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BIGBreakNY: How do you get your models?
RICK MILLER: We speak at various seminars around the city, and often times the reason people go to the seminars is to meet an agent, so by the end of the day we can leave with an envelope full of people who are seeking representation. One other thing that I am very proud of is that Vonetta and I care a lot about our models, we give them the utmost respect, we give them detailed information, they are always paid on time and in turn they feel very confident with our business skills, so when someone asks, “I am looking for a good commercial print agent, who do you recommend?" they refer them to the Rick Miller Agency.

BBNY: What do you look for in your models?
RM: I like to look for something in their eyes, a connection that is there, not just a pretty face. I look for people who can convey warmth, approachability, friendliness, people who are comfortable. They photograph really well, there is a like ability about them , their features look great in photograph. I also look for people who are enthusiastic about the business, people who show up on time and are dedicated to the craft.

BBNY: How important is height in commercial print?
RM: Height is NOT IMPORTANT. Commercial print is all shapes and sizes. That is the great thing about commercial print: it has no limitations.

BBNY: Where would you begin if you were interested in commercial print modeling?
RM: One way would be, is to invest in getting a great 8 x 10 headshot. Don’t skimp on that, your headshot is your calling card. Look around for a good photographer, someone who is reputable, someone who comes to you through a referral. Nothing too extreme, but something captures you on your best day. Then you get a list of commercial agencies and submit them via mail. If they are interested in you they will call.

BBNY: When photos come to you in the mail how long do you hold on to them?
RM: To be honest with you we don’t hold on to them for very long. Unfortunately we just don’t have enough room to hold on to all the pictures that we get. But there have been circumstances where I have called people back several weeks later.

BBNY: To get a good composite card, how many photographers do you suggest you go to?
RM: My suggestion is if you are not with an agency already there is no need to go to a lot of photographers because there is no guarantee that anyone will call you in and that is a lot of money that you spent on getting those pictures done. I would never ask anyone to go to more then one photographer if they are new in the business because that is very costly. Granted you don’t want all your pictures to look alike. But go to a photographer who is talented enough to make your pictures look like they all weren’t taking on the same day. Different backgrounds, different scenes, your hair is done in a different way in each scene. Someone who can shake things up and make it all look different.

BBNY: Can you make a living on being a commercial print model?
RM: In the present time I don’t think it is possible. Whenever I take someone on I always tell them that this is to be thought of as a supplement to their income. There still is a small percentage of people who can make a living on commercial print work, but they may be working in different markets, like with me in New York and other people in Boston, Connecticut, or Philadelphia. But for the most part if they need additional income they need to do other things.

BBNY: What does it take to be a good commercial print model?
RM: To be a good commercial print model you need to be a good actor. Because most commercial print ads require you to do some type of relating. Whether you’re a relating to another person, you’re a guy out with your friends in a bar watching the game cheering, or three women sitting around drinking coffee talking and laugh. It is someone who is not just a pretty face but someone who is conveying a message.

BBNY: Who calls you for the work?
RM: The majority of the calls that we receive are from photographers. We also get art buyers for advertisement agencies.

BBNY: Now that you're on the other end of the commercial print business, is there ever a time where you miss being in front of the camera?
RM: You know something I don’t miss it and it comes as a shock to me. When I was a performer and a commercial print model I gave everything I did 110% but I get so much joy in getting other people jobs and I am so proud of this agency. I am very proud running an agency that I feel is very ethical and treats people with respect and I can go home at night knowing I am not running from anyone, and I love what I do. The reason this jobs brings me so much joy is because I get to bring so much joy to other people. To me it is not just about the money, to me I care about every model that I represent and I want to get everyone work. It makes me feel good to know that I am helping people in their career and for them to feel good about themselves. Plus I am fortunate enough to work with Vonetta Lynn who I consider a team player, I really could go on for days with the amount of great things that I can say about her. She really is a true asset to this agency.

We would like to thank Rick Miller for taking his time out to talk with BIGBreakNY. When it comes down to it, we here at BIGBreakNY feel that Rick Miller is a needle in a haystack. He is a caring, compassionate person who treats people with respect and wants nothing more then to see people succeed. For that we wish Rick and everyone at his agency nothing but the best of luck.

Want to read more about Rick Miller? See his profile—his story, in his own words.


© 2005 BIGBreakNY, LLC. No material may be reprinted without permission.