Alexandre de Couët
Ober Altstadt 15
mobile: +41 44 586 86 54
Interview Bestage Models March 2012
Ann from Sarasota Herald-Tribune interviews Alexandre de Couët, representative of BestagersBEST - International Model Agency specialized in the placement of so called Bestagers, Silvermodels, Seniormodels, Generation 50+
Ann: What have been your reasons to start a model agency with this specialization for the senior marketing, being already in the "best age" yourself?
Alexandre:: Don't you think, that's a serious advantage being in the age group & dealing with this age group ?
We both know that this group of age is growing as percentage of the total population & - please excuse me- but in a couple of years you'll join us.
Ann: Have you ever worked as a model yourself?
Alexandre:: Yes, I did it a couple of times already for different clients, and I am still "in the market" (smiling)
Ann: When and how have you been "discovered" as a model?
Alexandre:: By chance a French friend of mine talked to me about a Spain based agency, already specializing in bestagers, and he thought it would be fun to have a closer look and give it a trial.
Ann: So everybody can be a model, just for the fun of it? How old have you been at that time?
Alexandre:: Funnily enough it was just my 56 birthday. Definitely you are right, modeling is not a pure fun thing. It needs a lot of discipline and of taking the whole business serious. Otherwise your agency would not be very happy (smiling knowingly). The Spanish agency gave a thourough look at me in order to find out wether I fit into the market according to their experience, and apparently this was the case.
Ann: So what are the general requirements for interested bestagers, that would like to be listed to your agency?
Alexandre:: Beside the appearance of the person, he or she should be pretty natural, uncomplicated, flexible and definitely with a professional attitude.
Ann: What about the appearance? How should it be?
Alexandre:: Normally there are some basic requirements like certain minimum height (men:180 cm, women: 170 cm ), they should not be overweight, not anorexic, well kept with healty teeth, full hair and good facial expression. The overall impression should be of a fit, healthy and charismatic person. The European and the US-market is a bit different, but everywhere a young looking face with silver hair is striking and very commercial.
Ann: What do bestagers fitting into this description need to work as a more or less professional model?
Alexandre:: We are mainly looking for experienced models that once in their lifetime - even if it is a long time ago - worked in front of the camera, either as model, actor, moderator or anchorman, and know how to behave and pose naturally. They know then, that they need a so-called book or portfolio, consisting of recent professional pictures. We need good material for the production of a comp card in order to present the model to our clients. Sometimes we are scouting "new faces" ourselves to invigorate the market. In that case we advice the new model how to proceed with this career. Usually a model career in this age group will not provide for living costs, but it is a nice job on the side - even though the market expects professional appearance and behaviors of course. For us as an international agency having mostly "direct bookings" (without live castings), it is not possible of course to send private snapshots :-) The whole marketing of the model depends on the photo material and sometimes on video castings as well as recent polaroids (natural photos without retouching and styling showing face and body).
Ann: What are your typical clients?
Alexandre:: For the time being the main clients in senior marketing are coming from pharmacy, health & insurances, banks, wellness and touristic sector as well as luxury goods. But as the consumers are getting older and older, especially in our developed countries this trend is growing still, the need for models of the generation 50+ and 60+ is expanding into all areas of publicity and lifestyle.
Ann: What about fashion? Are you doing runways?
Alexandre:: Oh yes, I love walking in my high heels to show high fashion at the international runways (laughing heartily). No, but honestly, that is not a topic up to now.
Ann: But catalogues?
Alexandre:: Yes, this is coming, as even there they are realizing that it is a big market. People are not only getting older, they do it in style and want to be dressed fashionably, but according to the lifestyle and quality oriented values of this experienced generation.
Ann: How is the normal procedure, if a client is interested in some of your models?
Alexandre:: According to the speccifications of our clients we go through our model database and pick out those, that match the profile. Then we send their comp cards with our recommendations and wait for a short list of the clients. After that normally the negotiations start about fee like daily rate and usage of the pictures. Once agreed upon this, we have to check the disposability of the pre-selected models. They have to give us options for the time frame of the production, until the client decides finally and books the chosen models. The contract is always between model and client directly, even though we do the billing for the model as a service. We are only the intermediaries between the two parties.
Ann: At your website I saw that you offer too "family models" - what is this exactly?
Alexandre:: This is another upcoming market "in between". The normal fashion model career ends already around 30. But as the request for family shoots, like father, mother, kids and sometimes grandparents is also growing, we decided to provide not only for the typical bestagers, but equally for the parent generation of 35+
Ann: What has been your most funny episode in your model career?
Alexandre:: Oh, there have been many amusing scenes, but the one striking me as the most funny, was when they "pimped me up" for a high class party evening outside at the pool- scene with tuxedo and a very accomplished hair styling (at that time it was longer :-)), and the photographer was so intense in his shooting that he let my model partner in a wonderful and costly evening gown and me move more and more back, until we both fell into the pool. Thankfully with heated water :-) These photos of us flying are really spectacular ....
Ann: What do you like about this business:
Alexandre:: One meets new people, what can be the source of new friendships. Normally the shoots are at beautiful and stylish locations, travelling is involved, and furthermore I like the creative ambience that you have, if you work with photographers, advertizing agencies or at film sets. I am very happy that I have found in my "old age", that there is no limit to being useful and even desired ...