Damian O’Connor, our MD, recalls the humble beginnings of the Talent Management group and explains how far we’ve come since then
Back in 1990, I started taking photos that showed people in a light and style that made them say 'Wow, is that me? I never knew I could look like that!' Women brought their children and partners, and before long I had a large library of looks and the details of people who enjoyed being photographed and wanted to model. And that was the birth of the Talent Management group.
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In those early days, Suzy and I would do a photoshoot, drive the film to the developers and invite our model back to our modest studio for an evening slide show – usually accompanied by their mum, husband or curious friend – and together, we’d choose the best picture to represent them. 'Not that one, it shows my teeth,’ they’d say. ‘I look too smiley in that one… do you think I look too moody in this one?' Late in the evening, we would drop off the slides for printing and head home.
Before long, those shots were being photocopied and posted to clients who’d heard of us. (No email in those days!) Life became a whirlwind of auditions, photo shoots, viewings and castings, and we soon moved from the studio to larger premises across the road. We applied to the Department of Employment and were issued one of the very first licences to operate as a model agency.
When they heard of the assignments we secured for our models, people began to send us their own pictures, asking us to represent them. Before long we had a fast-growing library of people from far and wide to offer clients.
By 1995 we were receiving enquiries from models and clients all over the UK and booking models for catalogues, films, TV, fashion shows and events. Our operation grew from two people to five, then to ten, and finally to today’s twenty-strong team of skilled co-ordinators.
Today, instead of posting out photocopies, we use the internet to help us search and present our models to clients much more effectively, as well as finding new models, actors, singers, dancers, musicains, entertainers and attracting new clients.
Because we’re the UK's only national talent agency, our models are eligible for opportunities anywhere in the UK and even overseas. For their part, clients benefit from a wider choice of talent than any competing local agency. It’s a win-win situation.
We’re regularly inspected by BIS, the government’s regulatory body, like any other employment agency. We’re also pleased to be invited to contribute to consultations for legislative changes.
We’ve come so far since 1990, and we’re looking forward to the next 20 years. We hope that you’ll be part of our story.
Damian O’Connor, Managing Director