Best known for casting, producing and creative consulting, Andrew Broz has an impressive roster that boasts clients from Vogue to Escada to Playboy. I caught up with Andrew to talk about his impressive background, Kate Moss and the future.
I found it incredibly fascinating how you got started in the business. Tell us about that.
I was fortunate at a very young age, especially coming from a small city in Pennsylvania, to have parents who supported my love for the entertainment industry. I started working as an actor and model when I was 10 and then decided to open a modeling agency AJB Model and Talent Management, at 14 out of my bedroom. I was a precocious kid and it seemed to make a lot of sense at the time. There wasn’t much of a market in Erie so I looked for clients in surrounding cities, scouted models and things just happened from there. When I was 16 I held a modeling convention in Erie. I flew about 20 agents in from Next, Ford, Company, etc., and placed models in different markets. After that, I received a lot of press, especially given I was a teenager, and was offered opportunities in New York to work as an agent at some fantastic agencies. I took advantage of the opportunities and relocated to New York when I was still 16. Soon after, still in my teens, I was an agent in the women’s division at Company Management and Ford Models handling top models and household names including talent such as Lizzy Jagger (Jerry and Mick’s daughter), James King, Frankie Rayder and An Oost.
I went to university in Pennsylvania so I’m aware how rural it can be. How did you scout models and were you taken seriously?
You have to remember this was the nineties prior to social media. I had saved a couple hundred dollars and I took an ad out in the classifieds for models. Was I taken seriously? That was a concern of mine, I mean I was 14. As you mentioned, I wasn’t exactly in a metropolitan city, either. Everyone is so aware of scams but I wasn’t running a scam and I wanted to make people money. I got a PO Box and worked up the courage to meet the people in person. So many people are excited to model in general and I was genuine. I worked really hard to obtain clients and bookings for them. I would call ad agencies and photographers and I contacted companies in Cleveland and Pittsburgh, which were two hours away, and book jobs for my models. I was really proactive about it.
You were obviously very focused and ambitious. Did you have an end goal in mind?
I was going with the flow but I knew I needed and wanted to go to New York to be an agent. At that age, I didn’t know specifics about where I needed to work. One of the agencies I had tremendous respect for was Michael Flutie and Company Management. I was very impressed with the creativity and imaging of that agency. I thought it was fantastic.
How do you define your role in the industry?
My role is constantly evolving, as is this industry. I have had the privilege of working as an agent for some of the top agencies and top models in the business. I have also had the opportunity to work for hundreds of large brands, top photographers, art directors, stylists and designers as a casting director and consultant. If I had to define my role, I would say vast and well-rounded.
A constant criticism leveled at the fashion industry is the lack of diversity whether that be age, weight or race and tokenism. What are your thoughts on this?
That’s a very layered question. I’ve worked both as an agent and also in the casting room. As I mentioned, I think this business is contantly evolving. Do I think it’s perfect with race or ethnicity? No, not at all. Do I think there have been major improvements? Absolutely. There are now cosmetic and advertising campaigns that are using models that weren’t used 10 years ago. That’s a fact however there’s still room for improvement.
I also think that there is room for diversity in age and weight. A lot of mothers and the public and accomplished models in this business are concerned about this. There is a significant age issue in this industry. It wasn’t like that as much before. So things change. I think it’s good that designers will book models from the nineties occasionally for their shows. On a personal level I’m more into models looking like women. I think that also allows younger girls to develop and grow into themselves physically and mentally. There doesn’t need to be such a rush.
Model watchers tend to be obsessed with the issue of “good casting/bad casting”. Do you subscribe to this idea?
Well, someone who is labeled a “model watcher” tends to be obsessed with most things in general. The concept of good vs. bad casting is completely relative. There is no “right” and there is no “wrong”. There are many cooks in that casting kitchen when a decision is made and a model is selected. It’s also important to remember that casting is not based on just a model’s looks alone. Many things often go into selecting talent. For example, many creative people never think about or have the knowledge of the actual sales of the line or company – or maybe have no access to those numbers. I have yet to meet anyone, including myself, that has the actual right to announce something as definitively good or bad casting.
How does it differ working in a more conservative market such as the US versus the UK or Europe?
Of course, there are the obvious differences, as you mentioned the term “conservative”. There are also different laws that must be adhered to in these different markets. Other than that, based on all of my experiences, I do not find my interactions that much different from various countries. Please remember that it is often just the same exact teams of photographers and stylists that work in all of these areas, generally.
Are there any models at the moment you think have potential longevity?
Absolutely. Many will say this industry is not what it was 10 or 20 years ago. I agree. That does not mean models can’t have longevity. There are many current models who are proving to have longevity while balancing a very diverse career, with both commercial and fashion clients. A lot of this credit should be given to their agents and managers as well.
You were involved in getting Kate Moss on the cover of Playboy to celebrate her fortieth birthday. Tell us about that process.
That was a very exciting project to be a part of. The cover that Kate Moss appeared on was for the 60th anniversary of US Playboy. It happened, I believe, to fall around Kate’s birthday, but that was just a nice coincidence. Obviously, given that Playboy was celebrating their 60th year, they wanted an iconic cover. I worked very closely with IMG in order to secure this entire shoot and make certain Kate Moss appeared as the iconic talent that she is for this historical issue. Hugh Hefner always loved Kate and was delighted that this was able to happen. The process was not simple for me, as all of the individuals involved have quite busy schedules – however, it all came together in the end beautifully. Jen Ramey, who manages Kate, was very helpful with everything. Also, it was the first time that Mert and Marcus ever photographed for Playboy, Alex White acted as the stylist and Kate delivered amazing images as she always does. The issue sold in record numbers. I am very proud that I played a role in this and was thrilled upon seeing the images that were published.
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
I have been traveling a lot and, for the past few months, have been busy selling some property in North Carolina and looking after a family member who was quite ill. At the same time, I have been managing talent and casting shoots. However, I am returning to New York full-time in early June and you can expect to see a lot of wonderful things.