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Wed, Nov 11, 2009
China Daily/Asia News Network
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One day in the life of a fashion agent
by Wang Ru

A day in the life of model agent Wang Bing reveals the hard work behind a beautiful industry.

In an interview with METRO, Wang Bing gives a brief insight into the modeling industry.

Name: Wang Bing

Age: 28

Background: Wang came to Beijing five years ago. He worked at New Silk Road, the biggest model agency in China, and then international model agencies Style and IMG. He set up the company LOOK with two friends in Beijing last year.

How tall must the model be?

We don't have a strict height requirement. Generally from 175cm to 180cm is acceptable.

How much money do models make in China?

It is a secret of the business. Generally, top models could earn more than $203,500 a year. This doesn't include advertising fees for super models. My new models could earn about $2035 a month but it depends on how many shows they have.

What makes a top model?

Firstly, models need to find good agencies instead of getting contracts directly from clients. Models could benefit a lot from their agencies. A few years ago, Chinese models with a typically oriental face were likely to succeed globally. Now the international market prefers models with an artistic temperament.

8 pm: End of holiday

As Wang returns with his wife from a holiday in Sanya, Hainan province, he receives a call from his business partner who says the company has a new contract with China Merchant Bank. They must start planning the project right now.

He tells his wife it will be another long night as he leaves their new apartment in the central business district.

9 pm: Brainstorm

At the office in the SOHO business compound, Wang makes a coffee and sits down with his partners for a brainstorm about the contract.

The bank has asked LOOK to plan a party for their big spending "infinite credit card" holders.

"We must bring something different to the clients," Wang said.

10 pm: Sorry, my friend

Wang receives a call from his friend Du Juan, one of the few top Chinese international models. Three years ago, they attended the Spring-Summer Paris Couture Show together, a first for both of them.

But today Wang has to apologize to Du because he has little time to talk.

11 pm: Manager/ nanny

"Boss, I have lost the keys to my apartment, please come and help me," Wang was told on the phone by an 18-year-old female model.

This year, Wang signed three models from Chengdu, Sichuan. They were graduates from a fashion college and the company needs to look after these young models.

Wang has rented an apartment for the trio and wanted to take them to the China International Fashion Week. Wang sends an assistant to open the door for the model.

Midnight: Casting preparations

After most of the city has fallen asleep, Wang is awake and thinking of a plan for the show.

He said he is worried that the new models from Sichuan would not fit the show, so has decided to cast new models the next day.

1 am: Las Vegas

"Yes, Let's present a Las Vegas-style show for the rich people," Wang told his partners.

His plan is to create a "little Las Vegas"' in the Financial Street Shopping Mall in western part of Beijing. His models would dress like flight attendants from an airplane traveling from Beijing to Las Vegas.

1:30 - 4 am: Planning

Sound and video effects, clothing, properties, games and stage design: Wang and his colleagues discuss and plan details about the show.

Wang decides to stick with his young models, rather than hiring new ones.

5 - 8 am: Nap time

Despite excitement about the show, Wang has had some exhausting hours and takes a nap on a sofa.

8 am: Plan takes flight

Struggling from the sofa, he calls his assistant, who is responsible for managing the young models. He then calls a female friend who was a flight attendant to help him train the models. He organizes for makeup artists to come to the office in the afternoon, so they can discuss how the models should look.

9 am: Moonlighting

An assistant reports to Wang that a model worked in a show without their knowledge last week, meaning LOOK will not receive any commission.

Wang is angry despite knowing that it was a normal phenomenon in China. Insiders call it "skip to client". "Models in China often take jobs directly from clients, that's impossible in the overseas mature market," he said.

10 am: New York

After addressing the issue with the model, Wang writes an e-mail to a friend in New York. He wants to attend a fashion show during the upcoming Spring/Summer couture season.

"Although I don't travel all over the world like two years ago when I was a professional agent, I still want to know what is happening on the frontline of fashion," he said.

12 am: Casting models

Wang assembles his models in the company and tells them his idea for the party. "Models are not only carriers of the products, but also the people who reflect the spirit, styles and notions of the brand or events," he told them.

1 pm: Good news

Wang is elated that he has received a new contract from Normana, a prestigious Swiss watch producer, which is planning to enter the Chinese market.

Normana wants Wang's company and models to create an introduction show for the brand.

2 pm: Open for inspection

Wang checks on the Internet to see how his stocks are performing. He seldom has time to play the market, but is happy to see that his stocks are performing very well.

Then it's time for shopping - he needs to find a black jack table and other furniture to outfit the Las Vegas-style casino they are about to create.

He also has to buy outfits for the flight attendants.

6 pm: Exhausted

Wang returns to the office and is very tired. He had a late dinner with the client from the Swiss watch company. He wonders which of his models is appropriate for the glamorous Swiss watch.

9 pm: Home

He returns home but keeps his mobile phone switched on in case any of his young models or clients call.

"Connection is crucial for model agencies in China, We need to have good relationship with clients, artists and famous models," he said.

Wang said the 15-year business is still in its early stages in China.

"Now all we can do is to copy the successful experiences from mature markets such as Paris, New York and London," he said.


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