Enjoy the following interview by Amna ( SOMW) with the managing director of Brand model management “Toni Korpineva”
SOMW : To start let’s talk about Brand ! How did you get the initial idea to create your agency ? What inspired or encouraged you ?
Toni: It's the most often asked question! My personal background is in timeshare industry, and I never thought I'd like to go for modeling or even fashion industry. I've always been orientated way that it seemed possible, though, but it was more coincidence. I met couple of guys about seven years ago, and they had kind of dream and plan found an agency "because the market had been so long time stuck". That was actually fact, so even that first touch never grew up to be serious business, I kept following the business here and abroad, and 2004 made a question to some people - and myself - why couldn't it work? So we created own concept, and opened 2005 February.
What inspires me, and our small crew, is finding the best way to make young people successful. This is just one way among sports or music to make it happen, but even more hectic schedule. But when it happens, you can really feel happy for these young people.
SOMW: can you clarify what the role of a manager in a modeling agency consists of? What are your everyday duties?
Toni: Of course everyday duty is to keep basic business and agency running as any other office. But behind that is the common atmosphere, and the motivational level you first have to create. As a model manager you have to be also trainer, like every sports team require. There's no Manchester United or Real Madrid without that: One of the first things managers should remember is that girls are not working for you, but you work for every each of them. Like elected politician, you have chance to do big things, but people are watching you. You always hold responsibility. When manager is trusted and appreciated, models believe in you, follow your instructions, and play as a team. That's why I also think, they deserve to know much more they usually do: to understand the logistics, get into the idea and also be able to grow big names inside the business. Career is a journey, and managers draw the map for their models.
SOMW: What advice and tips would you give To any young girl who want to model? Should they be aware?
Toni : If you want to be a singer, you have to be able to sing well. If you want to be high jumper, you have to jump high. If you want to be a surgeon, you have to study hard and not make mistakes. Like every professions, a girl might have pleasing appearance, but it's just the start. The rest doesn't have any difference to any career building: nothing beats smart plans and hard work. There's loads of gifted ones lost, and loads of b-class trying day after day: what this business needs, is more honesty and straight talking. It's not cool to tell nice things to young girls or guys, but rather say it straight! We found out, that when I started to tell exactly what I thought and what are requirements, and what is needed to get to this business and our agency, some girls really surprised me with their actions. Still, I can't even fully understand, is this so great thing that you train over a year with more motivation than most athletes? But it seems to be happening, when we are open and honest.
Models should always realize, that only the good agencies hold the good clients, and that modeling is not to get in an agency, but really work, and also work the way that it brings more jobs.
SOMW : Some models have been victims of sexual harassment, do you think that there is a lack of protection from the agencies or could there be other reasons? What is the best way to avoid such incidents ?
Toni: This hardly never happens, IF model has right reasons to be where she is, and she's guided well and she knows why she's working. Young girls getting new big cities without a clue what happens, can be totally lost. And the first nice person can often be the wrong person. But mostly in this issue I point out we talk about responsibility of a MOTHER AGENCY! Most of the troubles start from there; from greedy people who just scout loads of girls and "bet" with girls, if they succeed, sending them all over the world. Modeling isn't about luck, neither is sports. From strategy to hard work - and together with the model, as an individual. Agencies in Paris, Milan or other main markets can't follow every girl and it wouldn't be normal anyway: as a mother agent I feel I need to make sure girls travel when they actually are ready to take responsibility of themselves and their actions, and also go to work. Not to have fun.
SOMW : What’s the coolest part to work in the fashion industry? Any Specific good memories from a fashion show or event that you can share with us?
Toni : The best of the fashion industry are definitely the most characteristic people and personalities you learn to know! My strength is probably the cartoon-kind-of-sense-of-humor, that helps keep sane in this business. But thinking it the right way, it makes every trip and occasion surprising and memorable - and of course we are middle of creative people! Especially in high level of fashion and modeling, it's fascinating to see that models really play the key part when artists work. There wouldn't Lagerfeld, Meisel or their creations the way we know them without right models. After all, it's all about cooperation; a work between people, to people.
There's a lot of memories, but the funniest part can hurt some people's feelings if telling the stories, so I rather not. But naturally, for me and our agency, the most remarkable moment was during shows when our Kirsi opened and closed Christopher Kane and we knew "It will happen now!". Also, when Vogue Italia cover came out - that was something. And as funny as it seems to sound, we are the first agency catching Meisel's cover although there's been agencies in Finland since 1982.
SOMW : Can you tell us a secret? (laughing)
Toni: I'll lose my touch the moment I have one.
SOMW: What are your future Projects?
Toni: Bringing up the first true Finnish fashion photographer, who can make a career internationally.
SOMW : What do you think about SOMW ?
Toni : All good information channels that includes professional information with good quality, are welcome. Professionally produced media keeps us focused on right things, and in this business, help avoid the risks and dangers there might be.
SOMW : Thank you Toni for this interesting interview, I bet that many of our readers are very grateful for those informations and all the best to Brand models !