The Politics of Fashion

The Houston Model Caught in Trump's Business Collapse

Will the modeling agency's closure hurt it-girl Katie Moore's career?

By Sarah Rufca Nielsen April 13, 2017

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There had been rumors for quite some time that Trump Models was in trouble. In August, Mother Jones reported that the agency kept it models in "sweatshop conditions" and employed women that did not have valid visas. In February, Refinery 29 noted that fashion industry types including makeup artists, photographers and stylists were considering a boycott of Trump Models based on the president's politics. But to one modeling insider, the proof of imminent collapse was the departure of Trump Model's hottest face, Houston native Katie Moore.

"She’s doing so well and there’s no reason for her to leave unless the agency was closing,” she told Jezebel. “To me, the fact that their best model is leaving is their biggest giveaway."

Following a slew of rumors and leaked emails, Trump Models officially announced it would shutter last Friday. It was a stunning collapse of an agency considered one of the top in the business since it opened in 1998, and a personal favorite of Trump, who owned 85 percent of the business and made $2 million in commissions from it in 2015. 

Major Trump agents have spun off their own agencies, taking talent with them, and other big names at the agency—like veteran Maggie Rizer and Sports Illustrated model Mia Kang—switched representation in recent months. But where does that leave Moore?

After bursting onto the international modeling scene in 2016 when Alexander Wang gave her an edgy red bob and cast her to open his F/W 2016 show, the gamine-like 19-year-old Moore has been one of the most in-demand new models. She has been featured in editorials in W, i-D, Allure and Vogue (the American version as well as Vogue Japan, Vogue Mexico and Chinese Vogue ME), made the cover of glossies like L'Oficial, Danske and Office Magazine and walked in spring/summer 2017 shows for Chanel, Opening Ceremony, Jeremy Scott and Maison Margiela, among others. 

"Most of Katie's agents have moved on to other agencies and we are exploring those options for her right now," her Houston-based agent Tabitha Garcia of Page Parkes told Mother Jones. "An agent really makes the model…That is why it is sad to have this happen." 

Frankly, there aren't too many models right now with Moore's unconventional beauty and offbeat attitude. With her career currently in overdrive, its likely that Moore will find a new agency in New York—plus she currently has representation in Paris (MP Models), London (Elite Models), Milan (Special Management) and Los Angeles (Photogenics LA) in addition to her mother agency in Houston.

Update: "We saw agencies last week and [Katie Moore] is now represented by Marilyn NY with Page Parkes as her mother agency still. She has a huge career ahead of her!" Garcia tells Houstonia.

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