Fashion editorials would be nothing without their models—they help set the tone for the spread and make the clothes come to life, after all. But selecting those models is no easy feat, given how many interesting faces there are to choose from these days.
That’s where the bookings director comes in, a little-known role devoted entirely to this task and more. What exactly does that entail? Well, we asked Lara Bonomo, the veteran bookings director at Teen Vogue (she’s been there for 13 years!), to give us the lowdown on her awesome gig.
Scroll down to find out what she had to say!
1. What exactly does a bookings director do?
"As bookings director, I handle all the model casting for Teen Vogue and TeenVogue.com, as well as book the hair and makeup for the entire magazine. It's my job to know not only all the new and established models but also all the emerging hair and makeup talents."
2. How'd you get your start as a bookings editor?
"I was working at a model agency assisting the director of new faces and heard that the bookings assistant position at Mademoiselle magazine was available. I sent my résumé, had the opportunity to interview, and got the job. I’ve loved casting ever since!"
3. Was it something you always knew you wanted to do?
"I always loved magazines, and the models were my favorite part of flipping through. I loved the way they brought the clothes to life and how the pages altogether told a story.
"That said, when I graduated from college, I didn't know if I wanted to go into advertising, publishing, television production, etc.—I was all over the place. I cast a wide net and sent my résumé all over, taking as many interviews [as I could], whether they had an actual job opening or [just] offered an informational meeting. I couldn’t be happier with the way everything has unfolded."
3. Can you walk me through an average day in your job?
"On a typical day, I can see up to 10 models in my office. I’ll sit with them to get to know them a bit and take [pictures] of them so I remember them for future shoots. I also speak with photographers and stylists to decide on which models and hair and makeup people we would like to use in upcoming stories. Then I negotiate with agents worldwide to see who will actually be available to do the shoots.
"I also meet with other Teen Vogue and TeenVogue.com editors about what they’re working on and how I can contribute from a model angle."
4. What's the best part of your job?
"Working with the up-and-coming models just starting out in the business. Giving someone their big break is an amazing feeling—when you see a girl that you know is so right for this magazine and have the feeling that she’ll go far in the industry. It’s very exciting!"
5. What's the most challenging part of your job?
“I see so many great models at Teen Vogue, and only a small fraction actually end up on the pages of the magazine. We simply don't have [room] in each issue to feature everyone we’d like, so it’s tough to choose who we’ll feature and who we’ll pass on. Thankfully we now have TeenVogue.com, where we can feature more of our favorites.”
6. How do you ultimately decide which models to feature in the magazine?
“It's a collaboration between the magazine and the photo team hired for each job. For each story, there is a vision. The photographer, stylist, creative director, and I trade ideas about who would be great to shoot. I speak with the agents to see what the girls we’re considering have been up to, where they are, and if we can meet them. Then we make the best choice. It’s a team effort.”
7. Which models are you loving most right now?
“I love Karlie Kloss. Aside from her great talent as a model, I love that she gives back with—among other ventures—Kode With Karlie and Karlie’s Kookies.
"I also love the three girls we had on our August 2015 cover—Aya Jones, Imaan Hammam, and Lineisy Montero. Oh, and Molly Bair—can't forget her. She’s an atypical beauty who is really shaking things up.”
8. What's been your wildest or most memorable experience as a bookings editor?
“Meeting supermodel and icon Christie Brinkley and realizing how incredibly kind and down-to-earth she is. She was amazing!”
Would you ever consider being a bookings editor? Sound off in the comments, and shop some of our favorite model-centric books, below!