David Todd: The Man Behind DT Model Management Speaks
It's a typical day at the Hollywood home of uber photographer Tony Duran; the music is blaring, with super-hot models stripping down between fittings of fab designer duds. Hair and make-up make impossibly gorgeous guys even hotter, while the equally beautiful Riker twins, Drew and Derek (ex-models themselves turned fashion photographers) set the shots. In the middle of all this, I'm trying to decide if Joel or Jake look better in teensie Parke and Ronen swim trunks...
David Todd walks in, DT Model Management's super-agent/president and the models, all of whom David reps, greet him warmly with hugs and kisses. This isn't your typical agent/model relationship; David's boys love him and are genuinely happy to see him-excited even-and you can tell. Each model donated his time and talent to shoot the pictorials accompanying this story; they are happy to do it because David cares about these guys both in business and personally. He is invested in their success as he builds their careers. Friend, confidant and even a sort of Svengali, David chats with The Rage Monthly about his agency, the business of fashion and what makes a DT Model.
Before we start; is there anything that's off limits?
Well that depends (Laughs)... I don't know what the questions are!
I want the truth-I want to provide a well-balanced profile of you!
Look at you, Oprah! You're really diving in... (Laughs) We can talk about everything-but keep it classy!
So how's your day going?
My day is going great! Happy. Busy. Last week we had an amazing seven days, with the guys booking up a storm. Plus, I was on set with you and the boys shooting and that was fun. It's exciting because I remember when I was a kid watching TV, seeing model agents like John Casablancas or Nina Blanchard; all these major agents with their models doing photo shoots. So just to be here, with models whom I love and have been working with... It was just fun!
You seem to have a great relationship with your boys. As booker and president of the agency how important is that?
It's extremely important. I have such close relationships with the models I represent, it's kind of like a family. Some of them I've repped since the beginnings of their careers, since they were kids. Some of them were still in high school, so I know their mothers... their fathers.
What's the key to your success as a model agent?
It's a business all about communication. If you don't have good communication and an understanding with models, then the business relationship isn't there. You must start off by getting to know them on a personal level; each one is unique and that's what I find so interesting about my job.
Do you prefer established models or do you like "discovering" talent?
One of the favorite parts of my job is finding a model myself, whether I scout them, or they're brought to me. Maybe he's not ready? He's a little over weight or has bad skin? My favorite thing is to guide that model, to mold his career and start doing my job-which is to sell him to the clients. I love watching them flourish into a working model. Seeing him in editorials by major photographers, on websites and in major campaigns. That's my favorite thing, because then I know my hard work has been worth it.
What was it like starting your own agency?
It's a lot of work, but we have been blessed; we have more work to do and are doing amazing. We were lucky! We opened with a full board including some of the best guys in the modeling business-it was a blessing to know we had the support of those guys. They were involved because they knew they had an agent that believed in them from the start and would work his ass off for them.
How long did it take to get rolling?
We started booking on day one because we had the talent and client relationships. We just kept on trucking; we didn't have time to breathe and clients have really gone out of their way to support us. We've already booked a huge campaign for one of our models and we've only been open eight months!
Okay what's the campaign and who's the boy? Can you dish? (Laughs)
Well, I can't say, but in May there's gonna be a major press release... but the model is Nick Youngquest.
Congrats, that's fabulous! Nick is so hot and very sweet. So, what makes a DT model?
Classically handsome, of course tall, they must be cut and muscular but not bulky. I personally like guys who are 6'1" to 6'2" because we want to book them internationally and they can have longevity. If a guy is 5'11" he's probably going to only work with catalog clients and get to a certain level. We really want them to hit the next level and do (runway) shows for Calvin Klein or Versace.
A swimmers build?
Yes, so they easily fit the clothes and designers want to book them. The smile is incredibly important; if you have a million dollar smile you're gonna be booking major catalog jobs... and those jobs pay; Saks, Bloomies, Macy's, Kohl's...
Yes! And overall the personality has to be there-a winning personality. When he walks into the room all eyes better be on him! You'll know that's a DT boy!