Aylin founded Girls Club Management in Berlin back in 2016. Aylin chose to take quite a niche angle whilst setting up the agency. Girls Club Management acts solely as a mother agency, as opposed to a more stereotypical agency where they have their local girls as well as international. This gives the agency a unique position to really invest in their girls and develop, rather than a short term contract for a quick buck money maker. It's a refreshing stance in an industry so synonymous with short lived trends.
What are the skills that you must have to run an agency?
The number one skill is discipline. Being the boss, your own boss is not that easy if you aren’t focused and very disciplined. You can easily distract yourself with simply living your life because you have no one to tell you what to do. Besides that, it is a must to be talented at multi-tasking because there is way more than just booking a job or confirming flights. There are such things as the accounting, which is very annoying but actually makes 50% of a good and healthy company, meaning it’s very important to have a good accountant. You should also be a good networker and socializer.
Liv Sillinger Cover by Anna Daki and styled by Saskia Schmidt
How is the communication between you and the agencies that represent your models abroad? And how is the process to introduce to models to them?
I only work with agencies that are reliable and answer my mails / calls. As soon as I have the feeling the communication is not 100%, I prefer to work with other agencies. It is the most important because I trust them, I sign a model with them and I need to be involved all the time. All mother agents will understand my point. We can’t risk losing a model.
The process of proposing a model can be via e-mail, it can also be a casting as many international scouts travel the whole world to meet aspiring models.
Do you think it is necessary -like some publications and agencies are already doing- to start launching models' careers after they are 18+ years old? What's your position on this matter?
Yes, this is my philosophy from day one, like I said before. Girls at the age of 15 or 16 don’t understand everything. They don’t have enough life experience to know when they can say NO to something on a shoot e.g., they might say and do things to be part of something that is fake.
Their personality is simply not ready to travel the world by themselves, always be with new people, always be alone in a hotel. They need to learn about life and therefore they should live at home, go to school, get the right education, have friends, a social life, learn how to deal with problems before they end up jetsetting worldwide. It’s necessary for every human to learn about how the real world functions. Modeling is not forever, there is only a small percentage of models who model forever, the rest will be a model for 5-10 years and then “real life” starts and therefore they must be prepared.
Soso Korell Exclusive Versace Spring Summer 2018
Which risks exist by introducing girls under 18 years old so early in the industry?
The break up with school, they earn lots of money in a short time and they spend it all, because they don’t understand how much money it actually is. They are not careful who to hang out with, they don’t have an understanding for what’s happening around them.
Of course I am not talking about ALL girls, there are some girls who are already a bit more grown up, but in general girls under 18 are just not ready to survive by theirselves in this industry and stay healthy.
Have social networks increased in importance than before for booking a model? What are the good and bad consequences of so much exposure for the models?
Yes, social media is extremely important nowadays. 90% of the clients want to see the Instagram of the girl before they confirm. It can be good and bad, it depends on the girl and on their feed. For some girls it’s good as they bring out their character and personality through Instagram which clients like. I think the best is when models put things like art and music on their Instagram, clients like that.
On the other hand it can be really bad because the models might post too much content of their nightlife, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and so on.
Also there are models who have Instagram but don’t use it as much as others, so they post rarely, meaning it’s not updated, so the client can’t really see what the model is about.
There are many different types of Instagram accounts -laughs-
Maren Behringer walking for Prada Spring Summer 2017
Obviously modeling can't really be a long term career (unless you make it to supermodel status.) How do you equip the girls to prepare for life after modeling? Do you think agencies could do more in that respect?
When I start working with a girl, I always tell her that she needs other interests too. I ask them what they want to do in life, what they want to achieve, what their dreams are.
As soon as their career slows down and I feel the model should not rely on her agencies, I talk to the girl, tell her that I think it’s time to get into university or find a job.
Of course she can still model and do some direct bookings but the focus should be something else. I don’t want the model to feel like she wasted much of her time by waiting for agents or clients.
I want the model to be happy and fullfilled and therefore I will always be honest to the model, even it will not always be the very option for my company. I can’t lie to a model, tell her she should not do anything else and always be available after 2-5 years of modeling, when it slows down.
There are many of them, but, what it would be your most remarkable success in the industry so far? Is there something that you remember as the most special?
Yes, just happened recently. Liv Sillinger shot the global Celine Campaign with Hedi Slimane, walked the show and worked for months in the atelier together with Hedi as his muse.
Read the full Mother Agencies featured at Spring Summer 2019 - Issue 2. Get your copy here.
Words by Charlie Newman.
Liv Sillinger for CELINE by Hedi Slimane