What Do I Do?
We had the pleasure of a sit down with New York based Scout at Women Model Manangement Marissa Surmenkow to talk about her daily work life. Thanks Marissa for letting us feature you in our monthly "What Do I Do" series.
What do you do?
I am the North American scout for Women Management; scouting new talent for Women, Supreme and Women/360.
Please describe a typical day.
I am based out of our New York office; so, I split my time between the agency on being on the road. Every work day is a little bit different, which is one of the reasons I love what I do! In the agency, I am responsible for interviewing potential new talent, following up on those who we have scouted and planning future scouting trips! When I am on the road – I attend a variety of street scouting events and visiting local and regional agencies to cast new talent for the agency.
How did you get into your current job?
I went to school for fashion merchandising; but at the time, I had little idea to what I really wanted to do for a career. During my last semester of university, I stumbled upon an internship at Elite Model Management Chicago and 13 years later, I am still loving this business!
Any tips for anyone aspiring to be a model scout?
I believe interning is the best way to find your passion. Many people have an “idea” of what it is like to work in the fashion or model management industry and will find, once involved, it is much different than one might expect.
What skills do you need to bring to be successful at your job?
Patience is key …. We deal with people from all walks of life and the fashion & entertainment industry, at times, moves at a very rapid pace. You need to have patience to deal with the talent and parents; explaining a business that at times has little explanations. Patience to wait for a talent to be ready to take on this journey; many times, we discover someone at 12, 13, 14 years old and need to wait and follow their development till they are 17 or 18.
What’s the best part about your job?
The part of my job I enjoy most is seeing the talent, who had no idea they could be a model, find success – establishing themselves as a business person, achieving financial goals and giving young women the opportunity to travel the world. We also hear countless stories of models bullied in school for their height or body type; and in this business, they can find confidence in their beauty.
What’s the most difficult part of your job?
I see a lot of talent over the course of the year; it’s hard when you really connect with a talent but for whatever reason, it isn’t the right time for the business. This industry is all about timing; I always encourage new talent, no doesn’t always mean never, sometimes it just means not right now.
Does your job involve travelling?
Yes, as a scout I am constantly traveling – for most months, I spend about 2 weeks on the road, 2 weeks in the agency.
What was your best moment in your job?
I don’t know if I can pin point once exact moment; but one that will stand out for me is seeing a model who had a very challenging upbringing, worked 2 jobs to pursue her dreams to be a model and finally making her way to New York. Her very first booking was a huge designer campaign, which is not typical for a brand, new face. Her reaction to the news I will never forget; she fell to the floor crying in joy as she knew that all her hard work and struggles were worth bringing her to this moment. To this day, she remains one of the top models of the industry and it brings me so much joy to have been a part of her journey.
What are your future ambitions?
After 13 years working in the industry; I can’t really see myself doing anything else. I truly am very passionate about what I do and am so honoured to be a part of the Women Management team!