Q & A
MAKE ME A SUPERMODEL
David Todd is The Model Maker
By Matthew Tomasulo
At 37, David Todd is one of the youngest and most experienced modeling agents in the business. His firm, David Todd Management, boasts the strongest men’s board in Los Angeles today, including male model superstars Nick Youngquest and Chad White.
“I started working as an agent when I was 18, fresh out of high school. I know this business inside and out,” he says.
According to Todd, the biggest misperception about modeling is that it’s easy. “It’s not easy to get in front a camera and shoot a thousand great images for a client,” he argues. “The pressure to produce that one perfect picture is enormous”.
Personality and charm must shine through. Also vital for male models is taking care of their skin, working out, eating the right foods and maintaining relationships. These are tips every man can take to heart this summer – those who want to be models and those who just want to look like one.
What do you look for in a male swim model?
We look for a guy who has the perfect body. He needs to look great in any swimsuit he puts on, including speedos, box cuts, and board shorts. He has to have a great upper body, nice legs – no chicken legs! – and, of course, a great butt.
How is it different from what you look for in a fashion model?
A swim model can be a bit more muscular with bigger shoulders. A fashion model needs to be lean and defined. Fitting into designer clothes is key.
Why is height always important?
There is a misconception out there that print models can be short. It’s simply untrue. A successful fashion model should be at least 6’1 so he can do all jobs including runway, catalog, advertising and commercials.
Do you find that men from certain countries are more likely to have model potential?
Great models come from all over the world. However, most of the beauties we represent are American. Although, we do have some gorgeous Australians, Brits and Canadians.
How often do you find someone who has the potential for a good career?
It doesn’t come as often as I like. The model has to have determination and be willing to take direction in order to be successful. A pretty face is easy to find. The rest is hard work.
What attracted you to the modeling business?
I loved that I could be creative and work with photographers, designers and interesting people. Also, traveling all around the world since I was nineteen has been a blessing.
Was the goal always to launch your own agency?
I have always wanted to open my own agency. It just had to be at the absolute right time. I feel like huge corporations have ruined our industry. Our models are not just a number on the wall here. They really like the personal attention we offer them.
How competitive does it get between agencies to sign top talent?
Often the larger chain agencies steal models from other agencies or scout them once all the work has been done from someone else. We don’t do that at my agency. We find models have more respect for their agents when they know that they did all the work to get them to the top.
Most agencies will take on 100 guys and girls a year, just to see who rises to the top. Why have you chosen not to do that?
It never works. Quality, not quantity, is our business approach. We would rather work hard on a few models so that each of them can get the attention they deserve. Less is more, trust me. Clients would rather a get a package of thirty great models rather than have to sort through 100 mediocre models.
How competitive is the industry for models?
It is super competitive here in LA. It’s important to pull out all the stops if you want to stand out. Models must bring their A-game to castings.
What is the hardest thing about modeling?
The hardest thing is staying focused. Models should never allow other people to get in their heads and distract them from reaching their goals. They should always take direction from their agent. The second a model starts taking outside advice, that’s the end.
What are your guys doing to keep in shape?
They are doing yoga, pilates, P90-X, hiking Runyon Canyon, swimming and, of course, walking runways around the globe.
What advice would you give to guys who want to be models?
Make sure you fit all the criteria first. Take some photos on your iPhone and submit them into the agencies.
What advice would you give to guys who simply want to look like models this summer?
Get in the gym and get that summer body. Make sure those teeth are nice and white, and get a good tan.