News & Runway

The 10 Best Modeling Agencies in New York

The world’s top models are, unsurprisingly, everywhere. They’re smizing at us from magazine editorials, ad campaigns and social media. They’re strutting runways from New York to Paris and even starring in blockbusters and television shows. But these beauties didn’t get to the top with only their good looks. Household names like Brooke Shields, Naomi Campbell and Heidi Klum, and new supermodels like Karlie Kloss, Cara Delevingne and Joan Smalls have a secret weapon: their modeling agencies.

Firms like Elite, Ford, IMG, DNA and more not only manage these global talents, they often discover them. Kate Moss was famously scouted as a teenager in the airport. Coco Rocha was found at an Irish dance competition, of all places. And still others have been scouted by doing it the good old-fashioned way, by sending in photos, measurements and a video showing off their personality.

Sure, it’s a notoriously tough industry to crack, but every agency looks for something slightly different – and always something new. Below, we’ve laid out the top modeling agencies in New York and tips and tricks for making your application stand out from the crowd. Do you have what it takes?

Kendall Jenner and Cara Delevingne via Love magazine; Gisele Bündchen via Vogue Italia

Images: Kendall Jenner and Cara Delevingne via Love magazine; Gisele Bündchen via Vogue Italia

Elite Model Management

The name says it all. Elite Model Management has launched the careers of some of the biggest names in fashion since its founding in 1977, and is responsible for introducing the world to the first supermodels like Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Paulina Porizkova, Gisele Bündchen, Heidi Klum and Tyra Banks (we could go on and on) as well as present-day leading ladies like Coco Rocha, Kendall Jenner and Cara Delevingne.

GET SCOUTED: Elite looks for star power and asks that modeling hopefuls be 14 to 19 years old and between 5 feet 7 inches and 6 feet tall. To apply, you also need three headshots, some je ne sais quoi and killer confidence.

245 Fifth Avenue, 24th Floor, New York, NY 10016, 212-529-9700

Karlie Kloss and Taylor Swift via Vogue, Kate Moss via David Yurman, Liya Kebede via Vogue Paris

Images: Karlie Kloss and Taylor Swift via Vogue, Kate Moss via David Yurman, Liya Kebede via Vogue Paris

IMG

IMG is another industry heavy hitter with offices all over the globe, and has also represented Gisele Bündchen, Kate Moss, Heidi Klum and Liya Kebede. It also has top current-day talent like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Karlie Kloss, Gigi Hadid, Chanel Iman, Lara Stone along with runway and editorial darlings like Jacquelyn Jablonski and Hanne Gaby Odiele.

GET SCOUTED: IMG wants you to submit passport-style photos, including full-length, profile and headshot as well as a video with your name, age and height, plus a “casual walk” toward and away from the camera. You can submit your online application here.

304 Park Avenue South, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10010, 212-253-8884

Alessandra Ambrosio via Vogue Turkey; Julia Nobis via Louis Vuitton; Natalia Vodianova via Glamour

Images: Alessandra Ambrosio via Vogue Turkey; Julia Nobis via Louis Vuitton; Natalia Vodianova via Glamour

DNA Models

You could say that it’s in this agency’s, well, DNA to manage some of the top commercial and editorial talent of the day. The agency, founded in 1996 by Jerome and David Bonnouvrier, represents industry heavyweights like Alessandra Ambrosio, Natalia Vodianova, Imaan Hammam and of-the-moment models like Dree Hemingway, Julia Nobis and Doutzen Kroes.

GET SCOUTED: The site doesn’t offer much instruction except to send headshots to submission.women@dnamodels.com for women and submission.men@dnamodels.com for men. 

555 West 25th Street, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10001, 212-226-0080 

Naomi Campbell via L'Officiel; Brooke Shields via Seventeen

Images: Naomi Campbell via L’Officiel; Brooke Shields via Seventeen

Ford Models

Founded in 1946 by couple Jerry and Eileen Ford (Eileen, herself a model, passed away this July), this powerhouse has been around for more than a half-century, which in an industry that is all about currency, feels like forever. However, with age comes experience, and the agency has one of the top rosters of runway, editorial and advertising models. In the 80s, Ford brought us famous faces like Christy Turlington, Elle Macpherson and Naomi Campbell, on the heels of introducing women like Jane Fonda, Brooke Shields, Candice Bergen and Beverly Johnson to the world.

