Modeling is a glamorous and much-sought-after profession and DT Model Management, headquartered in Los Angeles, is one of the most prominent high-fashion agencies in the world. Representing both women and men, DT Model has also become known for representing the children of celebrities, such as Ireland Baldwin, the daughter of Alec Baldwin and Kim Bassinger, who is now the new face for GUESS. The agency also represents the daughters of Damon Dash, Sean Penn, and Steven Spielberg.

DT Model Management president David Todd recently granted an exclusive interview where he discussed his career and his experiences working with children of Hollywood royalty.

Modeling, photography, and celebrities

Meagan Meehan (MM): What first inspired you to start working in modeling?

David Todd (DT): I recall being in junior high school reading all the fashion magazines. I was very much inspired by all the high-end fashion editorials and top models featured in them. I remember admiring the work of all the major photographers such as Bruce Weber, Steven Meisel, Mario Testino and of course the late Herb Ritts. The Obsession fragrance campaign shot by Herb Ritts was probably my all-time favorite!

Fashion always inspired me and led me down the path to being an agent.

MM: How and when did you establish DT Model Management, why did you choose that name, and was it hard to get it off the ground?

DT: Well, after a nearly twenty-year career being a modeling agent, I wanted to spread my wings and open my own model management company. I joined forces with my business partner Bill Silva who is a very well-respected concert producer and music manager.

We had an undeniable synergy, and I knew at that point it was the right decision to start the business with him from the ground up. My nickname is “DT” so I thought it would be a cool agency name to pay tribute to some of my idol’s like John Casablanca, Eileen Ford and Nina Blanchard who were super-agent legends that I looked up to.

MM: As a modeling agent, what do you most look for in models?

DT: I am always looking for something unique that stands out in both their looks and personalities.

A real star stands out in a crown and commands a certain kind of presence right when they walk through the door! There are many beautiful and photogenic people in this world, but only so many carry those traits that a modeling agent like myself is really seeking for their agency.

MM: How did you build up your client roster to include major brands like GUESS?

DT: My team has worked really hard to secure some of the world’s top clients. We never take NO for an answer and take pride in what we do. We definitely have a certain niche when it comes to dealing with clients and getting in the door with them.

We are all about servicing the client and sending them models that they are really looking for instead a pile full of one-hundred cards; we send the select few that we know are right for the brand!

MM: You are known for contracting the daughters of some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, so what is it like to work with these young women who have grown up in the entertainment industry?

DT: I have been blessed to work with some real beauties. We launched the career of Dylan Penn and fostered the careers of Ireland Basinger Baldwin, Lydia Hearst, Nala Wayans and Ava Dash. Our newest celebrity royalty signing is Camille and Kelsey Grammer’s daughter Mason Grammar.

We will start promoting her next year!

Agency, advice, and goals

MM: Do you have a favorite photo shoot or any particular sets/themes that you think were especially memorable?

DT: I am most proud of Nick Youngquest’s “Paco Rabanne Invictus” campaign which can be seen all over the world. Also, I absolutely love Lydia Hearst’s “Equinox" campaign photographed by Steven Klein. My latest favorite has to be Ireland Baldwin’s “Guess" Campaign. She looks stunning! Booking the Guess campaign and meeting Paul Marciano has always been a dream of mine. He is so inspiring, and I left his office taking a little bit of his magic with me.

We continue to work with Guess weekly on their e-commerce shoots and other campaigns, we are very grateful to Paul and the Guess team for all of their support.

MM: Is there any advice you can give to aspiring models and people who want to be modeling agents?

DT: If you are looking to be a model you should visit “Modelscom” which lists all the reputable agencies. Don’t get caught up in scams or paying money for classes. Take a look at the agencies in your local market and submit photos to their email. Some of them have an open call, and you can go in and meet with them in person. To work at a modeling agency, you need to start as an intern.

I would suggest reaching out to some of the agencies to check if they have an intern program. That’s how I started! That way you can really see if this is the business for you! With perseverance and dedication, you can achieve whatever goals you have!

MM: What is coming up next for the DT Model Management agency?

DT: While maintaining an amazing board or men and women, our goal in the new year is to bring in some amazing girls from Europe and to continue our development of amazing new faces. We also have our eyes set on a few celebrity boys since we have done so well with our girls!

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