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modeling & talent ● modeling By Eve Matheson Starting From Scratch Former international model Raquel Ann Repka went from runway to representation, and offers her advice for chasing dreams in this fast-paced glamour industry F or over 25 years I have interviewed model agents around the world in order to learn about their agencies, philosophies, the type of models they MIRANDA KERR are looking for, and their words of advice for new- comers on the cusp of careers. In every interview these cautionary words of wisdom are the same: “Plan for a Business acumen, courage, and a personal comprehen- life after modeling! It is a fleeting career. Save money and sive knowledge of the modeling industry are the main rea- invest it wisely!” sons a young agent in Madison, Wisconsin, has gained There are supermodels who have broken the estimated global recognition. She is Raquel Ann Repka, a former in- five-year “shelf life” barrier and achieved career ternational model who owns The Rock Agency, which longevity, fame, and fortune. Among them is was originally founded in Madison in 1968. I media mogul Tyra Banks who has an esti- first met Raquel in 2014 in Paris, where she mated worth of $90 million. Tyra has built was showcasing some of her models to the her financial empire over the years by world’s leading agents. I was impressed having a hands-on approach, and con- with her impeccable looks, energy, and I loved the tinuing to study business. (In 2012 she delightful demeanor. It was not surpris- business aspect. I graduated from Harvard University’s ing to learn that she had placed models Executive Education Training Pro- in Paris, Milan, London, Barcelona, told myself, you can gram.) Other supermodels who be- Madrid, and Greece; in fact, in all of do this; you can came impressively business savvy are the markets that she herself had mod- Heidi Klum (estimated worth $70 mil- eled. We met again at the International totally do this. lion), Miranda Kerr ($35 million), and Model and Talent Association 2015 con- Elle MacPherson ($100 million). These vention in Los Angeles, where I heard her dizzying statistics illustrate the point that inspiring story. when a model takes charge of her career, heeds Raquel told me: “I went to the University of trustworthy advice, and plans for a future beyond the Wisconsin in Madison and paid my college expenses runway, the rewards can be staggering. by working as a model for The Rock Agency and by work- “ “ 44 PAGEANTRY MODELING Continued on page 102