The Ford Modeling Agency, or as it is known today Ford Models, is an American international modeling agency based in New York City. It was established in 1946 by Eileen Ford and her husband Gerard W. Ford.
Ford Models was started in 1946 by Eileen and Gerard W. "Jerry" Ford. Ford was the first company to advance their models' money-owed by jobs that had been completed but not yet paid. The Ford family had the tradition of allowing teenage models who originate far from New York City to stay in their home.
The company was the pre-eminent New York agency until John Casablancas of Elite Model Management opened up in the city, leading to the "model wars" of the 1980s. Ford, like many of the original agencies of the 1970s, now has to compete with a broad field of contenders, such as Women, IMG and DNA.
The agency has represented a diverse list of models and celebrities. In 1980, the company established the Ford Supermodel of the World Contest that attracted more than 60,000 hopefuls annually from around the world. Today, the contest lives on in the form of the annual V/VMan Ford Model Search run in conjunction with the 2 Visionaire publications.
Eileen and Jerry began the business in their home. Katie Ford took over in 1995 after working in the agency for 16 years. In 2007, John Caplan became Ford Models' chief executive officer. After leaving the company, Katie Ford became Global Ambassador for the anti-slavery/anti-human trafficking organization Free the Slaves.
In recent years, the company has diversified through Ford Artists to represent talent in the hair, makeup and wardrobe industries. It has also promoted itself through its social media platform, which includes the Ford Models Blog, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Ford Models has also lent its name to an imprint of Random House books, which created a series of teen novels that served to try and glamorize working with the agency.
In recent years the company has diversified into other professions related to the fashion industry through Ford Artists. They represent hair stylists, makeup artists, manicurists, stylists, set designers, prop stylists, art directors, and photographers. Ford Artists locations include: Chicago and Miami.
In addition to the New York City headquarters, Ford Models has offices in Paris, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, and Phoenix, known as Ford RBA (Robert Black Agency).
In 2000, Magnum Sports and Entertainment bought 80% of the agency. In 2007, Stone Tower Equity Partners made an investment in the company. Stone Tower was later renamed Altpoint Capital Partners.
Ford's clients have included: