I am so happy when I find out that people in the fashion industry are making a difference! Especially when you have been seeing it up close from the beginning. That’s why I love my agency IMG.

My years with IMG Models

I have been with IMG Models worldwide (New York, Paris, Milan, London) since 2005. Right from the beginning, they have embraced who I was and what I brought to the table, no matter my size or shape. I think they only measured me once, and I did not fit the standards, which was not really an issue, as they worked around it. (I have never been the perfect size ever FYI). Compared to other agencies I visited when I was looking for a new agency back in 2005 who all had a different vision of me, IMG saw my qualities and gave my career a new boost with many new campaigns, after my exclusive Ralph Lauren contract ended. I loved my agents Peter in NYC, Jurgen in Paris, and Andrea and Giovanni in Milan, and Kirsty in London, as they always were very helpful and got me great bookings. Also Ivan, who is the Vice President of IMG Models, was always there if I needed advice. I know it is different at many agencies.

Certified Health Counselor

In 2008 when I became a Certified Health Counselor, they asked me each year to come speak to their young models at their yearly Model Prep 101 event just before September Fashion Week, and give them tips on how to be healthy during Fashion Week ,and every day working as a model. I have done that 3 or 4 times now, and this year I unfortunately couldn’t join the team because of my illness that made me quit modeling.

IMG Model Prep

It was also a first in the industry: an agency that organizes a great event to help guide their models the right way. Previously agencies were just the ones that booked the job, and agents did not have time to be the go-to person for the models for any other business than the show business, but these days IMG agents are helping girls on every level they can. Need a trainer? They arrange it. You need a new outfit? They help you. You need someone to talk to? They are there for you.

Lonneke IMG model Talk 2012
Lonneke at IMG Model Prep in 2012

READ MORE: IMG Model prep 2012 story by me on Organice Your Life®

Fashion Week

IMG Model Prep 101 usually is on a night before the September NY Fashion Week, when the girls are gearing up for castings, fittings and shows. A team of about 5 or 6 experts come in and give a short speech on their subject of expertise, and the models can ask questions. It is really an event to support and embrace the girls, and organized by IMG’S David Cunningham and his team. One thing David Cunningham said to the models at the event that I remember well and thought was great was: “You are all here because we believe in you. If you do well at NY Fashion Week, that is great! But if you don’t book many shows that is O.K. too! Because we believe in you, you are here and we hope to work with you for a long time in the future, no matter how many shows you book”  These words I thought really gave the girls a good feeling, because their career did not rely only on the success of their NY Fashion Week. After all, runway work is a totally different thing than modeling for pictures or video, and every girl has their own talents! The event is held on the beautiful terrace of the Penthouse office of IMG Models in NYC. There are always great healthy foods and drinks sponsored by NYC vendors, and the goodiebag is really, really good (trust me I have gotten many goodiebags in my life and IMG’s goodie bag is one full of useful products, especially for models.) A few things in the goodie bag: All stars Sneakers, makeup, fitness clothing, teeth whitening system, skincare, discounts, free gym membership, drinks and more. ( I know you like to hear about those details!)

The experts speaking have changed the past year, but some have been regulars like Betsy Selman-Babinecz, a Board Certified Clinical Social Worker who really helped girls- and myself-  by giving “emotional tools” to deal with the pressure in the Fashion Industry. Also present were Nian Fish, a Creative Director/Producer who started the CFDA Health Initiative, and Casting Directors like James Scully. Other experts the past years included trainers, lawyers, PR agents,and more. Last year Jessica Stam spoke shared her experiences as a top model, and I gave tips on healthy food and essentials for Fashion Week. All our tips were put together in a nice booklet provided by IMG. I hope to be part of this great initiative for more years to come!

READ MORE: NY magazine article on the IMG Model Prep 101

My life after modeling

When I decided regular modeling was not for me anymore, as I worked as a model for over 20 years and I feel there is not much to “win” anymore that way in the fashion industry, IMG was very supportive.

Lonneke for Twirl fragrance by Kate Spade, shot by Phil Pointer, booked by Peter from IMG Models NY
Lonneke and other models for Twirl fragrance by Kate Spade, shot by Phil Pointer, booked by Peter at IMG Models NY 

The future of IMG Models

I am happy to see that IMG is also still developing in an even better agency. I was very excited when I read this interview with Vice President Ivan Barth for Cosmopolitan, in which he shares that IMG will from now on just focus on the best models and personalities, no matter age, size and shape. Because really, great women come in all shapes and sizes. It is a great development in an industry I find has become too much fast fashion and everybody looking the same. I don’t see any fun in extremely thin girls that all look the same, and even I, someone who has been in this industry for so long, can’t say who’s who anymore sometimes. I myself gained some weight and I feel happier and look better this way I think than when I was trying to fit in as the standard size model. I am happy to know that IMG models really wants me to be me, and that will only make me a better public figure, and a happier person.

Lonneke for Clarins, booked by IMG Paris
Lonneke by herself as a canvas for Clarins, booked by IMG Paris

Lonneke for Brunello CucinelliLonneke and other models for Brunello Cucinelli booked by IMG Milan

Fashion Insider

I will share more fashion secrets on Organice Your Life I want to make this industry a healthier place by sharing my experiences,  as I know us models are role models for women around the World.

So good news for everyone dreaming of being a model. You now have a chance with IMG Models no matter what size, shape, length, age or color you are: Because only the best is good enough for IMG Models.

Love, Lonneke

Featured image: Lonneke for JCrew booked by IMG NY (note: not all models are represented by IMG Models in this picture)


First published on November 18th 2013, updated in 2019