Talent Agent Victorya Wagner, also known as The Talent Booker, Queen of all Cards and Founder of Kevlar Rose Agency is shaking up the entertainment industry one booking at a time. The multifaceted boss is dedicated to diversity and challenging the status quo–serving as a voice for overlooked talent. We got to sit with the brilliant Victorya and learn all her super powers.
TZ: We alway like to start with getting to you your background. Tell us a little of your story. What was your upbringing like?
Victorya: Oh, I could talk about this for hours — I’m just a queer girl born in Oakland and raised in Atlanta. I was surrounded by artists and old folks who spoke in southern syllogism. Growing up I was called a Barbie because I enjoyed being helpful to everyone and just being the ultimate valley girl (laughs). I was the dancer and creative doer in the family who cared about animals with a green thumb. I grew up in the church eating elote and thank God I did. “
TZ: What did you want to be as a kid?
Victorya: A Veterinarian – I volunteered at Atlanta and San Francisco Animal Shelters a lot.
TZ: When did you know you wanted to work in the fashion industry?
Victorya: Around 7, I loved telling my family what they were going to wear to work, playing with color design for nails and interior, and always planned the back to school runway shows and designing home floor plans on grid paper.
TZ: You are the founder and Agency Director of Kevlar Rose Agency, of all the careers in the industry; how did you decide on starting a modeling and talent agency?
Victorya: I went to school for Business. I’ve always known I was going to own a fashion business because I have a unique take on fashion models, casting, movement and placement. Having faith in my vision gave me the confidence to start an agency and see it through.
TZ: How did you come up with the name?
Victorya: Everyone called me rosey and everyone knew I didn’t play around with my little black book. In 2011, when I was managing the Clermont Twins I was playing cards with ex-marines and we threw out the name, Kevlar, Aka don’t play with us because we’re tough when it comes to business. I added Rose because we’re millennials and not old industry farts.
TZ: In a time where Diversity and inclusion feels like it’s trending in the fashion industry, what are some key identifiers that a brand is tokenizing black talent?
Victorya: Like most of the agencies in the South. If they only represent 1-4 black models out of 50 and they’re barely getting work, they’re probably tokenized. If an agency or a client doesn’t represent diversity on their social media or website, I won’t work with them.
TZ: As someone who has a lot of experience in the industry, have you seen any great improvements in the industry for Black and Brown people?
Victorya: Very very slowly. In 2017, a CEO of a luxury showroom told us that the “Afro” is in. (laughs) I hope she learned we’ve always been in and we aren’t going anywhere. The industry is still comical but I’m not worried about them.
TZ: What work still needs to be done?
Victorya: The industry needs to extend creative and financial resources to schools, communities and independent small businesses and make the qualifications without so many hoops.
TZL: Modeling has changed over the years and how talent gets discovered has also changed. What are someways that aspiring models can set themselves apart and sign on with an agency?
Victorya: This is tough because a lot of models grew up with social media so they think fame is “instant”, when the 90’s supermodels put in a ton of hard work. KR stands on hard work and putting your skills into action that equals a successful talent. If you focus on your lane and create the necessary content to market yourself, you’ll get there.
TZ: What are key ways talent can identify if an agency is a good fit for them?
Victorya: Intuition, do they have working models and research their credibility.
TZ: What have been some of the challenges you’ve faced during your time as an entrepreneur, what do you wish you knew when you started that you now know?
Victorya: Just to start. You will never have all the answers, you have to just start creating the vision you see. Don’t be so much of a perfectionist either. You’re already more than enough.
TZ: How have you overcome those challenges?
Victorya: I overcome challenges through solitude and therapy.
TZ: What do you believe is your purpose as an entrepreneur?
Victorya: I love the word Purpose. I grew up knowing I was destined to teach and motivate others, but I never knew my final destination. It went from playing Secretary at age 6, to Captain of Cheer and Dance Teams in middle and high school to Vice President of DCT, Secretary then President of Keystone Leadership. My purpose now in Fashion has been developing the “unseen” models and placing them in advertising & runways around the world.
TZ: Where do you see Kevlar Rose Agency 10 years from now?
