Nicole Rodrigues (Diva Model Agency) : “Today the industry has over 45 agencies trying to copy what we do”

Nicole Rodrigues is running Diva Modelling And Events, an agency that provides models, promotional staff, hostesses and entertainers among other services.  As Owner and Managing Director, she has grown Diva into become a top modelling and events agency in the region.

Nicole, when did You started Diva Model Agency ?
Diva started in 2003. Then I  established my  first and core business, Diva Modelling & Events in 2003.
Entering a market dominated by men and an industry in its early days, I took the challenge.
Armed with a single desk, chair and phone I became a onewoman-show set to revolutionise the modelling industry in the UAE

At a time when procedures and disciplines were not only not adhered to but for the most part, unheard of, Nicole founded Diva Modelling on a strict set of values that cemented her agency as one of great repute and distinction. As a former supermodel herself, Nicole is all too familiar with the demands and challenges this line of work poses and personally oversees the selection, booking and management of every member of Diva’s talent team.

Imparting wisdom and drawing on her personal experiences, she is in a unique position to serve as a role model for these young, aspiring models and actors who have placed their dreams in her capable hands. Today, Diva Modelling & Events boasts a talent management portfolio of over 14,000 individuals and growing. Setting and then raising the industry’s standards and practices, Diva Modelling & Events is the foremost name in talent booking and stands testament to Nicole’s entrepreneurial spirit, steadfast dedication and courageous vision.

Was it hard to conquer the UAE market ?
Prior to starting any business one need to ask ones self the following : Are you ready for the startup lifestyle? Are there customers with real pain and money? Is the market opportunity large and growing? Is this a crowded space already? Can you build a motivated and qualified team? Have you looked realistically at the costs? Do you have stamina and skills? Going “from” rather than “to”?Is this something you would do even if you wouldn’t be paid for it?

The UAE  was the perfect place for what I wanted to do. I wanted to create a safe haven for young talent to be able to come to a reliable and safe platform to be able to nourish their talents.
I wanted to make changes in the way people worked. Better standards and performance. That is how Diva came about.
Promoters had better reporting systems, grooming standards, models had useage forms, working hours etc that was new to the industry that was predominantly fragmented and run by unprofessional free lancers.

UAE gave me the base to be able to be here at the right time and right place as companies were pouring in looking for professional services that we could offer .

The modelling industry changed a lot during your career?
So much. When we started off there were 4 to 5 agencies, most shut down and new ones came up. Today the industry has over 45 agencies trying to copy what we do.
We were the first to have models and talents under the same roof, we were diverse and different. Today we see the same business model trying to be imitated without the structure.

The models have more room for opportunity. The industry has grown several folds.

Which are the most requested models at this moment ?
There are no favorites as models keep rotating. There are several international models who do stay bookings between New York, Milan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai. There is always space for everyone. Its just finding the right box.

Who are you working for ? what kind of services you offer next to models?

We work with all clients from FMCG, beauty, food , etc.
We do models, hostesses, promoters, stylists, photographers, directors, choreographers etc.
Our clients are companies such as Ferrari, Audi, Gucci, Etisalat, L’Oreal, Nike….

According to some organisations too many models are becoming “too skinny’. This because the agencies and their customers only accept such models , What is your reaction related to Your agency and the GCC market ?
Not at all. Since we have more haute couture and women in this part of the world are real women we do not propagate skinny models. We prefer healthy well toned models. The UAE has never been one for the skinny look anyways.

Your activities are not limited to UAE isnt it ?
Yes- we are also in Doha, Oman, Kuwait, Turkey, Pakistan, India, Bahrain.
But UAE is home ground for us.

Do You have some tips for boys & girls dreaming about becoming a model?
Just do it! Stop talking start doing.
Go get yourself into the agency and speak to the agents . there is no point dreaming as you are only getting older by the second.

If I would like to be a model in Your agency, what should I do first ?
You will need to email us on with your images and vital stats and contact details.
One of our bookers will invite you to come see us and discuss the portfolio and your career preference.
There after you will be guided to the required department who will then promote and get you jobs.

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