By Mikkel Hyldebrandt
Micah is a former agency model and now the founder of the Allure Models mobile app that streamlines and automates the booking, management, and payment process of modeling. Peach talked to the young entrepreneur about he hopes the app will make the modeling industry more inclusive and transparent.
In your work as a model, what are some of the challenges?
I used modeling jobs to support myself through my bachelor’s program at Georgia State University. One of the challenges was payment as it was often done at random, and you never knew exactly when or how much you’d be paid. Another issue was inclusiveness. I’ve been told they only needed one person of color and no more, and I’ve been told to portray myself as “less gay” because “not even gay men want gay me.” The prejudices that we experience in society have a resounding influence over the casting process. Most importantly, however, was the discomfort and lack of safety in the industry. Many models are attractive young people, and those in charge of casting decisions often take advantage of their influence with those young models. I’ve been subject to this type of manipulation in my career, and I’ve heard horror stories of young men and women, who were put in terribly uncomfortable positions and forced to make split-second decisions that may impact their careers.
You have just created the new app Allure Models – tell us about it.
Allure Models was created in direct response to the experiences mentioned above that deterred me from modeling. With the assistance of mobile technology, both casting agents and models can navigate their bookings easier, safer, more confidently, and comfortably. Booking payouts are automated. Casting users view models whose availability match their own production details: date, time, location (proximity). In that way, Allure Models streamlines the processes of booking, management, and payment – and it curates safety, comfort, and professionalism that encourages good behaviors and discourages predatory practices.
If you are an aspiring model, how can the app help you?
This app will help aspiring models jumpstart their careers. They’ll be seen for production casting based on their own availability. They won’t be met with bias or favoritism, but rather be fairly represented on the basis of their own deserved ratings and portfolios. Most importantly, they can attend bookings confident of time accountability, payment security, and their own comfortability.
What do you hope to achieve with the new app?
I want to create a new standard and change the reputation of an industry that is known for being cut-throat, prejudiced, and predatory. I want to change the message that the industry is inadvertently or directly sending about what’s beautiful, normal, safe, and acceptable. An industry with such impact deserves a more modern standard that is inclusive, diverse, mediated, empowering, safe, and consistent for all of its users.
You are an industrious guy – what’s up next for Micah?
In the immediate works is a monthly “Wine Down,” where I’ll invite students, professionals, entrepreneurs, press, influencers, and small business owners of specific minority communities to discuss “representation in the media.” We’ll gather for free wine, networking and a mediated convo about representation in media. I want to make sure we listen to our potential users, and that begins by emboldening the voices of otherwise marginalized people, in a safe, comfortable and convenient environment. Women, LGBTQ folk, Muslims, Asians, Indians, Latinx persons, African Americans, and everyone in between, will be given a glass of wine, comrades, and influential parties to hear their needs. Every one of these communities and deserve a voice in the creation and progress of the Allure Models app.
Any last words?
I’m excited to see Atlanta take flight, and I’m looking forward to adding to this marvelous city’s reputation and making it even more of a global leader. It is my goal to be part of a positive, people-based change in media, in order to better our society as a whole. Allure Models is my way of “being the change I wish to see in the world.”
You can download the Allure Models app in the App Store or Google Play.