Wilhelmina Models has signed two more musical acts — Rae Sremmurd and Rich the Kid — as the agency continues to increase its focus in the celebrity sphere.
Rich the Kid said signing with Wilhelmina will help him be “closer with brands, and also will help me with getting out there more.”
The rapper, who cites Mike Amiri, Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga and Off-White as his favorite brands, says fashion is important to him as a musician because “it’s my appearance, so I feel like fashion plays a big part in music.”
“We’re excited to join the Wilhelmina family; they take risks in the fashion industry the same way we take risks in music,” Rae Sremmurd said in an e-mail. “We got a lot of dope things coming up, so it is going to be cool to see how we can take it to the next level in fashion.”
Rich the Kid, born Dimitri Roger, is a 26-year-old rapper originally from Queens, N.Y., who released his debut album, “The World Is Yours,” earlier this year. He is working on his sophomore album.
Rae Sremmurd is the brother duo of Slim Jxmmi and Swae Lee; they released their third album, “SR3MM,” in May.
The signings are the latest in the agency’s strategic move into the celebrity world, says chief executive officer Bill Wackermann.
“When I came to Wilhelmina about three years ago, our celebrity division really wasn’t as robust as it is now. It was part of my business to really be engaged in the celebrity part of our business,” Wackermann said. “Wilhelmina has always had a celebrity part of our business — we had Beyoncé when she left Destiny’s Child, we had Whitney Houston back in the day, we had Usher, but it had become sort of quiet.”
He sees a fashion partnership as a huge opportunity for a celebrity, one that needs dedicated navigation.
“Fashion is such a world within itself — it’s very specific,” Wackermann said. “We specialize with the celebrity in the fashion and beauty space, and that’s all we represent them for. If it’s a car commercial, that’s not us, But if it has to do with fashion or beauty, that’s where we represent them.”
Existing Wilhelmina musicians include Nicki Minaj, Shawn Mendes and Niall Horan.
“We look for people who have a creative eye and outlook, and that they love fashion,” Wackermann said. “If you’re going to play in the space today, it’s got to feel authentic and it’s got to come from a real place.”