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Interview with an Artist Manager

Page One Management boasts a roster of the top artists in the country, including Tony Masciangelo, Greg Wencel, Diana Carrerio, Susie Sheffman, Anna Nenoiu, Juliana Schavinatto, Simone Otis, and Zeina Esmail. Long-time artist agents (and my former co-workers from Plutino Group) Diana Carrelli, Nanci Vennettilli, and top hair and makeup artist Greg Wencel founded Page One in September 2009.

FASHION Magazine. Stylist: Susie Sheffman. Hair & Makeup: Greg Wencel. Image courtesy of Page One Management.

Co-owner and agent Nanci explains why they opened up their own agency, “It was sort of accidental. We were talking and realised there was a need for a more personalised level of management in the city, after a few hours of brainstorming we had the makings of a beautiful partnership!” Truly beautiful. Just take a tour of their website and you can see the many breath-taking images created by their roster for top-tier clients like Holt Renfrew, FASHION Magazine, FLARE Magazine, Winners, Danier, and Harry Rosen.

Hair & Makeup: Tony Masciangelo, Styling: Zeina Esmail for FLARE Magazine. Image courtesy of Page One Management.

What sets Page One apart is cultivating an intimate management environment, “We aren’t looking to become ‘a big box store’ for artists,” explains Nanci, “We are a small agency that actually wants to manage our artists, not just farm them out or fill spots in various jobs. Our artists speak to us everyday and we won’t ever let our artists feel like we are to busy to discuss anything anytime of day.”

Being an artist manager is not an easy job to land, with there being only a small handful of agencies in the country, including Plutino Group, Judy Inc and now Push Talent, who recently added Kris Lyons (of the now defunct Artist Group) to helm their artist division. [Edit: and of course Ford Artists too! Thanks Tricia!]

Coco Rocha for FLARE Magazine. Hair & Makeup: Simone Otis. Image courtesy of Page One Management

Talking to most people in the fashion industry, you’ll realise most people fall into their current positions through the people they know. The same for Nanci, who graduated from Ryerson University’s Fashion Design Program. “I ran into an old friend one day and we started talking, she was a stylist and her long-time assistant was leaving the country and she was stressed. She had a big project coming up and no help she felt comfortable with, I offered to help her thinking that’s where it would end: drive her around, a couple of alterations and some returns. Somehow the ball never stopped rolling and here I am,” says Nanci of her first taste of the stylist world.

While the general public gets a glimpse into the artist world through pop culture, like reality show The Rachel Zoe Project (shout out to the lovely Brad Goreski who I repped as a model back in my Armstrong days!), being a fashion stylist can be a wearisome job filled with endless lugging of heaving garment bags and boxes from showrooms to shoots. But the high day rates for top artists of up to $1,500 a day for photo shoots and up to $3,000 a day for spokesperson gigs draws a lot of people to the industry each year.

Nelly Furtato. Stylist: Juliana Schavinatto. Image courtesy of Page One Management.

So, how does someone become a professional fashion stylist?

“Styling requires an ability to fit clothing to a person (you don’t always work with the perfect sizes in models or clothing), resources to pull from, some tailoring knowledge doesn’t hurt and obviously a talent for putting clothing together.

Once you have this base, you should assist a seasoned stylist for at least 2 years. Assisting teaches you what you may not have an instinct for like on-set etiquette, how to network, where to pull from, how to manage a budget, and general problem solving. There are so many other benefits, but this gives you an idea. Once you have these things under your belt you can start to reach out to the people you have met in the industry like photographers and makeup artists and start planning your creative shoots to build your portfolio. This is the point where you would be in a good position to showcase yourself to an agency or a client (if you’d prefer to be freelance).”

Lady Gaga. Hair & Makeup: Vanessa Jarman. Image courtesy of Page One Management.

And what about becoming a professional hair and makeup artist?

“Much the same process as a stylist, with the obvious exceptions. Assisting will take you to a whole other level when it’s time for you to start. Assist, assist, assist. When it comes time for you to be the key hair and makeup artist you will be completely comfortable with the way a set is run and what is expected of you.

We get asked often, ”where should I go to study makeup?” The problem with this question is that it comes down to it being an art form. It would be like asking Van Gogh “where should I go to become a great artist” It comes down to your talent, how you cultivate your abilities is up to you.”

What are you looking for when you are reviewing a stylist or hair & makeup portfolio?

“An eye for continuity. Show us you have your own style and it carries through whether you are doing editorial or commercial work. Have a couple of great stories that blow the viewer off their feet instead of a ton of ‘one off’ pictures that seem like a random collection. Remember your portfolio shows the viewer what they can expect when they hire you, not how many pictures you can fit into a portfolio.”

Invaluable advice

“My advice is to follow my advice! Assist for a substantial period of time. Everyone is in a hurry to start at the top and it shows when we see aspiring artists come in with their portfolios. There is so much to learn and as talented as you think you are, assessing and getting to know your industry is invaluable.”

Alfred Sung’s Pure. Makeup & Hair: Anna Nenoiu. Image courtesy of Page one Management.

On changes in the industry

“Sometimes it seems as though there has been no change and sometimes I don’t recognize this industry anymore. When I started there was a sense of camaraderie amongst people in the industry regardless of the agency you were with or your experience level. It seems like there is a separation amongst us now and we are trying to bridge that gap. We are all peers regardless of who you are with.

Change is wonderful in all areas but especially in the work environment. It keeps you on your toes and pushes you forward.”

Going for gold

“Our mentality at Page One Management is an international one. We aren’t aiming for the silver medal, it’s Gold and there are no other options.”

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About Gail McInnes (296 Articles)
Originally from Glasgow, Scotland, Gail McInnes has made an indelible mark on the Canadian fashion and entertainment scenes; managing and guiding the careers of some of the country's most notable talents, including Lucian Matis, Hilary MacMillan, Stephen Amell (CW's Arrow), Natalie Brown (The Strain), Brad Goreski (E! Fashion Police), and more. Visit gailmcinnes.com for more information or email gailmcinnes@gmail.com.

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