An article from VOGUE ITALIA .Lauren Chan has interviewed the five models that IMG has signed.
Roughly six months after the famously influential FORD+ New York board unexpectedly closed, IMG Models has signed some of the former FORD+’s top models. The powerhouse agency—which is notably home to supers like Gisele Bundchen, Kate Moss, Joan Smalls, and Karlie Kloss, among others—is now representing Ashley Graham, Danielle Redman, Inga Eiriksdottir, Julie Henderson, and Marquita Pring. They join the one previously represented plus model, Tara Lynn.
When FORD+ collapsed its New York board, influential bookers Gary Dakin and Jaclyn Sarka started JAG Models, taking most of the FORD+ board with them. While some of the remaining talent went to Wilhelmina and Muse, the five girls now at IMG held out.
A month prior to the models signing contracts at their new agency, IMG mysteriously announced that they would undergo a diversity initiative by representing models of all shapes, ages, and races.
While the industry was skeptical, critics have since been proven wrong. Not long after, Ashley, Danielle, Inga, Julie, and Marquita appeared on the board—the main board, not a segregated plus board. Now, the plus models are even in IMG’s show package for a chance to strut the runways at Fall 2014 New York Fashion Week. Just in time for New York Fashion Week, I sat down with the new IMG models to discuss their thoughts on this big change.
Why do you ladies think it’s impactful that IMG has plus girls on the main board?
Marquita Pring: Even though I’m curvier I have always considered myself just as capable as any other model. I’m not only proud but I feel so fortunate to be able to represent curvier women. In the past I have found that my size has limited me from having the same opportunities as straight sized models. Now, I’m really excited about what’s to come.
Ashley Graham: It makes an impact because its breaking the segregation between straight and plus. All of [IMG’s] top talent is pooled together. It shows that IMG is interested in representing [all] quality models, which we are. Inga Eiriksdottir: It’s a beautiful step in the right direction.
How did you feel when FORD+ closed its doors?
Danielle Redman: [I was] having one of my best years when [FORD+] shut down. I was shocked. FORD has been great for me [and I’m] very grateful for them. You have to go with what comes your way and I was open for change.
MP: We were doing so well! I was unsure of what to do, in my mind FORD+ was the best place for me to be, I had never considered finding a new agency.
Do you think you will have access to typically straight-size jobs?
Julie Henderson: I think there is still a lot work to be done but I know IMG is up to the task. Getting designers [and] companies to even be open to this is going to take some imagination and opening of minds…That’s the fun part!
IE: It’s already been happening. There is a less of a divide now a days thankfully.
AG: I know that today I have a lot more access to typically straight-size jobs than I did even three years ago…and I expect it to keep growing.
MP: I’ve been noticing a shift in the industry [too]. People want to see more diversity. IMG has great relationships…[and] they are excited to be working with women who are passionate about their careers.
Do you think any other major agencies like Women and the Society will put plus girls on their boards?
AG: I hope other big agencies start looking at representing plus girls. It will truly show how the times are changing!
IE: I’m certain of it—it’s just a matter of time.
JH: IMG is paving the way for the future. There is way too much money to be made.
DR: People are realizing that plus-size is a big, growing market. More brands are creating plus size clothes which means more models and more agencies
Read the original on VOGUE ITALIA