Yannis Nicolaou is one of the founders of the successful model agency Place Models in Hamburg. Already as a child he discovered his passion for fashion and photography. For a long time he worked as a private model scout, the cornerstone for his professional career as a model agency boss. I talked to the likeable entrepreneur about the fashion business, his model agency and his personal attitude towards the trend Size-Sero and Plus-Size. Tip. Here you can find the interview with plus-size model Angelina Kirsch from Place Models.
Yannis: Model scout and booker with passion
FIV: Yannis, you are the head of the big model agency Placemodels in Hamburg. How did it come about?
I’m just saying, “Three Angels for Charlie!” I was so in love with Farrah Fawcett when I was eight years old !!! That’s when I saw her on Cosmopolitan and bought my first fashion magazine when I was just eight, or rather my mother bought it for me. That’s how I started to like fashion magazines, the women, the pictures. I started taking pictures with a small camera, first of my sister, then of my friends. My view changed and I developed a good eye for photography, models, trends and fashion at a young age.
At the age of 19 I wanted to become a photographer. In the beginning, I often simply approached people on the street who particularly appealed to me and seemed interesting. I didn’t know then that this could become a real job for me later on…model scouter.
Word of my passion and talent spread quickly. Some models I discovered made it scnhell into big magazines. People started to know who I am and what I do. My name was known in the industry. Then came the idea from my now business partner to start the agency. Without him, I would never have dared to do something like this. He recognized my talent, always supported and also challenged me. A big thank you here to Jan Eric Lütjen!
FIV: What does your day-to-day work look like? Is there a set routine or what do your tasks look like?
Not original. Heard a thousand times, I know, but it’s like this: Independent , self and constantly.
The day begins with reading and answering emails. Then organize appointments for the models who are in town. Meet models and discuss travel or new haircuts. Also shooting videos and taking polaroids of models, all clients always want to know how the models currently look before a booking takes place. Then talking to clients, meeting clients, selecting and posting news for our social media, researching new images of our international models, i.e. scouring magazines, campaigns and commercials. Talking to partner agencies from New York, Paris, London, Milan etc. about new models we might want to add to our agency or our own models we want to place internationally. Castings often take place in our agency premises. Clients often want to see our models who are in town live before they make a selection. The daily work routine in our agency is, as you can hear, very varied. There are sometimes little “dramas”, excitement and fun. Basically, every day is different from the next.
FIV: What do you enjoy most about your job?
The contact with so many different people. Building the models ,managing and following their careers. The human, friendly bond that comes from it is especially close to my heart. I really enjoy working in a team and of course the many beautiful pictures.
FIV: What has been your greatest sense of achievement on the job so far?
The bond with my models! Many models have been with us for over 10 years. It is a very nice feeling to feel that many models see me not only as an agency boss, i.e. “work”, but also appreciate me as a friend.
A video posted by PLACE models Hamburg Germany (@placemodels) on .
Yannis is against Size-Zero – Skinny models are yesterday’s news
FIV: Are there also aspects of the modeling business that you find rather negative?
Sure. The market is way too crowded. Almost everyone thinks they can model. Any random person thinks they can open a modeling agency. There is a lack of education and experience in this field in some cases. To be successful as a model for more than one or two seasons, you have to know and do certain things. Just looking good is not enough anymore. I also think it’s unfair that clients today are so influenced by Instagram. It seems to be less important which clients a model has worked for, but more important how many people follow a model.
I also find it very bad that for big fashios shows like Chanel, Prada, Dior, Calvin Klein etc. usually extremely thin models walk. So in my opinion a wrong role model and ideal is passed on.
And certainly I think it’s a great shame that more and more magazines are dying out and we’re reading and seeing more and more everything online. That’s a very big blow to our industry .
FIV: What would you want to change in the modeling industry?
No model under 17 should walk on fashion shows. No model should have less than 89 cm hips !!!! No size zero, no size 32. We should all fight together to make sure models are healthy and fit no matter what. Sure, being a model makes you slimmer than most “normals”, people on the street. Okay,but being slim doesn’t mean a model should look like a skeleton.
I would like to see all “types” of models booked evenly. Not predominantly light “types”. There are so many nations living in Germany: Spaniards, Turks, Greeks, Africans or Asians. All nations spend a lot of money on clothes and beauty. Why are such models not booked for advertising shoots, title pictures, campaigns etc.? Why do brown eyes not appear so often on covers, although most people in the world have brown eyes…?
