream, but despite that I have had nice modeling experiences in Estonia and Finland. Maybe that is one of the reason why I would like to help my models to achieve that dream.
How close is the stereotypical view of a model’s life to the real deal?
In some way it is very hard job. You work all the time in different cities, so you are not able to see your parents and friends for many months. It's not so easy to have a relationship too if your girlfriend or boyfriends can't travel with you. The competition is also hard. You go to many castings per day where are many other models who all want to get the same job. When you start with modeling, you live together with other models and it can be hard for your self-esteem if you start comparing yourself to others, how they look and how much work they are getting.
On a slightly different note, how would you define nostalgia?
Nostalgia is some kind of missing. It's when you have had a beautiful experience that is gone or lost and it makes you feel sad as you are not in the moment anymore. That way it feels like a sad word but there is something beautiful about it, because you can be thankful of the beautiful experience that you have had. For me nostalgia is being thankful of the moment that you have had in your life.
Are you nostalgic about your modeling career?
In some way yes, but in another way this is my dream now. It is much greater to help others if they really want it. I like that I can be in the process and see their development. For me it is very important to have a close relationship with my models so they feel happy in the agency and are not afraid of asking questions and advice. I want them to feel that I really do my best for them. I don’t do it because of the money. The money comes when you do what you love. When it comes from the heart.
Name: Aija Kivi
Occupation(s): Director of Metro Models