It's no coincidence that Luis Menieur, from the Dominican Republic, decided to become a Mother Agent the same year as the famous 'Black Issue' of Italian Vogue in 2008. Over a decade later, Luis has enjoyed seeing the beauty industry standards develop and appreciate women from all cultures and looks forward to it ever expanding and his contribution to it.
How long have you been running your agency and how do you think the industry has changed since when you first started working in the industry?
I have been a Mother Agent for 10 years. When I first started in 2008, there were only 4 models of color: Jourdan Dunn, Chanel Iman, Sessilee Lopez, and Arlenis Sosa; now the industry has really welcomed girls from all over the world, with ethnically diverse models gracing the most successful covers of VOGUE as well as the runway. The biggest change is that social media is now vital for a girl to gain more clients.
Arlenis Sosa by Alexi Lubomirski for VOGUE Germany
What are the skills that you must have to run the agency?
As they begin so young they need to see this as a job. They really need to be focus on what are they doing keep Been professional with Responsibility and discipline that this job demand . They need to know that one mistake can end their careers.
Also, personality is the key. This so important be nice with the clients, casting directors, designers and photographers can allow to work with them in the long term in this industry.
What is the communication like between you and the other agencies that represent your girls abroad? How do you sign them to agencies who could be on the other side of the world?
I have been working with many agencies from day one. I speak with them every day, they are like family to me and have helped my business grow. We are equally as important to one another, its a symbiotic relationship. As soon as I get Polaroids of a new face I send them immediately to other agencies.
Nayeli Figueroa did a Semi-Exclusive for Christian Dior Fall Winter 2018
Mother agencies often have a far closer relationship with their models. What kind of issues and situations do you need to solve once your models are working abroad with bigger clients?
We speak with them all the time, even if we are far away from them it is important for them to know we are always there to help. Sometimes they don’t speak English very well for example or we inform them more about the photographer, brand, or designer.
Do you think is necessary -like some publications and agencies are already doing- start launching models careers after they are +18 years old?
For me, it better starts at 18 years old as we will have more time for development.
Manuela Sanchez alongside Bella Hadid for Christian Dior
I didn't learn until I was in my twenties the importance of a good diet and sleeping when you're traveling so much-modeling places a high demand on your body. Is this something you instill in them from a young age?
Modeling is energy, people are feeding off your energy all day. If you don’t sleep or eat well you will look tired and not get booked again. We tell the girls to learn about nutrition and fitness so as their bodies change, they are equipped to understand what is happening and what they need.
What would you change within the industry if it were in your hands?
Agencies often perceive their girls as money making machines and forget that they’re human. I would like them to nurture them better.
Annibelis Baez walking for Prada Spring Summer 2019
Amongst your many successes, what has been a particular highlight for you?
When Arlenis Sosa got the Lancôme contract only after 2 months of modeling in 2008. She is from the Dominican Republic and opened the world's eyes on the varying definitions of beauty.
What do you consider is the best part of your work?
That I can completely change a girls life.
And to finish, what advice do you always give to your new faces?
When one door is closes another one opens.
Read the full Mother Agencies featured at Spring Summer 2019 - Issue 2. Get your copy here.
Words by Charlie Newman.
Ana María Figueroa portrayed by Edwin S Freyer for the Spring Summer 2019 Cover
Francisco Peralta with Mariacarla Boscono by Mert & Marcus for Givenchy