Valerie Emanuel and Anne Therese are the co-founders of Role Model Management - an ethical Talent & Modelling Agency. Both models and activists themselves, they came together to bring their shared dream to life- starting an agency which represents models who want to use their platform for good, inspire others and drive positive change.
We had the loveliest catch up over cake with Val and got to meet her amazing sister too! Growing up, Laura and I wanted to create a brand that celebrated the amazing and diverse role models wearing the dresses therefore we were even more excited and grateful to speak to Val and Anne who are true change-makers in the industry and share our values of inclusivity and sustainability.
Can you give a summary of the change you have created and how?
We’ve given models a voice they feel comfortable using on their social media and that is so incredibly rewarding to know. We’ve held multiple events where models have come up to us afterwards and said that they’ve learned so much and that they can’t wait to go home and share with their followers on social media, and that they always feel so empowered being around the agency and other Role Models. We believe that models can change the world and that it is time they feel entitled to do so, so to see these beautiful individuals bloom right in front of our eyes is rewarding beyond words. Many of our models have also gone vegan or become advocates for sustainable fashion since signing with us. Others have regained their confidence and learned how to respect themselves and their bodies. We need strong models, mentally, physically and spiritually, so that is our mission here.
Why did you want to create change?
We were both models in the industry before we started the agency and we’ve seen what modeling can do to young people. Before you’re old enough to order a drink at a bar, young men and women are broken down and isolated, left with a belief that they have to starve themselves, shut their mouths and always put themselves in competition to the peers around them. Given that we believe that models can be the gateway to changing pop culture and hence “saving the world”, we can’t have models feeling this way. We felt like there was a need for an agency that empowers models and not break them down, and who are helping them build on their individual beautiful voices to get out and influence the world with. We craved that change for ourselves and so we decided to come together and create it.
What change(s) would you like to see?
We’d love for every modelling agency to understand their responsibility in empowering their models and to educate them on topics of importance. If your work is to showcase and promote fashion, then we believe that you should know about all the facts about how that garment came to life. Where was it made, who made it, and how was that garment worker treated? What impact does our consumer habits have on our planet and how can we educate the masses to change their choices and habits for the better? We look up to models and celebrities. We want to be them and do what they do. So educate and empower them to make sure that what they do is something worth following and look up to.
What actions can we take to help create that change?
Follow and appreciate the models who are bold enough to (already) be that change. The industry is still under a huge turnover and it’s still risky as a model to have too strong opinions or to stand for something as sustainable fashion, in fear of not getting booked or for your agent to think you’re “hard to work with”. So if you see a model, singer or other public figure who uses her voice to inspire positive change, then honor that and show her that you appreciate what she does.
Any advice on how to create change
Slow down and ask yourself what really matters, in any given situation. Ask questions and be willing to unlearn and relearn, then do your best to share that new wisdom to the people around you. We need little mini revolutions going on all over the world and today, thanks to social media and other digital platforms, change can spread like rings on the water. But it has to start with you, it will always start with you.