8 Modeling Agencies in Chicago You Should Know

8 Modeling Agencies in Chicago You Should Know

Known as the ‘Windy City’ and the midwestern hub of the United States, Chicago is a major contender in bringing in some of the best modeling talent in the country. With that being said, there are over dozens of different modeling agencies in Chicago city walls as well as the surrounding metropolitan area. While some of these agencies happen to be associating offices to their New York City or Los Angeles headquarters, some are in fact native to the Chicago area. The local Chicago agencies too, hold a significant amount of weight in attracting the high end clientele.

From representing big brands, all varieties of fashion, beauty, and lux, Chicago-based firms cover it all. Below, we review eight of the top modeling agencies with superior standing and talent representation located in the Chicago area. To gain more insight, we’ll discuss each agency’s history as well as current news and how to potentially become scouted.

  1. MP Management

Address: 400 North Michigan Ave, Suite 700, Chicago, IL 60611
Phone Number: 312-943-3226
Email: info@mp-factor.com
Open Call Info: Monday through Friday at 2:00pm

History – Before diving into the history of MP Managements presence in Chicago, let’s talk about Factor Chosen Model Management. Before this boutique modeling agency was acquired by MP Management, Factor Chosen was one of the most prestigious modeling agencies in Chicago. As Factor Chosen was in operation for over thirty years before acquisition (with locations also in Los Angeles and Atlanta), it’s fair to say they had a variety of talent signed. Their clients ranged from both male and female models, hair, nail and makeup artists, as well as wardrobe, food and prop stylist. As Factor ranged in representation, MP Management CEO noted how acquiring Factor Chosen would help expand their networks representation across multiple categories throughout the United States, especially in Chicago.

Where They Are Now – MP Management has agencies all over the world including: Milan, Paris, Miami, Stockholm, Atlanta and Los Angeles in addition to Chicago. Beside representing model and associating talent, MP Management is a full network of management covering clients in all media (such as film, music, and entertainment), fashion (both high-end and luxury), technology and even real estate (primarily in corporate). With a foothold in the midwest, MP Management is one of the top modeling agencies in Chicago. The team is comprised of over 21 team members and led by President Jen Berendsen.

Past and Current Talent – On the current roster, Jessica Whitlow a Vogue cover model is currently being represented by MP Management Chicago. Additionally multi-time Elle cover model Ava Smith is represented by MP Management Chicago. Also on the roster are popular lifestyle models, Amanda Murphy, and Yoonmi Sun, along with high-end fashion (like Givenchy) and lux models such as Meghan Roche and Shanelle Nyasiase.

How To Be Scouted – Located in the Wrigley Building (400 North Michigan Ave, Suite 700, Chicago, IL 60611), MP Management in Chicago hold open call auditions every Monday through Friday at 2:00PM. Additionally, the company can be reached by both phone number (312-943-3226) or email (info@mp-factor.com). Please note that there are age requirements to attending an open call and seeking representation, for females the age is fourteen and over. The requirement for males to attend or inquire are sixteen and over.

  1. BMG Models

Address: 456 North May Street, Chicago, IL 60642
Phone Number: 312-829-9100
Email: chicago@bmgmodels.com
Open Call Info: Monday through Friday from 4:00 – 4:30pm

History – Started in the year 1992 BMG Models continue to pave paths as one of the top modeling agencies in Chicago, even though its agency is relatively new to the scene. Since opening, BMG prided itself on premium service, care and quality attention to their clients. In a matter of only twenty six years, BMG Models has grown to represent over 1,400 individuals all over the world. The far reach and range in client base also has to do with the quantity of agencies located throughout the United States (in addition to Chicago) including: various locations in Asia, Milan, New York, London, Miami, Milwaukee, Atlanta and Los Angeles.

Where They Are Now –  According to President and Chief Operating Officer Gregory Brown, BMG Models is way more than a talent representation agency. The core fundamentals of the company over the last twenty six years expanded and grew to become one of true ethics in the field. In addition to supporting and showing true client care and loyalty, BMG proves itself as an industry leader. By promoting and encouraging responsibility throughout the community, they’ve landed themselves on our list of the top modeling agencies in Chicago.

