For this week's Agent Provocateur, I caught up with Rona Siegel, owner of New York City-based talent agency Rona Represents, to talk about how she got started in the business, taking the plunge to open her own agency and the best advice for young guns in the industry today. Take a look into her creative world below.
How long have you been working in the business? Did you always want to enter this industry representing artists?
I started in this business because I've always had a love for fashion and photography. In fifth grade, my teacher wrote on my report card I was the best dressed kid in class. That's the one report card I kept. I used to spend hours going over every single page of Vogue, cover to cover, on the phone with my BFF. Our record-breaking conversation was four hours long.
I started my career representing models at Wilhelmina and worked with women like Gia, Pam Dawber (Mork & Mindy), Beverly Johnson, Angie Everhart and Cynthia Bailey. I then went to work with Next Model Management. Two years following, when Next was ready to open in Miami, I went down to run the women's division. There I met a photographer who asked me to represent him, and that spiraled my career as a photo agent.
What finally made you want to open your own agency?
I was young enough to take a risk and fearless enough to follow my dream of owning my own company. Plus, I believe in myself.
You act as a liaison of sorts between your artists and the clients who come to you for talent. What is the most exciting part of this role? The most challenging?
What I love most is the deal making and putting together a great team that makes the clients happy. My motto is "you're never as good as your first booking, you're only as good as your re-booking." The most challenging part of the job is cold calling. Not everyone can pick up a phone and speak to a stranger with the hopes of starting a relationship. When I first started, you could pop into someone's office almost unannounced. It took a phone call or two to make a booking. Now it requires 10-15 emails just to get the ball rolling.
For those young people out there going through the struggle, what is the best business advice you can give? What do you wish you would have known when you first started in the industry?
Make sure you do the research on the client(s) or agent you are targeting. Wasting anyone's time, including your own, is never fruitful. Presentation is extremely important; always comport yourself and your work like you should have the job. Never have a bad attitude. You wouldn't want anyone your team to have one either.
Learn more about Rona Represents at ronarepresents.com.