No Agency New York Interview
Right before the craziness of New York Fashion Week began, we hosted the groundbreaking talent management company, No Agency New York, along with its friends and clients, for an intimate dinner at Studio. We’ve been fans of No Agency New York for a while — one of its clients, Anajah, performed at our Valentine’s Party earlier this year, and we’ve long admired the way in which co-founder Alex Tsebelis and his team seamlessly interweave the worlds of fashion, film, media, and advertising to create unforgettable content. We sat down with No Agency to talk about how the company got started, and how the role of the creative agency has evolved in the Instagram era.
FH NY: What, who and where is No Agency New York?
NO: No Agency New York is a creative modeling agency – emphasis on creative.
FH NY: Who was the first model you represented at No?
NO: Vera Bulder was the first model we represented, and the group came together naturally from there.
FH NY: How did it all start? Did you know people who were working and receiving requests, and that there was a need for someone else to negotiate rates and terms on their behalf?
NO: Yes! The people we worked with were definitely receiving interest, but it was by bringing the group together and forming relationships with casting directors, outlets, and brands that we managed to bring everyone to another level.
FH NY: Why the “No” ?
NO: We were listening to a lot of No Wave music and it struck a chord – “No” is a rejection of many of the traditional rules of the industry, but it doesn’t represent a lack of knowledge of those rules.
FH NY: Each of your models also has their own career separate from modeling. It seems like No Agency New York works to help them develop and progress beyond modeling. Why is this important to you?
NO: It wouldn’t be interesting to us to work with people who were only interested in modeling. The modeling aspect is sometimes the least exciting part of what we do, no shade.
FH NY: Is there a song that best represents No Agency?
NO: Probably Big Ego’s by Dr. Dre and Hittman
FH NY: Is there a line from a movie that best represents the agency’s M.O.?
NO: There’s a quote from Olivier Assayas’ Carlos [a miniseries] that we think about a lot.
Carlos: We have to commit.
Friend: Commit to what?
Carlos: To the revolution.
Friend: How do you mean? By covert actions?
Carlos: By resistance. I’ve formed a group. I want you to join us.
Friend: What kind of group?
Carlos: I can’t tell you yet. But we’re not nihilists.
FH NY: We were very happy to have No Agency New York host its first pre-fashion week dinner with us at Freehand. It felt so intimate — like we were all a family. Do you feel like No Agency New York is a family?
NO: The dinner was amazing — we all had so much fun. No Agency is like a family — even down to how some people don’t live in New York now and we miss seeing them. Because the dinner was right before fashion week, some people who aren’t normally in town got to be there, and everything had a fun Thanksgiving energy.
FH NY: No Agency New York art directed a multi faceted show package this season, which was a timeline of evolving methods of photography & self-portraiture. What was the inspiration behind this?
NO: As we grow, it gets more and more complicated to bring everyone together, so we wanted to create something that would be reproducible from London to L.A. But at the same time, we also wanted to really push the quality of what was achievable in a selfie. We shot in RAW and edited the digital negatives, which is how we were able to reproduce the selfies on 11×14 photo paper.
FH NY: In a climate of influencer gifting and Instagram selfies and sponsored ads , what made you decide to risk using an element of this sponsored culture?
NO: We love sponsored culture, and worked with great sponsors on the show package. Finding new ways to present information digitally is essential to what we do, and by releasing the show package solely through Instagram, we were able to circumvent the traditional fashion model / fashion press model. Phew.
FH NY: Favorite snacks of No Agency New York?
NO: Big bottle of sparkling water and an Arnold Palmer at The Smile.
FH NY: Favorite hotel hangout of No Agency New York (ahem hint cough)?
NO: Definitely the Freehand.
No Agency on IG: @noagency.nyc
Photo Credit: Gabbriette Bechtel