MSA Models, which was founded in 1947 to represent Fit and showroom models, is merging with its two-year-old sister agency, State Management, effective Jan. 1. The combined agency will be called State Management.
According to Bill Ivers, chief operating officer and partner in MSA and State, “This merger is going to allow us to have more streamlined operations in areas that we need to be competitive and achieve success, such as art department personnel, marketing personnel, social media and scouting. It’s a very big agency now and it will help us to better serve the models.”
Ivers joined MSA in 2009 with the intention to expand the business and open up new opportunities, particularly taking advantage of technology with booking management systems. In 2010, MSA made a push into lifestyle/commercial print and kept expanding, experiencing double-digit revenue growth since 2012. MSA’s scouting, led by Meredith Kalisch, has discovered such models as Londone Meyers — no longer with the agency and represented by The Lions — and Alton Mason, a hot newcomer now represented by State.
In 2015, Ivers and his partner, Susan Levine, chief executive officer, founded State, a high-end editorial fashion modeling agency. When State launched a men’s board under industry veteran Karen Belman, it acquired MSA’s men’s board in 2016 and introduced State Men in September, 2017, which was a prelude to this merger. Last year, State Management started representing artists, hair stylists and prop stylists to further penetrate the world of editorial and advertising, he said.
Effective Jan. 1, there will be men’s, women’s and artists’ boards under a single brand. “We are putting them together to move forward with the State name and identity,” Ivers said. At present, State represents 25 female models, 50 male models and eight artists in New York, and 35 women, 50 men and 25 artists in Los Angeles. MSA has about 255 active models on its boards.
One of the artists State represents in New York is Cohl Katz, a celebrity hair and makeup artist whose clients include Jodie Foster, Tom Hanks and Christian Bale. Among the models State represents in Los Angeles are Tony Ward, Roch Barbot, Asiana Scott and Khadija Nicholas.
The combined agency will be based at 200 West 41st Street. State had been renting part of MSA’s space there, and now the combined agency will take over more space in the building to accommodate further expansion. MSA launched an office in Los Angeles in 2014, and the combined company will continue to operate there as well.
There are presently 32 employees at MSA and eight at State, in both New York and Los Angeles.
The agency will represent models in several different categories including Main, Direct, Classic (ages 35-50), Curve, Petites, Sports and Fitness, Lifestyle and Fit.
“One of the things we talk about here is the culture of our company. We create a supportive environment. The team approaches talent management with a simple but effective mantra: we work for our model and talent clients, not the other way around,” Ivers said.