GET SCOUTED: Those hoping to become a Ford model can submit an online application here as well as an optional online video.

57 West 57th Street, PH, New York, NY 10019, 212-219-6500

Anja Rubik via Marc Jacobs; Alexa Chung via Longchamp; Suki Waterhouse via Lucky

Images: Anja Rubik via Marc Jacobs; Alexa Chung via Longchamp; Suki Waterhouse via Lucky

Next Model Management

Next is the agency behind current models like Abbey Lee Kershaw, Arizona Muse, Anja Rubik, Myla Dalbesio, Suki Waterhouse and her little sis, Imogen. It also represents a growing number of “hybrids” like fashionista Alexa Chung, Milla Jovovich and Rita Ora, to name a few. Next opened its doors in New York in 1989.

GET SCOUTED: Apply to be a Next model online here, or check out the site for current open casting calls. 

15 Watts Street, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10013, 212-925-5100

Liu Wen via Harper's Bazaar China; Adriana Lima via Versace; Lindsey Wixson via Fendi

Images: Liu Wen via Harper’s Bazaar China; Adriana Lima via Versace; Lindsey Wixson via Fendi

The Society New York

This offshoot of Elite World opened up shop in 2013 and, thanks in part to its parent company, offers an impressive roster of names like Adriana Lima, Liu Wen, Kendall Jenner, Lindsey Wixson and more. Its models are some of the top faces in high-fashion editorials and advertisements.

GET SCOUTED: Think you’ve got what it takes to be The Society’s next model? Email info@thesocietymanagement.com for more information on scouting protocol. 

156 Fifth Avenue, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10010, 212-377-5025

 

Riley Montana via L'Officiel Singapore; Chiharu Okunugi via Vogue Japan

Images: Riley Montana via L’Officiel Singapore; Chiharu Okunugi via Vogue Japan

New York Model Management

For what this agency lacks in age, it makes up for in attitude and real-world experience. The vice president of the SoHo-based agency, Marion Smith, spent many years with Eileen Ford at Ford Models before pursuing his agency. It’s a sister company to L.A. Models and the force behind new faces like Tatiana, Carol S. and Catrina Stella.

GET SCOUTED: New York Model Management looks for aspiring models up to age 24 in women and 30 in men. You also need nonprofessional headshots. Apply online here.

596 Broadway, 7th Floor, New York, NY10012, 212-539-1700

Coco Rocha via Harper's Bazaar Russia; Manon Leloup via Vogue Portugal

Images: Coco Rocha via Harper’s Bazaar Russia; Manon Leloup via Vogue Portugal

Wilhelmina Models

It takes a supermodel to know the ins and outs of modeling, so it comes as no surprise that this agency was founded in 1967 by leading Dutch model Wilhelmina Cooper. The brand has gone on to represent some of the most widely-recognized models of the day like Coco Rocha and also represents fitness and plus-sized models.

GET SCOUTED: You can submit your headshots online here. Wilhelmina also recruits fitness and plus-size models.

300 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10010, 212-473-0700

Jourdan Dunn via British Vogue; Kasia Struss via Hugo Boss; Fei Fei Sun via T

Images: Jourdan Dunn via British Vogue; Kasia Struss via Hugo Boss; Fei Fei Sun via T

Women Management

When this agency was founded in the 80s, it purported to go against the homogeneous look of the day, and strived to find diversity and talent. Fast-forward nearly 30 years, and the agency is going strong, representing big names like Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Kasia Struss, Fei Fei Sun and more.

GET SCOUTED: Contact info@womenmanagement.com for more information.

199 Lafayette Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10012, 212-334-7480

Camilla Christensen via Hunger Magazine; Line Brems via Louis Vuitton

Images: Camilla Christensen via Hunger Magazine; Line Brems via Louis Vuitton

Silent Models New York

Though by no means a global tour de force, Silent is anything but silent in the modeling world. Its current star, Line Brems, a blond Cara Delevingne look-alike, has been on runways from Louis Vuitton to Dolce & Gabbana. The boutique agency also represents a variety of nationalities and ethnicities, a welcomed aspect of an industry that struggles with diversity

GET SCOUTED: Silent only represents women (sorry, guys!) and asks that applicants avoid wearing makeup or accessories in their shots. More information and an online submission form here

127 West 26th Street, Suite 502, New York, NY 10001, 646-370-1582