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5 Don’ts When Dealing With Your Agent

Agent – Model or Agent – Mom Relations Rule Book

No one gives you a guide book on how to act with your agent, so faux-pas are common—and can kill your career if you aren’t careful! Here are a few tips on What Not to Do when communicating with your agent.

Emailing Your Agent

1. DO NOT write unnecessarily lengthy e-mails. Your agent—if he or she is any good—is very busy. Keep e-mails as brief as possible. A few sentences at the most. No chitchat. Your agent is not your buddy. If you want to do any longwinded venting or bragging, text a friend.

Calling Your Agent

2. DO NOT call your agent all the time. Again, they are crazy busy! Most communication can happen via email (brief ones!). If you have an important issue that you must discuss via phone, ok, but this shouldn’t happen often. (I talk to my kids’ talent manager once a month at most and their modeling agent hardly ever—even bookings are conveyed and confirmed via email.) If your agent happens to prefer speaking by phone, that’s fine, but let them take the lead as far as the frequency and duration of those calls.

Booking Out

3. DO NOT forget to book out. If your agency is submitting you on jobs because they think you are available, it’s a hassle for everyone and poor reflection on them when it turns out you are not. After you book a vacation or schedule an appointment you cannot miss, email your agency with your book-out dates. (But if you book out all the time, that also will irk your agent!)

Model Lauren Hutton

Lauren Hutton’s famous gap-toothed smile

Career Guidance

4. DO NOT skip consulting with your agent when making important career decisions. Without monopolizing their time (I know, it’s a fine balance), keep your agent in the loop and respect their advice. Certainly there is a place for standing your ground (Lauren Hutton kept telling Eileen Ford she would fix the gap in her front teeth but never did; it became her signature feature), but don’t recklessly undermine your relationship with your agent.

Brooke Shields, Age 14

Brooke Shields (age 14 in this photo) was managed by her infamously over-earnest mom, Teri Shields

Model Parents

5. DO NOT be over-eager. This one is especially directed at parents. Be supportive; do not be over-earnest or pushy. Unfortunately we stagemoms are up against Gypsy stereotypes. One whiff of Mama Rose behavior and agents are likely to drop Junior rather than deal with you. So many parents sabotage their kid’s career, often unknowingly, with their own misconduct. You don’t want to be that mom. The fact is that you have to lean toward passive to overcompensate for the pre-conceived notions people have about stagemoms. In my experience, few live up to those notions, but the ones with successful kids are definitely on the ball, informed, and at-the-ready when their kids have to be at a casting or booking. (Teri Shields, Brooke’s mom, was generally all of these things, despite a severe drinking problem, but she also was pushy enough that she insisted on managing her kid’s career herself. Most agents wouldn’t tolerate such an opinionated and emotionally erratic mom. Read more about that “model-mom” relationship in Brooke’s book: There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of my Mother and Me. I found it fascinating and well-written by the Princeton grad and ultra successful model-turned-actress.)

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