How This Former Model Started A Black Woman-Owned Talent Management Agency
Joy Kingsley-Ibeh, celebrity stylist and founder of Kinglsey Model+Talent Management (KMTM) agency, serves as a role model for young women in the modeling industry. As a black woman-owned agency, it sets a higher standard in talent management. KMTM is a full-service boutique talent agency specializing in providing diverse talent to meet the business, print, runway and specialty needs of its clients. His models have been featured in top publications and advertising campaigns, including British Vogue, Under Armour, Bank of America and Amtrak. Kingsley-Ibeh has also had the pleasure of styling celebrities like Soledad O’Brien and Rickey Smiley, and national artists, Sons of Serendip, for Oprah’s 2020 Vision Tour.
“Now, more than ever, I understand the importance of who I am in this industry, especially with the whole Black Lives movement,” she comments. “I struggled as a company at first because I never wanted to talk about politics, religion, race. I stayed away. I kept it simple. I wanted it to be an agency for everyone. For the first time, I had a decision to make after the George Floyd incident. I was like, ‘gosh, am I saying something? What am I saying? But I have to say something.’ I am a black woman It affects me I know trauma My father and my brother were both murdered… My voice is important Because I have modeled I can relate to what they are going through and how they feel when they go to a job or a fashion show. I was able to provide them with that kind of safety, education and guidance based on my experiences.
Kingsley-Ibeh’s career started as a professional volleyball player playing in the Netherlands. Abroad, she began to notice a difference between American fashion and European fashion. After deciding to quit playing professional sports, she struggled in corporate America. Her family and friends encouraged her to try modeling.
This period of his life was before social media was even a coined term. She found a test photographer for a local agency who eventually submitted her photos. The agency signed it. “It was tough because I was taking paid jobs, low-paying jobs, and unpaid jobs just to get experience,” Kingsley-Ibeh recalled. At first, she worked 9 to 5 while balancing audition calls. As she went along, she got a few magazine covers and two-page spreads; she has participated in New York Fashion Week several times and has landed national television commercials.
“In real life,” she shares, “I had to adjust those goals at different times. When I was younger, I wanted to be Naomi Campbell. I wanted to be on a billboard. Over years, I’m like, “Oh, well, I don’t have a billboard yet. I don’t have that yet.” I had to adjust my mindset to realize that I’m so passionate about this industry. I love anything that I would do jobs for free just to work. I started writing down the small steps I wanted to accomplish. Once I put it down on paper and started checking it out, it made success different for me; it was tangible. I was reaching for it, touching it. and saw it. That’s when I started trying to learn more about the business side of the industry because I also knew that as a model you have a lifespan You will either age or age mentally.
In the modeling years, Kingsley-Ibeh became a mother figure to young models on set. She helped them navigate their careers. She also helped make-up artists and hairstylists find models for their side projects. The more she helped others, the more she sought to start a modeling agency.
Also, during this time, she started working for a government agency while studying for the LSAT. Working conditions were poor and she suffered racial discrimination. While out of work for nearly six weeks, she was able to lay the foundation for her LLC. Additionally, she worked as a celebrity stylist on the side. When the time came for her to get back to work, Kingsley-Ibeh invested in herself. Instead of coming back, she quit.
“Honestly, it was the competitive edge of being something,” she shares of her decision to give it her all. “I wanted to walk away, knowing that I had given it my all… The motivation for me was to make my family proud. I wanted to prove a lot of people wrong because I was the underdog for the majority of my life.”
As Kingsley-Ibeh continues to pivot and expand her agency, she is focused on the following critical steps:
- Believe in the value you bring to the table. You can’t let other people’s doubts get in the way of your momentum.
- Stay the course. Write out your plan and work on it. There will be many times when you want to quit. These are the times when you need to remember why you started in the first place.
- Research is the key to your success. The more expert you become in your field, the easier it is to advance.
“I thought it was the end of the world when my father died,” Kingsley-Ibeh concludes. “I thought it was the end of the world when my brother died, you couldn’t even tell me otherwise. When I look back I see my dad’s death was really just the start of my life. life; every decision I had to make think about it. Everything I did was to honor my father.