Katie Masters is the Booking Agent for The Agency Arizona, the top modeling and talent agency in Phoenix, Arizona. She works with clients to confirm models for jobs ranging from runways to commercial shoots and videos. She has worked in the industry for nearly 15 years, starting in high school when she signed with The Agency AZ as a model herself.
So how did Katie become a booking agent for the top agency in Arizona? It all began with an internship. Katie went to Arizona State University and majored in poetry.
At this point, she was no longer modeling, but one of her sorority sisters had posted in a Facebook group page about an internship at Ford, which happens to be the biggest competitor of The Agency Arizona.
“I hadn’t thought about working in the industry until my sorority sister posted an internship at an agency and I thought oh that’ll be fun.”
She began her internship with Ford, “I was able to use my experiences to connect with the models and train them. It was a very natural transition and I knew how to do it. I had an eye and understood what sells. Arizona’s market is so small. I knew all the photographers and so many clients because I had worked with them. It made it a very smooth re-entry.” It wasn’t long before her work there turned into a full time job offer. Katie decided to drop out of college and pursue her career, “basically, I saw the path I wanted career wise,” and finishing her poetry degree was necessary. “It truly goes back to timing. This is an industry where it isn’t like I’m gonna be stock broker rich. Or where you’re doing something that most people see as noble. I do it because I’m passionate about it. I love what I do. It’s fun. It’s a nice balance of being creative and goal oriented.” Katie worked at Ford for a little over 3 years, then applied for an assistant position at The Agency AZ, where she has since worked her way up to booking agent.
“In high school I knew my job existed because I used to connect with different bookers, but I was on the modeling side of it. I didn’t know that I would like it so much.” Now, Katie works with clients, locally and nationally, presenting them with modeling options to fit their projects needs. She also sources new clients. At the local level, she finds cute boutiques that she believes would benefit from professional models. On a larger scale, she connects well-known brands with her influencers for an authentic partnership deal. Most recently, she paired one of her models with Puma!
“I’m very competitive. I love that bottom line and getting to see my numbers. Whereas when I was working with the models, getting them all buttoned up is important, the agency can’t function without it, but I freaking love billing.”
I asked Katie what her dream job is, “I have my dream job, truly. I just focus on company goals. Last year we billed over a million. Obviously this year is a shit show. I would love to be in a position where I specifically focus on a handful of models because that’s how much they’re making.” Katie uses Jennifer Powell as a reference and inspiration. Powell was an agent in New York who opened up her own management company and now represents mega-earners like Danielle Bernstein and Tezza Barton. Katie explains that she wants to do the same thing at The Agency AZ.
For more info on Jennifer Powell, checkout this article.
Katie asserts that the hardest part about starting out is getting in the right mindset: “Of course we think everyone’s beautiful but they’re not the right fit for every client. The hardest part of being a model is the scrutiny on how you look. It’s realizing it’s all based on looks and needs from a client and it’s not personal.” Easier said than done, of course. “There are definitely models who are right for this business and then there are models that aren’t right, but they’ve got a great face. No one likes to be rejected and it’s not fun to deliver hard news, but rejection is a large part of this business.”
Besides being able to deliver harsh-truths, Katie says it’s necessary to be skilled in the art of multi-tasking and project management. “The most important thing is memory. There are 10 projects going on at once and you’re waiting on three different pieces for each project. Then things will come through so urgently and you have to prioritize and get things done.” There is certainly a finesse required when it comes to work life balance
“it’s hard. I’m constantly on my phone for work.”
If you want to get involved in the modeling industry, Katie stresses the importance of internships, “Internships are just the best. Be in the know when you start on as many things as possible. Getting that foundation when you’re in there and knowing as many things about the community and your models is important.”
What does the future look like? Brands are all pivoting to large social media campaigns, “Instagram has become such a resource, it’s crazy!” Katie suggests Women’s Wear Daily as a great resource to understand what’s on trend, as well, “you can watch all the couture shows. Any that ever exists.” Once again, thank God for the Internet!
Check out The Agency Arizona to see the beautiful faces that Katie works with.