By Elizabeth Smith
Have you ever looked at a photo of a model online or in a magazine and wondered what it is like to face the camera? How do models get their jobs? Do they get to meet famous people in the fashion industry? Ask no further questions because senior Allie Malakoff has the answers.
Fashion has been Malakoff’s passion since she was a little girl, but she has only recently gotten involved in the industry. During her freshman and sophomore years of high school, she had a series of five knee surgeries and was repeatedly on and off crutches. When that period of her life was over, she knew that she wanted to do something new and exciting. She had always been told that she should model because of her height, and she figured that modeling would give her “a chance to have some fun and meet interesting people.”
As she became more interested in fashion, Malakoff started learning more through mimicking professional models. Specifically, she closely followed Candice Swanepoel, Adriana Lima, and Bar Rafaeli. Bar Rafaeli works with an agency called One.1, so Malakoff was very excited when she signed with the same agency in New York in June. Malakoff also signed with Wilhelmina in Los Angeles and Miami.
Malakoff’s family has been very supportive of her ramping up her modeling career over the past year. However, when she first took an interest in modeling, her mom made her find an agent, Lisa Philips, all on her own. Her mother said, “If this is what you want to do, I will support you and take you where you need to go, but you have to put in the work and make the right connections on your own.”
Because of this, Malakoff has learned to be self-sufficient. She has also learned how to navigate in and around New York City by herself. Her parents are active in making sure Malakoff works with credible companies, and when she travels, one of her parents comes with her. They want to make sure she is not only safe but also autonomous. This has given her “a sense of independence,” Malakoff said.
To get modeling jobs, Malakoff uses a network of contacts arranged successively by her agent and signed modeling agencies. First, her personal agent helps Malakoff interview and sign with a modeling agency. Her agent has accumulated contacts because she has worked in the modeling field for almost two decades now. “She calls these agencies and says she has a new model looking for placement; since she is a credible source in the industry, they listen and set up an interview,” Malakoff explained.
Once she has signed with a modeling agency, Malakoff has increased access to clients and jobs; her agent no longer books her directly. However, her agent still checks in to make sure she is being treated well. She also promotes Malakoff on Instagram and helps her with social media.
Clients often will come to her agency requesting a specific type of model. Her agency will then send them pictures of the girls that they think fit their profile.
Malakoff has developed relationships with many clients she has modeled for as well as multiple photographers. “I have done shoots with the same photographer upon request more than once, and I stay in contact with him via social media,” Malakoff said.
One major perk of being a model is attending fashion shows and Fashion Week. Malakoff has been invited to agency parties but hasn’t attended any because she would be the youngest one there. “You would be surprised by how old most models are,” Malakoff said. “When I tell them I am 17, they cannot believe it. I have worked with models that are 25 and 27 for a teenage clothing company,” Malakoff said.
These perks along with all of the people she meets make the fashion industry really fun. “Everyone in the industry is interesting and has a unique story,” Malakoff said. Additionally, everyone shares a love for fashion and modeling. One of Malakoff’s favorite parts of her job is interacting with such “artistic, creative, wacky, and hardworking people.”
Even though Malakoff is not sure if she will continue modeling in the future, she definitely wants fashion to be a part of her life. Starting next fall, she will be studying fashion at Cornell University. Malakoff hopes this education will help her to follow her dreams in the fashion world.