Agency Lawsuit Reveals What Vogue Pays Its Models


Last week we ran a story about three models — Karmen Pedaru, Anna Aleksandra Cywinska, and Anna Jagodzinska — who have filed a lawsuit against their former agency, Next Management, for stealing their wages. Now, Jezebel has obtained a copy of that lawsuit, the details of which reveal the stark and, sadly, disappointing numbers behind what is often seen as a fascinatingly glamourous industry.

As part of their joint filing, Jacodzinska submitted an account statement of hers from Next, dated April 29, 2010. The statement is a one-page tally of the pending payments from completed jobs as well as agency deductions. And the numbers tell an interesting story.

According to Jacodzinska’s statement, she was awaiting payment from a myriad of clients, including Vogue, French Vogue, J.Crew, H&M, creative agency Laird & Partners, and production house Grey Paris — which makes her a part of a very lucky minority of financially successful models in an industry in which most girls (and women) spend years wavering in and out of agency debt. But it’s what each of these clients pay that really caught our eye.

Jacodzinska’s statement reveals that the day rate for a shoot for French Vogue pays a measly $125 while some catalogue shots for J.Crew will net her $15,000. American Vogue is only a small step up from Carine Roitfeld‘s publication, offering $250 per day — so why are these editorials so coveted? Because the big money comes from ad campaigns — which only come after a model has raised her profile via an indeterminate number of editorial shoots for influential glossies like Vogue. Just look at the $60,000 paycheck Jacodzinksa was promised for an H&M campaign. And it’s safe to assume that the numbers next to Laird & Partners ($35,000) and Grey Paris ($172,500) were for luxury campaigns booked through those agencies.

The worst part of all this lies in the cut Jacodzinska’s own agency takes of these vaunted jobs. All modeling agencies take a percentage commission of a model’s work — in this case, Next charges 20%. But as Jezebel’s Jenna Sauers points out, that commission doesn’t actually cover things that most would assume come part and parcel to managing a model — like updating her portfolio or promoting her to casting agents. Instead, each of those tasks are deducted separately in addition to their 20%. In Jacodzinska’s case, that would be $66.87 in FedEx charges, $650 for her headshot packet, and $100 for the magazines the agency purchased in order to update her portfolio — among a myriad of other deductions.

We’ve included an image of Jacodzinska’s statement at the end of this (admittedly long) post and, at the risk of being redundant, we’re going to reiterate that the statement shows payments Jacodzinska has yet to be paid — which is to say, all those big numbers next to H&M and J.Crew are just that: numbers.

We highly recommend reading Sauers post in its entirety. As a former model, she has some unique and valuable insight — in addition to copies of Pedaru’s agency contract, and insider details regarding how prohibitive these agreements can be.

Finally, the takeaway from all of this should be that modeling — though long considered a glamorous career made up of easy money and exotic locales — needs some serious regulation, especially when you consider that most of these models are discovered as young teens, which means they’re signing financially and professionally manipulative agency contracts before they’re even allowed to drive.

What Vogue Actually Pays Its Models [Jezebel]
Models Sue Next Management For Stealing Their Money [Styleite]

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