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Posted on: 2008/11/17

Ph: Matthias Vriens McGrath for ELLE France


Tabea Koebach is with Marilyn NY (till 2010) & now IMG NY.
Ph. Karl Rothenberger

PONY RYDER: When and how did you start modeling?

TABEA KOEBACH: In March 2008. I was in New York visiting a friend and having my last holidays before I started going to university. Sebastian Janssen, a personal manager for fashion models, saw me on the street and thought that I was already placed with one of the best agencies in NY but I wasn't! So he signed me with Marilyn, because i was already working a lot with Marilyn in Paris.

PONY RYDER: By your opinion, how should a relationship between an agent and a model look like?
TABEA KOEBACH: I think it's very important that you have a close relationship to all the agents you work with. That you have someone you can rely on and you can talk to if there are some issues.

For me it's important that agents are not just considering their own situation, that there is a job and that you have to fulfill it at any time. In this business it's important to be "unbreakable"!

You can't get sick or feel weak if there's a issue with your boyfriend. Models have to work like machines. In this world it's important to have someone you can talk to if something happens anyhow. So I'm really happy with my agencies and especially with my mother agent Sebatian Janssen!

PONY RYDER: Why is a good polaroid more important than a digital test?

TABEA KOEBACH: I love the polaroids from Marilyn! I think a polaroid represents a model in a more natural and beautiful way than a digital test ever could. It really shows the model in person, not only the image it can be. A model is a product but the client has to see it in its origin to consider the possibilities.

PONY RYDER: What do you think is the key factor in making a good polaroid test?
TABEA KOEBACH: The person who’s shooting it- like Kwok@ Marilyn. So beautiful ones! And of course the light.

PONY RYDER: What would you advice to new aspiring models who are in need to do good polaroids?
TABEA KOEBACH: No makeup, clothes you feel good in and in which you show a great shape, hair natural.

PONY RYDER: Are castings for fashion shows different than castings for editorials?

TABEA KOEBACH: Yes they are! Show castings are more stressful. You have a higher pressure on you because you see the result of one week castings right after. If you weren't in the right shape or your walking wasn't good enough, you loose all the good shows and with that the whole season. You might not get the important editorials afterwards and you won't get a campaign for what every model is waiting for.

PONY RYDER: During fashion weeks, how many castings per day do you do?
TABEA KOEBACH: It depends. I did between 15-24.

PONY RYDER: Do you manage to do all the castings that your agent sends you to?
TABEA KOEBACH: The best I could manage were 20 a day, but you have to consider that the castings are sill going on during fashion week, so you have to do 3 shows a day plus castings and fittings. Some fittings are at night and the call time for the next show is sometimes at 6 in the morning.

PONY RYDER: You walked for Paul & Joe, Veronique Branquinho... You even opened a show. Is there a difference in presenting when you open a show, and when you are one of the models doing the show?

TABEA KOEBACH: It's a good feeling, but I really think it’s nothing really outstanding, it’s more important to stay humble!. :)

PONY RYDER: Do you have your own signature walk? Where did you learn how to walk on a catwalk?
TABEA KOEBACH: I don't think so. I'm pretty new so I just try to find my perfect walk. It's getting better every day. For the first few shows like charity shows, you have to follow the advice "learning by doing". You practice a little bit at home and watch some shows at youtube, but before fashion season the agencies hire a catwalk trainer to help the new girls in a few lessons.

PONY RYDER: What crosses your mind when you step on the runway?
TABEA KOEBACH: That's a good question! The time I spend waiting in the line up I'm just fearing about falling down or slipping. When I'm on the runway i don't think of anything. I try to concentrate and focus on a point at the end of the runway.

PONY RYDER: What do you fear more during a fashion show: falling down or loosing a shoe?
TABEA KOEBACH: Falling down!!!!! But if you regard it more closely, there should be no fear about it. Many of the big famous girls slipped, fell down or lost a shoe. That happens sometimes and practically always the designers are the reason why that happens. They produce crazy high shoes and build impossibly difficult runways. So they shouldn't be surprised!

PONY RYDER: How is backstage for a new model?
TABEA KOEBACH: Really nice! You get nice food and drinks, manicure, pedicure, hair and make-up... and after this it's getting completely crazy!