Victorya: Wow! 10 years from now will be a huge dent in our journey. This December marks the start of Year 7 and I’m grateful for everyone we work with. So by 2023 we’ll have offices in LA, MIA, PARIS, and Africa would be insane. We’re connected, so I see it in our future.
TZ: You’ve worked with some incredible talent, what do you look for when signing a model?
Victorya: Thank you! We’re always working with unique folks, people who can express themselves, showcase different beauty & skin tones, heights and sizes. If its’ giving model vibes we are here for it.
TZ: Can you name a time in your business where you learned a life lesson?
Victorya: There’s life lessons everyday I can’t think of anyone specific. I’m in a soft period of my life so I learn and keep it moving.
TZ: If you were not an entrepreneur working in the fashion space, what would you be doing?
Victorya: I’m also a Casting Director in Film, A Freelance Creative Movement Director, one day I’ll go teach little girls ballet. My other hats would be a Florist, Architecture Designer, and a Veterinarian.
TZ: You recently did the casting for Tiwa Savage and Brandy’s music video “Somebody’s Son.” That is amazing! Tell us more about that experience and the creative process behind the casting vision.
Victorya: Thank you, to be honest – it was a lot of fun. With every casting, I select from our talent rolodex the first few models I feel that would be perfect for it. I add a few more faces and then we confirm the model’s dates. Typically, we already know their schedule 3 months in advance, because castings can sometimes only give you 72 hours. So that’s also a decision to make of who’s available and who will serve! I love sticky notes! – On my office wall, I’ll create a board of characters and I add potential talent for each one. It always reminds me of a football play on a chalkboard.
TZ: What project are you most proud of, why?
Victorya: My most favorite booking is LOVE ANNIVERSARY 25TH Magazine in 2018. I connected with a lot of the industry in my early 20’s, knowing I wanted to work with them but didn’t have a business till 2015. Keeping up with relationships via social media, email, and in-person led me to some of my favorite bookings. We were leaving New York Fashion Week and received confirmation that India was going to London. It was originally for a competition to be signed to a NYC Agency, but the blessing fairies said let there be light, your model can still come. Naomi Campbell & Adwoa Aboah was on the cover of this magazine, they were also on #LOVEME20 sets. India was dripped in Chanel before Karl Lagerfeld passed, Rest In Peace. When I saw the Movement Choreographer, Les Childs, on the call sheet I gasped. Last but not least, KR’s backbone is based on working with the greats. We’ve study them, we take our own perception, and we’re on the journey of becoming one of the iconic Mother Agents. All of that to say, India was Photographed by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott. Thank you so much to Editor-in-Chief Harriet Verney and my fave boss babe, Anita Bitton, with Establishment New York for always believing in me. Little did I know, I signed another model 2 years later and I recognized she was the 2nd model to leave Atlanta to London for the Love Magazine. What a full circle. #LOVEME20 was a very special gig in so many ways. Thanks for coming to my “Be True To You” Ted Talk (laughs).
TZ: Who are some of the people who’ve influenced you in this industry?
Victorya: Tyra Banks – I don’t care how much people talk shit, she paved the way. Kelly Cutrone – She was the first to review India and submit us for NYFW. Bethann Hardison – I’m hoping to have a lunch date with her one day. Those are just my top 3.
TZ: What items can you not leave the house without?
Victorya: My cell phone is unfortunately my life bank and at this point, Sedona, my dog comes with me everywhere.
TZ: What’s your daily self- care routine?
Victorya: My cell phone is unfortunately my life bank and at this point, Sedona, my dog comes with me everywhere.Short List: Pray, Stretch, Meditate, Morning Skincare, Morning Dance, Breakfast, Work, Nap with Dog, Work, Sun, Break, Lunch, Meetings, Smoke break at 6pm. The evening is mine.
TZ: What advice would you give to new entrepreneurs of all industries?
Victorya: Grind Culture is WACK. Nap Ministry is where it’s at.
TZ: Can you discuss upcoming projects, events or collaborations?
Victorya: The only thing I can speak of is that we’re casting for movies this year and we’re finally going to get our safe space property for KR.
Connect with Victorya:
@XoVictorya @KevlarRoseAgency @MODELSUNKUT
Featured Photos by @LoraLauraLou