Industry powerhouse Jason Kanner opens up to CE Editor-in-Chief Matthew Edelstein.
Starting a new agency and supermodel dish are some of their favorite conversation topics.
Matthew Edelstein: What makes a good male model?
Jason Kanner: Classic good looks. Having a personality and being smart
makes for a lasting career. No one wants to deal with a mindless beauty
for more then a second.
ME: What’s your philosophy on building a successful career for a model?
JK: I think you always have to see the big picture.
How a model’s career can evolve, their potential as they age, and so on.
ME: I know that you have a strong interest in the history of fashion
and photography. How does that influence your approach?
JK: Basically when I take on a new model I start thinking of
what photographers, designers and stylists will like them.
I can say “this guy is so Herb Ritts, Versace in a desert”
and some people will get it and some won’t. I live in the moment,
but to me it’s very important to know the work of
the photographers that have shaped and continue to shape our industry.
When I speak to a photographer and they give me a reference,
I actually know what they’re talking about.
So many people tell me how rare it is to work with someone
who actually knows that side of things.
ME: Where do you think the aesthetic direction of male models is going?
JK: That’s not of interest to me. I’ve always stayed true to the classic man,
be it lean or muscled. It’s always worked out for my models.
When Steven Meisel was shooting more waif type male models,
he was still casting my guys because they’re aspirational.
Classic beauty never goes in or out of fashion.
Why do you think models like Gisele, Amber or Christy
seem as relevant today as they did in their “moment’?
ME: What made you decide to start your own agency?
JK: It’s always been a dream of mine. I worked at Women
with Paul Rowland and saw what it took to have your own agency.
He was able to do it on a small eclectic scale and do it
successfully and with passion. I realized then that I wanted
to work towards that goal. As my career progressed it seemed
like making a big paycheck and working for someone made sense.
Last year reality hit me and I realized that in order to truly
provide for myself and my family I had to not be complacent.
I had a great run at Major but I knew that I didn’t want to just work
for someone else. I think you just know when it’s your time to go.
Two former agents I worked with at Boss Models in the 90′s
became available and I knew that if I brought the band back together
we could really do it.
ME: What would you like ‘Soul Artist Management’
to be known for as an agency?
JK: That it’s a company with heart.
That we actually care about our clients. That it isn’t just business as usual.
That it’s transparent. That when you sign with us, we really
have your back and that we’ll protect and respect you.
It’s a family business, both of my sisters work for the company
(in accounting and for our travel department).
Love is in every detail of the way we approach our business.
Yes, we’re tough when we need to be, but it’s all done with soul (literally).
ME: You’ve represented some of the top male AND female models
of the last two decades. Do you have any funny supermodel anecdotes
you’d like to share?
JK: LOL, ok… here’s a few:
When I represented Amber Valletta, my assistant at the time
had to take care of her dog while she was out of town working.
Basically the dog was chewing Chanel pumps and
relieving itself on cashmere everything.
My assistant was like “this dog shits on better places then I live”.
One season in the middle of the New York shows Kim Iglinsky
was booked for the Missoni campaign in Paris.
In order to not piss off Marc Jacobs and Miu Miu,
we booked a round trip on the Concorde to make everything work.
She took the Concorde from Paris to New York and then
a helicopter to the piers in order to make Miu Miu.
She was still late for their line-up at 9 am so they fired her
while she was on the helicopter and booked Honor Fraser in her place.
Marcus Schenkenberg did the Versace campaign with Stephanie Seymour
and Richard Avedon. We didn’t know he wasn’t going to be
wearing any clothes so he got to the set and was like “I have no rack of clothes”.
Of course, Stephanie Seymour straddling him nude for 5 straight days
was a dream job for him. Let’s just say he was rattled at the sight of her
and she enjoyed taunting him.
ME: How much do you explain to a new model how the industry works?
JK: The basics are covered, but it’s really about on the job training.
At times I’ll give a model a few magazines for reference,
or lend them a photography book.
ME: Being a model is about creating a fantasy. Is it hard
for some models to come to terms with being thought of as a canvas
for other people to project onto?
JK: Most models know that, in essence, that’s what the job is about.
Model as muse. The creative team is using them as a canvas to project
whatever mood they’re trying to convey. A good model knows
that they’re an integral part of making that happen.
It’s acting without words. A lot of models have a desire to
start studying acting. It’s something I wholeheartedly encourage.
It was modeling that got Channing Tatum into acting.
I saw how committed he was in his photos and I encouraged him to try it.
He was fearful of it but opportunities aligned themselves
and it worked out for him.