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Meet The Model Agency On A Mission To Promote Homegrown Talent

Basic Models Management may not be a name that would easily roll off your tongue, but that may change soon enough. They are a model agency based right here in Singapore, and they definitely have been making waves in the industry, locally and abroad.

You may have seen their models on magazine covers, fashion spreads, and even on television – on shows such as Asia’s Next Top Model.

Still having a hard time picturing who these models are? Maybe after this introduction, you will remember.

Don’t hold your breath now.

Fiona Fussi

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Aimee Cheng-Bradshaw

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Melissa Tan

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Angie Watkins

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Jogged your memory yet? Good.

The Woman Behind Basic Models Management

At the heart of Basic Models Management is its founder and Head Booker, Bonita Ma.

As someone with 9 years of experience in the industry, she has done everything from international model bookings to the task of training models. She is definitely well-positioned to know the ins and outs of what is required of models, and of an agency.

Since the inception of Basic in 2012, she has been handling almost all aspects of the daily operations of the agency.

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Currently, she is assisted by two other staff, a chaperon, and an online marketing specialist.

The chaperon’s duty is mainly to accompany models to shoots, especially underaged models. The chaperon also ensures professional behaviour from both model and client, and that whatever was agreed upon for projects between the client and Basic are strictly adhered to. This person also helps to take behind the scenes images for the purpose of the agency’s social media accounts.

As a model agency very focused on the usage of social media, the online marketing specialist is there to help streamline online engagement.

A Model Agency That Is Social Media Driven

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Traditionally, the modelling industry has always thrived upon networking and connections, be it from clients, fashion labels, show producers, photographers, or other creative professionals. However, they too are not sheltered from the onslaught of social media.

With the changing face of digital content, Bonita has decided that on top of just relying on the networks within the industry, social media too will be the main means of impressing potential clients.

With accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and even Snapchat too, they are definitely serious about this strategy.

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Bonita commented that clients these days may, at times, look at how influential a model is in the social media arena.

Though this practice is still relatively uncommon, models with a larger following on social media, such as Fiona, Aimee, Melissa, and Angie, will be preferred when getting picked for jobs, as the trend now is for brands to seek out and engage social media influencers for the marketing of their image and products. So having a model for a campaign who happens to also has some amount of clout within the digital space, would be akin to solving two problems at once.

Training Local Models, For The World Stage

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As one of the few agencies that actively does castings, Bonita also believes in grooming local models, not just to prepare them for jobs in Singapore, but also to send them overseas. She frequently travels to other countries to meet up with different model agencies, to not just understand how they operate, but also to learn more about the market conditions in those countries.

It’s from there that through these partnerships, Basic is able to send their models overseas for placements with local agencies there. The models stand to benefit from international exposure and experience modelling in different continents. So far, models from Basic have been represented in places such as Paris, Milan, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Taipei, Bangkok, Barcelona, and Istanbul.

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With Basic having regular casting calls for models, they are in a unique position where they are be able to train up an entire generation of homegrown models. Through this, they have identified a large amount of potential local models of whom they have been training for various commercial jobs, not limiting to – fashion shows, photo-shoots, jewelry showcases, launch events, and many others.

Currently, Basic has more than 50 models and talents under their wings which includes their main board, development board, adult talents, and kids.

Supporting The Local Talent Pool

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With the emergence of the Hallyu wave and the soaring popularity of K-Pop, more clients are in acceptance of Asian models.

In Singapore for example, a country where Asian models are not used often, clients will prefer models with a Korean look. The local modelling industry has increasingly been on a push to get local models everywhere. This is aided by the fact that influential figures in the fashion industry such as Singapore’s ‘Godfather of fashion’, Daniel Boey, campaigned for more local models to be given more opportunities.

As he’d put it in an interview with Esquire Singapore:

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“I support local because I am local. If people hadn’t taken a chance on me when I started out, then I wouldn’t have this career that I do. So, I think, it’s time to give back. But at the same time, I also realised that you had to go to a foreign country and make a name for yourself before people would embrace you here.

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It is not just limited to their own young local models that they are willing to give chances to.

More often than not, they are open to collaborations with young creative professionals, as well as students, for use of their models. They can range anything from fashion design students, to photography and media students. Bonita holds a firm belief in helping the younger generation in general, and hopes to build a long lasting connection with them.

This is especially important as it is these same youngsters who will be joining the industry in the future, and who will in turn will come back to Basic should they be in need of models.

What Does The Future Hold For Basic?

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The K-Pop influence doesn’t just stop at the clients. Basic too is taking cues from one of South Korea’s top entertainment agencies, YG Entertainment. You may heard of them, from popular acts such as Big Bang, Psy and 2NE1.

Basic won’t be taking the music world by storm anytime soon though, but what they are interested in is the way YG manages their talents across its many divisions. Models from YG’s KPlus model division have been able to transcend their traditional job-scope to venture into broadcasting opportunities, such as acting, and variety shows.

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Within Basic, aside from having their models in televised competitions such as Asia’s Next Top Model, are beginning to make inroads towards local television as well, starting with Aimee.

She is the co-host on Channel 5’s reality dance competition show The Dance Floor together with local celebrity Fauzie Laily. Expect to see more of their models on air the next time you switch on your television.

Above All Else, A Mother More Than A Boss

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A mother herself, her maternal presence is not something that is left behind at home when she heads to the office daily.

To all her models, she has been a pillar of support and a motherly figure they can count on, when they are away from their families at work. Due to the nature of the modelling industry, this has helped her models avoid negative influences. We have all heard stories about models living the high life – regular trips to clubs to drink and dance the night away. Cases of unhealthy dietary practices such as eating disorders are also a common topic raised when talking about models.

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As her models largely belong to the younger demographic, they are more susceptible to peer pressure and the stress associated to the industry.

Bonita ensures that at all times, her models’ mental and physical well-being are well taken care of, and even seeks professional help if needed. On their social media profiles, you will often see posts on tips for a healthier lifestyle, with their models sometimes sharing their daily routines too. Bonita also makes it a point to involve the models’ families when signing any new faces. She will hold talks with the parents to prepare them for what the modelling industry entails for their children.

So When Is The Next Casting Call?

Aspiring models, we have some good news for you.

Their next round of recruitment is just around the corner on 18 June 2016. Full details can be found over at their Facebook events page here. Just be sure to read through their requirements to ensure that you qualify.

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But before you get excited about appearing before Bonita herself, they recommend that potential entrants read through some of their articles over at their blog about preparing for the casting call for the actual day, and also about the common dos and don’ts about wanting to be a model.

You should probably begin with this post by them, Preparing For Basic Models Casting Call, or if you’d like to ask Bonita questions regarding the casting call, or the modelling industry in general, head on over to her AskFM profile.

I would like to thank Bonita for sharing about Basic Models Management, and I personally can’t wait what the agency will be up to next.

 

Image Credits: Basic Models Management

 

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