At just 19-years-old, Jason Kanner was working at a nightclub in South Beach when he met the director of Florida-based modeling agency Irene Marie, best known for discovering Niki Taylor. Recognizing his eye for talent, Jason was offered a position as junior agent in their Miami office. From there, Jason joined Boss Models, where he worked with top talent such as Amber Valletta, Angie Harmon, Marcus Schenkenberg and Joel West, and procured contracts with luxury brands such as Calvin Klein, Chanel and Ralph Lauren. Kanner then made his way to Major Model Management where he became the director of the Men’s Division. After nine years at Major, Jason decided to transfer his passion and vast industry knowledge into an agency of his own, Soul Artist Management.
Tell us about the transition from agent to agency owner.
The transition has been quite subtle. I’ve been a director of several agencies for over 20 years. Other than signing the checks and worrying about insurance for my employees, it’s really not much different as I’ve always carried a large amount of responsibility.
Why have you made reviving the male supermodel the focus of your career?
It’s not my primary focus, but certainly one I take seriously. Models have played second fiddle to celebrities for quite some time now and I believe that the public has always enjoyed seeing models on covers, so why not recapture that and bring it back. Models are both exciting and inspiring to people.
Actors have dominated magazine covers and campaigns for years. Do you think there is the same level of interest in models as there was a decade ago?
Up until recently that would be correct. Of late, Harper’s Bazaar and Details magazine have featured models on their covers for important March & September issues. The sales of those issues have been equal to or exceeded their celebrity covers. I believe we are on the cusp of something here that has been proven by the increase in sales and circulation on the newsstands.
Models such as Mark Vanderloo and Markus Schenkenberg epitomized the male model aesthetic of the nineties. By the mid noughties, Hedi Slimane had ushered in a more waifish aesthetic for men. What do you see as the next evolution in male models?
Hedi was really more turn of the century and it was more a Kate Moss/Calvin Klein/Mike Campbell/Christian William /Steven Meisel moment that brought in the waif and grunge moment of the nineties in my opinion. I think the new evolution is going back to the classic, good-looking, Hollywood style; masculine and beautiful.
What do you think makes a model a supermodel?
Industry-wise it would be demand from designers and the advertising agencies to hire a model. I believe to be a Supermodel you must be a chameleon, a muse to designers and photographers. You must have energy, personality and a strong connection with the camera. Models are the silent movie stars of a modern time.
How is managing a model’s career different today than a decade ago?
With social media there is a different level of marketing that takes place and models are savvier today than before. They, the models, are well versed in the business and are a large part of the conversation that transpires in building their brand.
Do you think male models can have the same longevity as their predecessors?
Absolutely! Actually, they can have longer careers than females. Just look at the careers of Markus Schenkenberg and Tyson Beckford. Those are careers that have spanned 20 years. Having proper management has aided this of course.
Do you think male models have the same allure as their female counterparts?
That’s a subjective question. With photographers such as Giampaolo Sgura, Mariano Vivanco, Bruno Staub, Richard Phibbs, Arnaldo Anaya-Lucca, Alasdair McLellan and Matthew Brookes taking beautiful and iconic images of men that last the test of time, we are seeing men’s editorial flourish. The editorial itself is lifted and on par with what the girls are shooting
What does Soul Artist Management offer that’s different to other agencies? What advice do you have for young guys starting off in the business?
We are a true throw-back boutique agency. Despite our newness to the marketplace, the agents on our table have over 20 years of expert management under their belts and work with passion. We offer specific, tailor-made management strategies and have fewer clients compared to the larger, mega-agencies of the past. Our work speaks for itself.
What advice do you have for young guys starting off in the business?
I would advise any new model to finish their education. Educate yourself about the industry at the same time, the brands, the photographers and other models. Keep your ego in check but also know that you have a voice. A career is a true collaboration between all artists involved with the model as muse Bring your voice. Let it be heard.
Learn more at Soul Artist Management