Past and Current Talent – BMG Chicago represents a wide range of talent, as they cover both male and female for lifestyle and portrait leaders as well as children and teen models. Some include: Diesel male models, as well as Marie Claire and Elle female models.  

How To Be Scouted – Located at 456 North May Street, BMG models in Chicago host an open call every week day from 4:00pm to 4:30pm for both male and female talent. In order to be considered, female models must be between 5 ‘8” to 5’11” while male models 5’11” to 6’3”. BMG also does make particular exceptions for both men and women who are over 5’6”. Chicago’s office also hold auditions and accepts online submissions from Plus models: height 5’8” to 5’10 sizes twelve to eighteen. Children submissions are also accepted, anywhere from newborn to fifteen years old.

  1. Ford Models

Address: 311 West Superior Street, Suite 444, Chicago, IL 60654
Phone Number: 312-243-9400
Email: chicago@fordmodels.com
Open Call Info: Monday through Friday from 2:00 – 4:00pm

History – The iconic Ford Modeling agency is one of the creams of the crop when it comes to representing some of the best talent from around the world. While the headquarters are based out of New York City, where they were started back in 1946 by Eileen and Jerry Ford, their midwest office is one of the top modeling agencies in Chicago. Back when first starting their company, the Ford Family would let teenage models stay in their home in New York City to complete jobs in and around the city. As the industry leaders from the beginning of the heightened era of modeling, Ford was the first agency to pay their talent ahead of time before completing their jobs. Given that Ford was monopolizing model talent for a while, it would only be a matter of time before other agencies started to follow. But! The model wars never stopped Ford from gaining the best of the best. Ford held the Ford Supermodel World Contest in 1980, that brought in over 60,000 models ever year.

Where They Are Now –  Ford now has four agency locations throughout the world. These locations include: New York City (headquarter), Los Angeles, Paris, and Chicago. Besides being a forefront in model talent and representation in various fields (like fashion, beauty, branding, and publication content), Ford Models has extended a branch of its agency to associating professions to the fashion and beauty industry. Ford now will represent professionals such as hair stylist, fashion stylist, makeup artist, photographers, art directors, prop designers and stylers, set stylist and even manicurist. Covering a wide range and variety of individuals who also need and seek out representation.

Past and Current Talent – Ford Models represent talent like Channing Tatum and icon Christy Turlington. Ford is also known for the success of these past iconic models: Rachel Hunter (in fact being with Ford is a reason she received a working contract with Covergirl), Brooke Shields, Ali MacGraw, Beverly Johnson, Suzy Parker, Christie Brinkley and Candice Bergen.  

How To Be Scouted – Ford Models hold open casting calls in Chicago from 2pm to 4pm on every day of the work week (Monday through Friday). Additionally Ford has an online form. Ford’s recommends you showcasing your natural beauty, and not hiding behind makeup and elaborate outfits/fashion.

  1. Willhelmina International

Address: 64 East Walton Street, 3rd Floor, Chicago, IL 60611
Phone Number: 312-667-9152
Email: press@wilhelmina.com
Open Call Info: Wednesday and Friday at 4:00pm

History – Previously referred to as  Wilhelmina Models, Wilhelmina International is a full service talent and modeling agency which is headquartered in New York City, with offices all over the world. Their midwestern hub, is one of the top modeling agencies in Chicago. The headquarters was founded in 1967 by Wilhelmina Cooper and clients range from traditional models, to actors/actress, musicians, artists and even athletes. From its founding, Wilhelmina Models (and International) have undergone multiple changes to get it to the agency it is today. After Wilhelmina’s passing, the company was sold off to the agency’s business partners then bought in 1989 for four million dollars to Horst-Dieter Esch who had the ideal of merging Wilhelmina, Elite, and Ford into one large agency. When that fell through, Esch sold his stake to New Century. It was then that Wilhelmina Models changed its name to Wilhelmina International. In 2009, the agency became a publicly traded company under the ticker symbol WHLM. In 2012 Wilhelmina launched an artist division that caters to both film and musical talent. Most recently, in 2016, Aperture was launched by Wilhelmina that expands not only to film and music, but commercial representation.

