He is the owner of Exit , the number one modeling agency in Slovakia and one of the biggest in Eastern Europe; Andrej Taraba , who boasts two of the best models currently working in the international fashion market , spoke to Ozon about what it takes for a model to make it to the top and the role of Greece in this procedure …

You have been managing models for the past 15 years and you developed Kamila Filipcikova and Kinga Rajzak, two of the top 30 girls in the international fashion market; could you describe what characteristics a girl needs in order to become a top model? The most important attributes of a model are her personality, intelligence, esprit and energy! All of these stand above the beauty itself which is notsufficient on its own. Of course the model needs to have the right measurements, to speak English, to be patient and trust herself, but without personality and intelligence there is no chance for her to become a top model.

From the moment you’ve traced a potential model that possesses the above mentioned characteristics, what’s then the development procedure? This process takes a long time, several years usually. It was like this with both, Kinga and Kamila. The girls have to combine work with school so the agency needs to manage their time for them to be in the right place on time. In the beginning the girls work locally for smaller clients and as soon as they are able to travel, we send them to markets where they have a chance to build their books – Greece is an example as is Asia. Here they acquire some experience and can start working at the age of 15, which isn‘t permitted everywhere in Europe. They start in the more simple markets such as Japan, Greece and Spain, then later Germany and Italy and once they are experienced and have a strong book, they can then compete in meccas like Paris, New York and London.

What’s your opinion on the Greek fashion market? What do you think its status is in comparison to the International market? Greece is fairly important for us; there are several good magazines and some highly professional photographers. It is important for a new face to build up a good book and Greece is able to offer this opportunity. I see a big advantage in editorials being published quickly, so the model does not have to wait a long time for her pictures, unlike in Paris or New York. Until now Greece has been important in helping to start up a career for our models, a first “stop“ for our potential models if you like. Markets like Turkey or Singapore are Greece’s main competitors. Greece is important for us due to these editorial opportunities for new faces but there is a low chance for the model to earn good money, as they simply get rates which are standard in smaller markets.

It seems that once a girl makes it to the top, her international agent will block any potential jobs in the Greek market; can you identify any reason for this? This is a fact that is not simply Greece-centric, it‘s a natural development. The better the model is, works for better magazines, clients, photographers etc., the more careful the agency needs to be not to do anything that could possibly harm her image. There are two aspects to be considered – editorial – as soon as the model starts to work for Italian, French, American Vogue, Pop, Another magazine, Numero… or any other simiar magazines of these standards, its no longer possible for her to shoot for a magazine of a lower level. First, it’s no longer useful to her as she can’t use such material (for her book) and second, it harms her image and dissuade a good client to book her. This has nothing that solely relates to Greece and isn‘t aimed specifically at anyone. Since there are several top models there are also several top photographers and top stylists who only work for certain magazines, booking specific models. Basically the circle is closed, but there is a logic to it. There is also the financial aspect: the better the model is, the higher her rate and unfortunately Greece is not a strong financial market to be in a position to off