Mother Agents Are Protective of Your Modeling CareerA mother agency will be very protective of its models just the way a mother bear would be with its cubs. The founder of Ford Models, the late Eileen Ford, was one of the most respected mother agents in the industry. New models actually lived in Eileen's personal residence in New York City and had strict rules to live by. Eileen Ford's expert management and care for her models was legendary and made all the difference in the success of her models and her agency.
Mother Agents Only Get Paid When You DoIf you live in a smaller market outside of New York, Paris, Milan or Tokyo, your mother agency will likely try to promote you to bigger markets. If your mother agency is successful in obtaining representation for you then it will receive a commission from the bigger agency based on the amount you earn.
Typically, an agency will retain 20% of your gross earnings as its commission for finding you work. Then, from that 20%, they will pay your mother agent half or 10% of your gross earnings. Some agencies in the Asian markets can take a 30 - 40% commission, but these details will all be sorted out in written modeling contracts before you travel.
A Good Mother Agent Understands the IndustryRather than focusing on just their own market a good mother agent will need to have excellent connections to outside agencies and a good understanding of how the various markets do business since requirements for models can vary greatly around the world. A mother agent will also have important insider information such as, which agencies pay their models in a timely manner, which agencies have the best bookers, which agencies are the most respected in their markets, and other important information that will help your career.