PONY RYDER: Did anyone in the industry ask you to change your look, name, etc...
TABEA KOEBACH: I like my name because it's not so usual. For my look i would accept small changes but I think my agency has the same opinion as I do, that it's OK the way I look right now.

PONY RYDER: Do you think that changing a name can help in models career?
TABEA KOEBACH: Yes of course! As I already said, a model is a image formed by the management and agency. The model is only as good as merchandised by the agency. If the whole packet is perfect it's easier and more interesting for the client. Especially if you want to become a star! The name sells!
PONY RYDER: How important do you think it is for a model to know very well which market they fit the most or whether they are more commercial or more editorial, catwalk, etc...?

TABEA KOEBACH: It was a plan of my agency and my manager. I think a model can see very easily in which market she/he fits. You have examples which can serve as a rule. If I had big boobs and a smaller nose i would look like a Barbie doll and could do only commercial stuff. Now i have still the chance to do both even if I'm more editorial.

PONY RYDER: Did you learn about the modeling business yourself?
TABEA KOEBACH: My manager told me the most about the business, because he wanted me to know as much as possible to defend myself in everyday life.

PONY RYDER: Do you explore photographers work before doing a shoot?
TABEA KOEBACH: If it's possible, I talk a little with the photographer right before the shoot, to get an idea of the mood and the story they want to shoot. That really helps and most of the photographers have a certain idea and are directing you a little bit. I'm happy it if it's more like a team.

PONY RYDER: What is the most important thing in posing?
TABEA KOEBACH: To feel comfortable and not to think about how it could look like. Nobody cares if it looks stupid! The more stupid it feels the better it looks on the picture!!!

PONY RYDER: Do you have something that always helps you in photoshooting?
TABEA KOEBACH: First the basics and then you exaggerate!

PONY RYDER: What do you think is your x factor?TABEA KOEBACH: My personality to be a normal girl which is easy to work with.

PONY RYDER: How do you maintain your porcelain skin?TABEA KOEBACH: I used dr. Hauschka rose cream, and at the moment I'm trying out Dior Hydraction visible defense crème légège.

PONY RYDER: Do you prefer facial mask or peeling?
TABEA KOEBACH: Peeling, because it feels like you rubbed of your old skin and got a new one. :)

PONY RYDER: How to stay in shape?
TABEA KOEBACH: Drink a lot of water and stop eating sugar products. Sugar is in everything. Watch your ingredients. Eat a lot of raw food and don't cook everything. Buy only wholemeal products.
Food is the most important thing and causes a lot of diseases if you eat the wrong stuff!!!

PONY RYDER: What are the ingredients that are required for your favorite meal?
TABEA KOEBACH: Rice, fish, soya sauce, ginger, and wasabi : I LOVE SUSHI!

PONY RYDER: What is the hardest thing for you as a new model?TABEA KOEBACH: Not to know if something is going to happen or not. The only thing we know is, that we know nothing! That's what could make a model crazy. You know you could do it, you're only waiting for the BIG POINTS!

PONY RYDER: Fashion world is very competitive. How do you deal with it?
TABEA KOEBACH: You have to keep a little distance between your personality and your job. If you don't get a job it's not a tragedy. Life goes on! There are different types of models and you never know what the client is looking for. If something big is supposed to happen it will come for you! Be patient!

PONY RYDER: Do people act different around you since you've become a model?TABEA KOEBACH: Some people are acting like I would save lives or something, and others are dealing with me like I am stupid because I'm not at the university yet.

PONY RYDER: In model apartments, girls from different backgrounds are put together. How does that work?

TABEA KOEBACH: Most of the time it's working very well, I never had a bad experience! But like in real life, there are some people you can't deal with, but that's a question of personality.

PONY RYDER: Is it easier to survive a day with 10$ in US or 10 Euro in EU?

TABEA KOEBACH: New York is really expensive, but if you're in EU, you'll probably work in Paris or London, and that's almost the same. But it feels easier to survive in Europe.

PONY RYDER: What would you advice to new models?TABEA KOEBACH: First finish education! Please don't stop eating and do sports or eat more healthy!

Interview with fashion model Tabea Koebach is original work of Pony Ryder blog.

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