And I would definitely say STOP with too much photoshop! The images should be edited less, more natural. There is too little reality in the pictures, too little truth. They often even resemble a lie, that’s frustrating. For example: Kate Moss is 42, that’s how she looks. It’s annoying when I see her retouched to 23. It’s totally ok that she’s 42, she can still look fit us beautiful. Real! But this extreme retouching makes everything unbelievable. Some pictures are fakes, that’s a shame.
FIV: You as a model expert: What makes a promising model for you?
The belief in yourself, a good stamina, setbacks must be able to be put away. A good model should be able to take criticism, have a good charisma and prove a confident acting in front of the camera.
The models should also ALWAYSbe available for inquiries from their agency. This is very important for success in the model business. Customers can not wait, the choice today is far too great. An athletic, well-trained body, as well as a general fitness, good skin and beautiful (full) hair are basic requirements.
On jobs a good model must be well rested, relaxed and in a good mood. The model should think, cooperate and be polite. After all, it should be a pleasure and inspiration for clients to work with a model. It is also important to me that our models trust and follow the tips of the agency.
FIV: What are the criteria to be accepted at Placemodels?
For girls: 175-180 cm tall, 16-21 years old.
For guys: 185-189 cm tall, 18-23 years old.
A video posted by PLACE models Hamburg Germany (@placemodels) on .
Plus-Size at Place Models
FIV: Placemodels also represents one of the first successful plus-size models in Germany: Angelina Kirsch. You discovered her: Where and how was that?
Jan Eric discovered her in Rome, in a café. He approached her immediately. Angelina was worried that she would have to lose weight to join our agency, because she didn’t want to do that. We were able to assure her that we thought her curves were great and convinced her to become a part of Place Models.
A photo posted by Angelina Kirsch (@angelina.kirsch) on
Tip. The interview with plus-size model Angelina Kirsch from Place Models.
FIV: How did you know..: This girl is going to have a career?
Angelina has 100% also the right personality. She is open, communicative, funny, mega good on it, educated and simply beautiful.
FIV: How do you see the trend towards plus-size models in Germany in general? Do you think they have a stable future in the model business?
I think, yes I hope, that more magazines will book plus-size models for fashion shoots more often. Women would be super happy to admire models in magazines that have more curves. Ones that fit the average woman.
FIV: More and more plus-size models can be seen on major catwalks or in well-known glossy magazines. Nevertheless, it is still increasingly thin models who rule the modeling world. Why is that?
In my opinion, this is because most women would rather have a dress size 36 than 42, even if this does not correspond to reality. I myself hardly know a woman who says she wants to have a dress size 42 or 44.
FIV: What risks does the constant lean trend bring with it? Do designers and the industry “not care” or are they simply not aware?
I think, unfortunately, they do not care. The skinny trend is of course something very bad.it makes many young people despair and makes them sick. I myself would like to distance my agency from Fashion Week for the most part. I find it impossible to tell beautiful, slim models that they need to lose even more weight to fit into a “child’s dress”. (To me, dress size 32 is only for children and NOT for adult models who are 178 cm tall and 20 years old).
FIV: In contrast to the past, there are already more campaigns with curvy models. However, especially when a brand advertises naturalness. When it comes to “standard campaigns”, big brands usually rely on very slim models. What do you think about this contradiction?
Very expensive designer fashion is mostly bought by rich ladies. They also want to be as slim as possible. It’s a vicious circle.
FIV: Even if you are critical of some approaches and trends in the model business. What motivates you to continue?
The hope for more humanity in the modeling and fashion business. The love and commitment to and from my models make me love my job so much. And honestly, what else would I be doing? It’s simply what I do best.
FIV: Dear Yannis, thank you for the interview!
A photo posted by PLACE models Hamburg Germany (@placemodels) on
More information about the model agency Place Models:
He discovered among others Angelina Kirsch – The Plus-Size Model
Yannis discovered Angelina on the street in Rome. While she was sitting in a cafe with a friend, Yannis sat down with her and asked Angelina if she would like to work as a model? At the time, plus-size models were so new – Angelina was also skeptical about the offer. But agency boss Yannis was to be proved right – today Angelina Kirsch is one of the most sought-after plus-size models in Europe. Read the interview with Angelina Kirschhere
Model agents and bookers! More interviews
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