Fashion Model Contracts: Wilhelmina adds Nicki Minaj to celebrity division #FashionLaw

Wilhelmina, the world’s leading talent and model management agency, announced a few days ago that it had added renowned recording artist Nicki Minaj as the newest addition to its successful Celebrity Division of its modeling agency.

Minaj joins Wilhelmina after making history for the most Billboard Hot 100 hits of any female artist in chart history.

Minaj, a six-time American Music Award winner, ten-time BET Award Winner, three-time MTV VMA winner, and ten-time Grammy Award nominee, joins Wilhelmina’s diverse roster of emerging and established talent.

Wilhelmina plans to drive Minaj’s influence in the fashion and beauty space through world-class styling, editorials, carefully curated campaigns, and endorsement deals with the agency’s large global network of top clients.

“We’re thrilled to work alongside Nicki Minaj and her team. She is a style pioneer and an icon,” said Bill Wackermann, Wilhelmina’s CEO in a statement to the press.

“I love the synergy between my music and how it inspires my fashion,” said Nicki Minaj. “My message is always about celebrating your own style. I’m thrilled and honored to have signed with Wilhelmina. They get me.”

What does the above mean for you if your are fashion model interested in siging with a fashion agency? Let’s go over the basics of a fashion model agreement.

The Basics of Fashion Model Agreements

What Do Model Agreements Do?
It outlines the terms of your engagement as a model with your model &/or talent agency.

Basic Types of Model Agreements

1. Vouchers– Vouchers are the modeling industry’s timesheet for models. As a model, you take your vouchers with you to your job, the client signs it, confirming work done. You return the  voucher to your agency who routes it to its accounting department, bills the client and issues you a check when the client pays your agency. A voucher is technically not an agreement but it is incorporated into the main agreement you will sign as a model.

2. Waiver form- Again not really an agreement but incorporated by some agencies into the main agreement. This is typically used when models borrow clothes as part of a shoot etc. It outlines terms of use, return, damages etc.

3. Model booking confirmation agreement (outlines the terms of how you work with the agency’s clients: clothing, fees, transportation etc. It is very straightforward)

4. Talent/model agreement- The “meat and potatoes” of agreements used in modeling world.

What Are Typical Clauses in a Model/Talent Agreement?

Expect to find clauses that deal with the following issues:

  • Exclusivity: If you are signed with a large agency like Wilhemina, Ford etc., they will want exclusivity since they have branches across the United States. Smaller agencies are willing to limit exclusive representation to the local region or state  where the agency is located.
  • Agent duties
  • Model/talent duties
  • Compensation (the standard is 20% of all income earned). As a caveat, the issue that typically arises here is whether an agency should be compensated when they haven’t done “diddly squat?” If a talent/model “hustles” and books a client by him/herself, why should the agency share in the proceeds? Some agencies, nevertheless, include this clause. As a model, you want that clause stricken.
  • Model release (this permits the modeling agency to republish your photos, image or likeness for advertising, promotions, exhibition etc.)
  • Independent contractor (the gency clearly states you are an independent contractor responsible for your own taxes)

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