Q&A with Diana Dietrich
Tell us about what it was like when you first started modelling?
I was 19 and still living between Germany and Paris when I was booked for my first paid modeling job through my agency. It was immediately a complex situation to be in for a young woman - dayrates, buyouts lists, recognisable versus not recognisable, etc.,etc… In the end, I only concentrated on what I was being paid for immediately - the dayrates - and the rest I took as a good surprise. I don’t think I dared asking about buyouts, about what had been paid by the client, and when I might receive my share - these just showed up one day! Coming right out of school it was very exciting - a L’Oréal job! I had no experience in the field, so I just trusted my booker about everything. At the time, earned dayrates were paid once a month so I quickly had some money to live with, rent a flat, open a bank account. I loved being independent so quickly.
What were some of the issues you had to deal with as a model?
Over time, receiving payments got more and more delayed and this is a real issue for models - because you work, but you don’t know when you will receive your money. If you have the option to do so, it’s good to put some money aside, for a “rainy day” - although, there is so much temptation to just spend, the money initially seems to come so easily, so you just keep working and organise as best you can. At least, that’s what I did! However, as you work more with many different agencies, and travel so much, you begin to lose track… I did some bookkeeping and regularly asked for my account statements from my agencies (mainly because my dad told me to! ;) ) and it actually served me very well when someone had “forgotten” to include several jobs on their account statements. Working across several agencies makes a lot of work - paperwork to keep on top of, as well as “sensitive” issues, like had I heard about all my option requests? Did these all come through to me, or did my main agency sometimes block them in order to keep me in their city? I tried to establish solid professional relationships with all of my bookers, so that I could be aware of things as much as possible.
Have these issues changed?
Not really, in my view - and this is part of what inspired Claudia and me to start Ubooker. In general, I think that these issues have got worse - but the good thing is that contemporary communication tools and the internet mean that it is now much easier for you as a model to ensure that you are more informed and to be more in control of your own career.
What career advice would you give to models today?
Keep your Polaroids up-to-date and get video Polas done regularly - and be active on your Instagram! Always be hands-on - know what’s happening, and be responsible for your own career. You can achieve a lot through this Know that modelling is a real profession - so be really professional!
As an entrepreneur with an entrepreneurial partner, how do you find balance together to support each other?
We have many common interests which we pursue together and actively make time for these. We do sports like skiing and hiking, and we both love design, architecture and art. A good group of common friends is also important. With these, there is always a lot to share and always something we can do together away from work - to find inspiration and to fill up with energy. But we also exchange a lot about work and don’t hide anything from each others - which is important, too.
You work very closely with your co-founder, Claudia - how do you find that?
To work with a friend who has had very similar experiences to you is a big advantage - many things you don’t even need to speak about or explain, as it is a shared experience. In some fields Claudia and I are very similar, and in others we differ - which makes us a good team. We share the same values, but approach things differently, which is very complimentary when you are developing a platform that is aiming to serve many different need and characters.
What three things are you never without?
La Roche-Posay Lipikar Xerand hand cream
Tom Ford lipstick
Unintentionally, doggy bags - they multiply in all my pockets, it seems…