Three Italians Walk Into A Sushi-bar

This sounds like the start of a really bad joke, but I can assure you, it’s not. Instead, this is related to a brand new interview, with three of Milan’s finest. The View Magazine hooked up with Luigi, Benedetta and Alessandro, agents at one of the most successful agencies in the world, ICE Models Milano. Join us and read all about their younger years, the industry, and what they like to do to relax.

TVM: Ciao! How are you? Let’s start easy, who are Luigi, Benedetta and Alessandro?

Luigi: Hi! I am born in Naples and lived there pretty much my entire childhood. Then I moved between Milan and Montreal Canada, and as a typical Napolitan, I wanted to be a pizzaiolo. Tend to think I make a decent pizza, although others might disagree on this, but I am very good in eating it!

Alessandro: Ciao! Haha…yes, Luigi is very good in eating pizza! My background is very different. First studied Industrial Design at the Instituto Europeo di Design in Milan, followed by a two years masters at Central Saint Martins. My dream though, was and still is, to become an airplane pilot. I really love traveling and really love flying.

Benedetta: Hi The View, thank you. I did high school and was really good with languages, particularly English and French. Also some German, although to be honest, the only thing I can seem to remember is “Wie gehts?” haha. Then in university I studied Brand Communications in Fashion and Design. When I was a child I dreamed of being a singer, but the only microphone in my life now is my iPhone, to record whatsapp messages. Now we are three model agents in Milan.

TVM: Continuing on that, what made you become an agent?

Benedetta: I have to thank Michael Giannini for that. He is truly a great agent, introduced me to the business and I am grateful for the opportunity given to me.

Alessandro: I actually happen to roll into it. I was already enjoying my trips to New York, Paris and London, and a close friend and manager for a couple of models, so I thought, I might as well do this full-time.

Luigi: For me it was the natural thing to do. My family started this business and it became my passion early on.

TVM: What would you do, if you have not become agents?

Alessandro: I am sure Luigi will say having a pizzaria! Well, I still love traveling and flying, so I guess I would have been a pilot.

Luigi: Hahaha…actually, no. I have always dreamed about having a luxury cars salon in Miami.

Benedetta: Probably a stylist, or if I can draw, maybe a fashion designer. At least something related with clothes.

TVM: Let’s talk about the business. ICE have different brands, ICE, ICE² and RUN. Can you tell us the differences?

Benedetta: Those are internal divisions. We use ICE for our most commercial jobs, ICE² for the more selected edgy projects, and RUN for clients that are looking for showrooms, fittings, presentations, etc.

TVM: You have a large roster of models, how do you make sure each model get’s good attention and support?

Luigi: Indeed we have a large roster, but we really focus on their lives, and make sure supporting them in building and developing their careers. We are very accessible and models are always welcome to talk with us about things on their mind. We constantly rethink and update their portfolio’s, and present them to national and international clients. Also, we use social media to stay in touch with “our” models and we have great relationships with their mother agencies.

TVM: The industry is constantly evolving. What would you say are the big differences between the past and the present?

Benedetta: As time changes, the whole fashion industry is chasing the change. Years ago there were some well defined “Top Models”. Everybody knows Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Heidi Klum, Kate Moss, embodying the concept of beauty, the perfection of the shapes, and the strength of the temper. For that time, the business was globally raising, increasing, all the budgets involved became higher, there was a general fervor around this. Today, mainly due to technology development, everything is different, everybody can be easily seen online, everybody can have visibility. Now, there are no real top models like the ones in the past, there are some girls who stay on top for a while, then they tend to disappear. This is because the market is offering a lot of new faces every day. Most of the clients like to change their models more frequently. Italy and France were the center of the fashion industry, in the last ten years, New York and London are increasing their business in different ways. Nowadays, most of the photographers, stylist, designers are choosing New York as their main base to work, because most of the full-time models choose to live there (and also the opposite way, models move there because part of the business shifted there). This is really hard for us because budgets in New York are higher than in Italy now, we struggle to keep most of the jobs here, and bring back the fervor.

TVM: Can you share a bit about your workflow? How does a girl get spotted, signed, developed, promoted, presented, and booked?

Alessandro: There is no special or secret sauce or formula. We have a great team of 12 composed of agents and scouts. We travel all around the world to find new talent, if we see one and we think she has the potential to be valuable for a brand, we make contact. Once they are signed and in town, we start building their career and try to book the best suitable jobs. It’s hard work, but feels very rewarding when all goes well.

TVM: What kind of models tend to be very successful?

Benedetta: Our most successful models are the ones with a commercial profile, of course mainly due being an agency focusing on commercial markets. Think of lingerie campaigns, catalogs and lookbooks.

TVM: Looking to the future, in your vision, how would the industry be?

Luigi: I think there is going to be a turnover of people soon. For years, people working in fashion, are always the same (designers, casting directors, models, pr), probably soon things will change, but the system will remain the same. The fashion industry is based on connections, – if you know a lot of people, you have work -, and this fits for every kind of job in the fashion industry. Fashion business is and it will always be unpredictable, fast, undefined. Trends are inspired and set by people and designers, the human mind is really unpredictable, one day you are on top, the day after you might be falling, and is not even your fault.

TVM: After hours of hard work, how do you relax outside the office?

Luigi: I always have a lot of energy, so after the agency, I actually like to workout and maximize energy usage. Then a small dive in the jacuzzi and reading a book.

Alessandro: I enjoy smoking a Shisha (aka hookah, waterpipe), spending quality time with my girlfriend, and riding my motorcycle.

Benedetta: Quality time with my boyfriend. Oh and of course shopping! So as you can see, no bungee jumping, rock climbing or skydiving, we are three “normal” people haha. Oh there is actually one other thing we love to do. Almost every Friday, after a week of hard work, we go to an ‘All you can eat sushi’!

TVM: Thank you so much for this interview, grazie. Lastly, who should we really interview?

Luigi, Alessandro, Benedetta: our two top models and very nice girls, Paula Bulczynska and Bojana Krsmanovic.

ICE Models Milan website