Model agency boss criticizes “GNTM”: “Underground and shameful”


In the current "GNTM"episode allows Heidi Klum various model dimensions and age groups.  What does that have to do with models?  Nothing at all, criticizes an industry expert.

In the current “GNTM” episode, Heidi Klum allows various model dimensions and age groups. What does that have to do with models? Nothing at all, criticizes an industry expert. Image: ProSieben

interview

Julia Dombrowsky

Too small? Too thick? Too old? According to Heidi Klum, all this is no longer an obstacle to international success as a model. Diversity in today’s fashion world, she calls it.

Window dressing, however, calls it Marco Sinervo. He is the head of the MGM model agency in Hamburg and says the assumption that “diversity means that there are no longer any requirements for working as a model” is a “big, sometimes tragic misunderstanding”. One of the many points of criticism that he mentions on the subject of “Germany’s next top model”.

Marco Sinervo, head of the Hamburg model agency MGM.

Marco Sinervo, head of the Hamburg model agency MGM.Image: MGM Models

In his book “Fame vs Fake” (mvg Verlag, 17 euros), the head of the agency makes it clear why the following still applies today: A model has to be over 1.75 centimeters tall, wears size 34 and after 22 years their career is often over, even if many people don’t want to hear it. For watson, we spoke to Sinervo about the “Lieselotte Effect” and the awkward task of disappointing would-be models.

He says about “GNTM”:

“It has absolutely nothing to do with reality and I think someone has to say it out loud, otherwise false hopes are raised.”

watson: Do you watch “GNTM”?

Marco Sinervo: I tune in now and then for work to know what people are talking about. But it upsets me: women compete against each other in a competition who have absolutely no modeling qualities. They’re just too small, too old, and don’t have the right proportions for the business. Not all of them become models. So I ask myself: Why are they even involved? And vice versa – what does the show do with them?

What about the show is still unrealistic?

The nude shoots at “GNTM” are underground and shameful, that doesn’t exist in the industry. Of the approximately 4,000 shoots that our models are booked for, maybe ten or twenty are nude shoots. And with these, it is clearly contractually stipulated in advance what may and may not be shown. These are mostly photos for medical topics or sometimes underwear. Nobody has to run down a runway naked, as happened with “GNTM”, and if they don’t do it, they’re thrown out. This is really terrible. And it also triggers me because it paints a bad picture of our entire industry.

Anything else?

What also annoys me are the extreme type changes that are made to the candidates during the makeover, just to create escalation and keep the camera on it when the women then cry for their originally beautiful hair. That’s where young girls get broken. Of course we also optimize the look of a model by shortening the hair – but I’m talking about maybe four or five centimeters. It is not at all in an agency’s interest to completely change a model’s look.

“They’re just too small, too old, don’t have the right proportions for the business. None of them become models.”

Nevertheless, “GNTM” shapes the image of many Germans from being a model.

That’s exactly what annoys me. Because most people can’t imagine anything in the world of fashion. Now Heidi Klum has occupied the topic and turned it into a colorful format that takes the audience into this dream factory and entertains them. That has absolutely nothing to do with reality and I think someone has to say it out loud, otherwise false hopes are raised.

How do you mean?

Formats like “GNTM” play false facts on viewers, including many teenagers, and suggest opportunities that they don’t have. The years between 15 and 18 are such an important time to find yourself and your own interests, to be clear about which profession would come into question. For young people, the future will be tough enough economically that it would only be fair to guide them into their future with honesty and support, instead of feeding them dishonest dreams that end in disappointment.

What about the diversity aspect? Is that only available at ProSieben?

The topic of diversity is completely misunderstood. In fact, the market is becoming more diverse and that’s a nice development, but it’s all about cultural diversity. We represent significantly more models of different nationalities and skin colors than a few years ago. For example, we are currently seeing a huge run on Asian guys. “Black Live Matters” and the boom in the Asian fashion market have something to do with it, because ultimately the demand is not controlled by model agencies, but by customers.

No longer the norm: Heidi's top 10 includes older, smaller and plus-size models.

No longer the norm: Heidi’s top 10 includes older, smaller and plus-size models. Image: dpa / Sven Doornkaat

And customers don’t want best agers and plus sizes?

no It’s true that the media always says it’s a mega boom, but I don’t experience any of that at all. It’s still a small niche market served by maybe three or four customers, especially clothing discounters or mail order companies that don’t pay big fees. We don’t serve this market because it’s not profitable for us or for the models themselves. I see no future there.

Numerous people apply to you as models every day. Do you notice who watched “GNTM”?

Absolutely. At the moment, an incredible number of older women from rural areas are applying who think that they are just like Lieselotte. That’s uncomfortable, because it’s often up to me to take away these people’s dreams.

How do you tell a hopeful applicant that she is too fat or too small or too old?

It’s tough. There are people who accept a “sorry, it doesn’t fit” very well. But there are also more and more people with such inflated egos that they don’t accept rejection. Then they start arguing and come up with comparisons like “Ashley Graham is curvy too” or “Kate Moss is short too”… That’s a stupid situation, because then I have to be clearer and can actually only say the wrong thing .

“At the moment, an incredible number of older women from rural areas are applying who think that they are just like Lieselotte.”

For example?

A girl I told many years ago that she was too short to model had her legs broken and lengthened in Asia. I was shocked because of course that wasn’t the only reason for the cancellation. I never want to experience anything like that again. That’s why the “no” has to be communicated very clearly, but I also try to let people know that this isn’t the end of the world, say, for example: “You’re really articulate, do something with your life, where you are can use that.” Modeling isn’t a job for everyone, that’s not a bad thing.

Why do so many people want to become models anyway? can you explain

It is an accolade, a self-affirmation of one’s own attractiveness. I don’t think people want to do the job and enjoy the hard work that goes into it. It’s all about the title: “I’m a model” and too many people think they have what it takes. Twenty years ago, when I asked girls on the street if they would work for us, you really had to convince them that they could at least try it once. Many people were totally uncomfortable with being asked about their beauty. Today we are inundated with applications.

is "GNTM" a model competition or a pure entertainment format?  Sinervo is sure of the latter.

Is “GNTM” a model competition or just an entertainment format? Sinervo is sure of the latter. Image: Eurokinissi via ZUMA Press Wire / Eurokinissi

Many girls get likes and endorsements on social media for their looks. Does that distort perception?

The problem is definitely fueled. Sometimes people come to us who are very popular on Instagram and – after putting their selfies through several filters – also find themselves very photogenic. They live in this dream world where everything is great and they are beautiful. When they arrive in reality, for example in our agency, then it bursts with a bang.

“Twenty years ago, when I asked girls on the street if they would work for us, you really had to convince them.”

And if your daughter wants to be a model someday, would you let her do it?

If she had the qualifications and the talent, yes. It’s still a great job where you see a lot of the world and earn good money if you have the looks, the stamina and the hard work. But first and foremost, I would want my children to be honest in their own reflections and accept the advice of professionals when it comes to career choices. Not everyone has to be a star. It is enough if you find something that you are good at and that you enjoy. That’s hard enough.



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