Where They Are Now –  Wilhelmina Models opened its doors in Chicago in 2016 with only six employees. Interesting fact, Wilhelmina Models Chicago first announced its opening by claiming that their scouts would be looking for potential talent at the (at the time) upcoming Pitchfork Festival. It recommending aspiring models and talent dress body conscious, natural, and with minimal makeup. Many turned up for a chance to be the next face of Wilhelmina. This experience, set the way for how the area’s agency works. Looking to seek talent in every avenue to ensure they’re being both all-inclusive and not missing any possible gems.

Past and Current Talent – Some of the most notable talent signed under Wilhelmina includes: Leona Lewis, Nicki Minaj, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, Shawn Mendes, and One Direction star Niall Horan. Wilhelmina also represents the twenty second winner of Dancing With The Stars, Nyle DiMarco.

How To Be Scouted – Wilhelmina has what is known as Willy scouts that seek their potential new talent (like at the trendiest music festivals). The Chicago location has open calls every Wednesday and Friday at 4:00pm. Interest applicants can also apply online using this form.

  1. 10 MGMT

Address: 212 North Sangamon Street, Chicago, IL 60607
Phone Number: 312-618-7474
Email:  hello@10MGMT.com
Open Call Info: No open calls available

History – Since 10 MGMT is a relative newbie in the modeling agencies of Chicago scene, only opening its doors in 2013, it doesn’t have too long of a history. Although, even with it’s five years in the industry, 10 MGMT has made quite a name for itself and continues to bring in incredible and noteworthy talent. One of the reasons for the success may be attributed to the owner who is former model and agent, David Sanchez. His ability to know life in front of and behind the camera, help his clients acclimate into the industry.

Where They Are Now –  While they haven’t been around long, 10 MGMT is in a great position at the moment. They represent some of the best individuals in both the modeling and entertainment business. Plus, their client roster isn’t limited to model and movie stars. 10 MGMT also represents wardrobe stylist, hair stylist, makeup artist and photographers. A huge section of 10 MGMT’s representation also covers social media influencers, as they acknowledge the industry is moving more and more towards brands looking for influencers to showcase their products.

Past and Current Talent – 10 MGMT’s roster includes a wide variety of both female and male models that cover lifestyle, branding, and portrait content. Some of 10 MGMT’s notable influencers include: Alexis Gilbert, Alissa Laderer, Beata Komoni, Brianna Peeples, Chris Garafola, Diggy Moreland, Emma Fried, Filip Hudzik, Tina Brady, and Tynan Leachman.

How To Be Scouted – To be considered for 10 MGMT, those interested can fill out the online submission form, here. Unfortunately they’re not holding opening calls at the moment.

  1. Lily’s Talent Agency

Address: 1017 West Washington Boulevard #2C, Chicago, IL 60607
Phone Number: 312-601-2345
Email:  info@lilystalent.com
Open Call Info: No open calls available

History – Notably not known as a typical or average full-service talent management agency, especially compared to the listed modeling agencies in Chicago. Lily’s Talent Agency, since its opening, has prized itself on twenty four hour availability, an online talent database, casting space, and their very own (personal) recording studio. Along with offering the above long list of benefits, Lily’s Talent also offers connections with SAG, AFTRA, EQUITY, AFM, and WGA. Additionally, they’ve earned an MBE certifications (Minority Business Enterprise).

Where They Are Now – Lily’s Talent Agency covers individuals from all different concentrations in the entertainment industry. From men and women in modeling, television, film, artist, and even voice-over actors, Lilys covers them all. As their agency has current access to wide networks, they’re able to offer their clients and roster a wide scope of casting calls and job opportunities.

Past and Current Talent – Some of the individuals represented by Lily’s Talent Agency include makeup artist who have covered talent like Connie Britton. Lily’s Talent Agency also represents voice over actors who have been featured in commercials, celebrity matches, trailers, and animation films.

