At CAVE, we’re committed to the theme of success. Success can come in many different forms and can mean different things to different people. This is a new feature that will introduce our readers to celebrities, athletes, musicians, entrepreneurs, men and women alike, and ask them what success means to them.
Olga Tavarez is a sought-after name in the fashion industry, a talent agent extraordinaire, side-kick to world-renowned talent agent Paul Fisher, entrepreneur, aspiring actress, current VP of The Network Agency, and co-star/producer of the CW modeling agency reality show, Remodeled.
Olga took time out of her busy schedule to talk to us about herself, the TV show, and what it takes to be successful in her line of work.
CAVE: Olga, tell us a bit about yourself, where you grew up and how you got to where you are now.
Olga: I’m from New York City, was born and raised in Upper Manhattan, aka – Washington Heights.
My mother was a pattern maker for all of the major designers and growing up I was always around fashion, and backstage at fashion shows, so falling into this industry felt natural to me.
I work as an agent in New York at DNA and IMG, and then moved to London for a few years as well. Now I reside in Los Angeles, where I work for the Network and use what I’ve learned to help other agencies grow their business.
My personal dream is to end up working in film, I was a film major and still hope to get there someday.
CAVE: How did you first step into agency work?
Olga: I had a friend at a magazine and asked him for any leads or jobs, when I’d finished film school. And he sent me to DNA models. I interviewed and was hired – I ended up loving it, and stayed there for a year. Then, I went to IMG and stayed there for another ten years. Crazy how time flies!
CAVE: Tell us about your work with Paul Fisher and The Network Talent Agency.
Olga: I’m the VP of The Network. And what we do is manage and help agencies in small markets. They are in places where it’s tough to have an outreach to bigger clients. But they are in fact the ones discovering the new faces that go on to become big models. So we help them find, develop and hold on to the amazing models they find, as well as help them place their models internationally. It’s exciting to see them evolve and grow their businesses, and that’s a big part of what the network does. Both Paul and I oversee everything.
CAVE: What are the three most important skills required to be a good talent agent?
Olga: Hmm, I think first and foremost you have to have an eye for it – really recognize talent when you see it. I think it’s a talent in itself to have this skill. Second, truly caring about the talent and wanting them [the clients] to do the highest level of projects, including always being very careful about their image. And third, being extremely detail orientated – because scheduling appointments, castings, jobs, flights, meetings, travel, etc. – is a huge part of what an agent does and it’s important to know how to juggle this without error. Giving someone the wrong flight info could ruin a production for millions of dollars, so something that seems small in detail can have a huge impact if it’s not done correctly. Knowing that every detail needs urgent attention is one thing that agents will know they need to be meticulous with.
CAVE: What does success mean to you?
Olga: Career wise, I think, knowing that I’m doing the best I can and seeing what I do affecting change in a positive way, makes me feel successful.
CAVE: What are some of the biggest challenges of being a talent agent?
Olga: Sometimes the personalities you deal with in this industry can be very intense and cause stress. And sometimes it can be very draining work, because it’s 24/7. The kids you take care of as talent, you really care about, and end up feeling like a parent a lot of time, so that can be just as exhausting as it is rewarding.
CAVE: Who are some of the models you have most enjoyed working with?
Olga: I’m loving the models I’m working with now more than ever before: Shaughnessy, Bobby Rake, Meghan Wiggins, Jordan and Kayla Walker – I just feel so proud and protective of them. Not only are they great models, but they are all amazing and genuinely good people.
CAVE: Is there any celebrity or entrepreneur that you look to for inspiration?
Olga: David Bowie is one of my favourites, he’s the perfect combo of rock, elegance and fashion. And my current favourite film director is Paul Thomas Anderson, and I also look up to Terrence Malick. His films are some of the most beautifully shot movies of all time. Days of Heaven is considered to be his best, but my favorite is Badlands.
CAVE: Do you have any passions other than fashion?
Olga: Film and Movies is my number one thing – before fashion or anything else.
Olga: No regrets, I’m proud of it and if it did come back the only thing I’d change, if we did a second season, is want to see us – the main characters – a bit more of us in our real lives. I think it endears an audience when you see the real people in their real lives – not just business.
CAVE: What new projects do you currently have underway? Are there any new TV shows planned?
Olga: I’m working at the network full time, – but I’m also involved with a film project. It’s called Prince and Ekaj. I’ll be acting and playing a good part – it’s getting a lot of press now so hopefully it will be the next cool thing I’m involved with. (You can see what it’s about here – http://prince-ekaj-the-movie.tumblr.com/)
CAVE: As an entrepreneur, is there any advice you can give to some of our readers out there?
Olga: Work hard, research what you want to do as much as possible and then go for it with complete confidence and no distractions.
You can catch Olga and Paul Fisher on Remodeled, every Monday at 9pm/8c on The CW.