Local talent agency makes the Montana ‘model’ connection
The daughter of a musician and a model-actress, Casey Pobran always had entertainment in her blood—so it was no surprise when the SoCal native found herself working in New York in her early 20s as a model, signed with famed agency Eileen Ford. But even though she enjoyed modeling, Casey loved the business development aspect even more. So, when she left modeling and started a family at a young age, she didn’t stop coming up with business ideas.
After spending some time working as an assistant choreographer for the Miss Universe pageant, Casey and her husband found their way to Montana and fell in love with the state.
“I thought I would make soap,” she laughed. But she didn’t. Instead, she noticed that the modeling market in Montana was untapped, so she went ahead and started her own agency.
Rocky Mountain Entertainment Agency is what the industry calls a “mother agency,” which means that they take on a guiding role for new models. They train them, facilitate the development of their portfolio, introduce them to industry contacts, and help them navigate the sometimes-murky legal waters surrounding the contracting process. Casey began RMEA in 2012 with only three models, whom she trained and represented—but now the agency represents models across the state in six different divisions, serving both out-of-state needs and local ones.
As RMEA has grown and changed over the past five years, so has the modeling industry, which means new models in Montana have access to a lot of opportunity these days.
“Most companies want real product placement, which means they want to hire outside the stereotypical model type,” said Casey. Models in the “curvy” division are taking off with the influence of the body-positivity movement and plus-size models like Ashley Graham; having a large social media presence can also have sway in hiring decisions, whereas before it didn’t. Casey encourages her models to embrace the constant change in the industry and is always looking for ways to connect her models with new types of clients.
And as the industry moves forward, Casey herself keeps RMEA ahead of the curve with a forward-thinking business model that doesn’t exclude smaller, in-state clientele. Local work provides her models with practice, regular work, and consistency while also meeting the growing needs of companies making use of great imagery in their advertising. RMEA is also putting effort toward appealing to more Montana companies with customized rates for shoots with a local reach.
Working in Montana is important to Casey as well because it’s this very sense of community that first drew Casey and her family to Polson. These days, Polson is still RMEA’s home base—Casey spends her summers working remotely from a boat on Flathead Lake.
“Montana is about teamwork,” she added. Each year, the agency holds a modeling camp in Polson, where aspiring models can receive training and get honest advice about starting a modeling career. It’s just the type of support young women, men, and even older folks need to build the confidence to show off their beauty to the world.