How To Be Scouted – To be considered for Lily’s Talent Agency, those interested can fill out the online submission form, here. Unfortunately, they’re not holding opening calls at the moment.

  1. Stewart Talent

Address: 400 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 700, Chicago, IL 60611
Phone Number: 312-943-3131
Email:  chicago.legit@stwearttalent.com
Open Call Info: No open calls available

History – Offering a wide variety of talent across multiple entertainment industries (including: modeling, television, film, theater, voice-over, commercial, print, directors, stand up comics and stylists), Stewart Talent has earned itself quite a name amongst the modeling agencies in Chicago. Stewart Talent has locations in Atlanta, Los Angeles and New York City in addition to Chicago. What’s special about Stewart to the Windy City, is that it was founded in Chicago over thirty five years ago in 1983 by Jane Stewart. Since then, they’ve held a foothold in the midwest.

Where They Are Now –  With the growth and success of being one of the top modeling agencies in Chicago, Stewart Talent started expanding and is now well known throughout the United States. The Los Angeles office opened only recently, with the New York City office being around the last eleven years (as the northeastern hub). And finally Atlanta (as the southeastern hub) for the last five years.

Past and Current Talent – Stewart Agencies represents directors like: David H. bell, LiLi-Anne Brown, Scott Weinstein, Time Edward-Rhoze, and Tom Mullen. They also represent a wide variety of both male and female television, film, and theater talent. Additionally, their roster of stand up comedians include: Colt Cabana, Drew Frees, Kristen Toomey, and Zako Ryan.

How To Be Scouted – Stewart talent recommends sending them their online submission page filled out and either mailed to their address (below) or submitted via email.

*For those looking to have a submission for a position of a voice over talent. Stewart Talent recommends sending a voiceover demo in MP3 formal with a short bio and link to your website via the email, vo@stewarttalent.com.  

  1. Shirley Hamilton Talent Inc.

Address: 333 East Ontario Street #302B, Chicago, IL 60611
Phone Number: 312-787-4700
Email:  SHIsubmissions@gmail.com
Open Call Info: No open calls available

History – Located on Ontario Street, Shirley Hamilton Talent Inc has a long standing history. Started by Shirley Hamilton (after acquiring the business back in the 1950’s) started her modeling career after the great depression had completely wiped her family’s middle class funds and savings. Back in those days, modeling was the best trade for a young girl to go into without any specific education or trade background. As Shirley took to the industry, she later rose in the rankings, married a photographer, and became a household name starting her own talent agency.

Where They Are Now –  Shirley Hamilton Talent Inc. is currently run by Lynne Hamilton co-owner and agency director who has turned Lily Talent into one of the A+ modeling agencies in Chicago. Growing up learning from Shirley, she was able to take on the company and continue the legacy Shirley had left behind. Lynne is excellent at managing client relationships, as well as communicating and creating opportunities with ad agencies, producers (both print and film), as well as casting directors

Past and Current Talent – Some of Lily Hamilton’s male talent include: Patrick Agada, Lupe Aguirre, Owais Ahmed, Jimme Akins, and Ansa Akyea. Some of the recognizable female cast include: Sarah Adler, Cynthia Abernathy, Angelica Acebed, and Emily Bennet.

How To Be Scouted – Something unique that Lily Hamilton Talent Inc offers an internship program. The program last for three months and covers the management aspect of a talent agency. This is great for those individuals looking to work for the entertainment industry but are not looking to be a talent, but rather representing talent. Those who are interested can apply through their online form, here. For those interested in becoming a part of Lily Hamilton’s roster on the talent side, must submit all necessary documentation from their webpage (here) in order to be considered. Unfortunately, Lily Hamilton Talent Inc does not host open calls or drop in auditions.

*It’s important to know, many companies or individuals can pose themselves as scouts for any of the listed modeling agencies in Chicago. Before sending any information or money, please check with the listed agencies representatives on the main website. These agencies will likely not ask for money, or inappropriate or lingerie images — so these would be automatic red flags.

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