Singapore

Singapore’s next ‘basic’ model: Agency removes “height and measurements requirement” for an open call


It’s common to do an open call seeking models or talents but homegrown model agency Basic Models Management – which is also the biggest in Southeast Asia – recently put out an announcement calling for models to audition for the agency emphasizing that they have removed the usual height and measurement requirements. 

This means that as long as you’re old enough, you’re free to come down and try out. 

The requirements for model measurements are often very different and completely dependent on the job and model category – but more often than not, we don’t see much diversity or inclusivity when it comes to the bodies and faces we see in ads and media. 

Bonita Ma, director and head booker at Basic Models tells Coconuts that she would like to see more people try out at these open calls, and also said that the agency is “feeling a little adventurous” this year.  

“The team and I were actually debating about this for a while. We stripped the measurement requirements for the past two seasons because we started a new division for plus sizes, which actually didn’t work very well, unfortunately,” she says. 

“This year, I wanted to try a final round of including plus sizes and see if things change – because since travelling is made possible now, I can tap into the European market for plus-sized models’ placements, but if there’s still no hope in making it work then very likely we’re gonna go back to the usual model’s size for next season.”

Because of this, the agency is expecting a much higher turnout for the open call. “We usually cast around 200 over pre-Covid days, and we did 300 over for last season when we removed measurements restrictions. I’ll expect around 800 or so turn-ups for the coming open call,” she says.

We stripped the measurement requirements for the past two seasons because we started a new division for plus sizes, which actually didn’t work very well, unfortunately.

Bonita Ma, Director of Basic Models management

Bonita adds that whether or not they have plus-sized models in the mix really depends on the demand. “It’s really not up to model agencies to decide what look works and what doesn’t. Ultimately I think it doesn’t work if agencies are being inclusive, for the sake of showing people that they are being inclusive. What agencies should do is to support, when there is a demand,” she explains. 

There’s a misconception that model agencies have the power to change the game – but the real truth is that they don’t. Bonita tells us that ultimately, the agencies are the “suppliers” at the bottom of the advertising pyramid and brands are the ones on top – and that includes fashion designers.

“If there’s a demand for a certain look or a certain size, then naturally we will have to “source” and “produce” the supplies. But otherwise, say for example, if fashion brands are not producing a collection in a certain size, even if I do have a great model in that size, there wouldn’t be jobs for him or her and there’s nothing that an agency can do.”

But while we wait for change to come, Basic Models are doing the um, basics by educating everyone who joins them. The company has its own model academy to groom and train models from scratch, as well as a content studio to assist them in creating visuals for their social media.

The open call happens on Nov. 6 and yes, everyone is free to try out. 

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