For the new Colorado-based modeling agency “walk the walk” has taken on a literal meaning.
C.M. Modeling (which operates with the tagline “Real. Western. Models”) emphasizes a service of connecting clients with models who better represent the Western way of life. The recurrent theme from C.M. is providing the Western industry with models who embody Western brands. While you’ll still see C.M. models in the traditional height and build range for runway, the company takes an all-inclusive approach, having a variety of looks, sizes, and shapes represented among its team. “We have the type of model that can truly showcase the brand, because they live in it every single day. They ranch in it. They rodeo in it. They utilize the brands,” says Megan Holdren, C.M. Modeling cofounder. “It’s just hiring [models] that can really understand the lifestyle [brands are] wanting to portray.”
For Holdren, founder of the Western couture label LiveWire Style, the challenge of hiring models who didn’t look out of place in Westernwear had become apparent. She admits she found it hard for her to create campaigns that appeared genuine. Then she started thinking about all the women she knew through the sport of rodeo, and it turns out the right fit had been nearby all along.
[Our models] are all really beautiful. That was where we started capitalizing on the fact that there was a lot of really amazing talent in our industry. I think showcasing it and making that grow as a whole is not only something profoundly interesting for us as a community in Western, but also at the national level. — cofounder Megan Holdren
Holdren started building her own circle of talent with the help of former world champion bull rider Kody Lostroh. Holdren met Lostroh (and his wife, Candace) through the rodeo community growing up. With Lostroh’s experience as a brand ambassador from his professional bull riding days and Holdren’s insight from her fashion design and styling business, the pair decided to team up to address the modeling needs of the industry. They purchased the C.M. Modeling name in January 2018 and have quickly grown the business by acquiring models and earning industry clients like Hobby Horse and the 2019 Cruel Girl campaign.“In my professional background as a bull rider, I had very large corporate sponsors, worldwide companies,” Lostroh says. “They expect professionalism and set the bar a little bit higher as far as the people they endorse, and that’s something we really wanted to incorporate in this — set the bar higher on integrity and what it means to do a job well.”
To benefit their models and aid in their growth personally and professionally, C.M. also offers ongoing education that includes training, developing portfolios, and guidance on topics such as how to do taxes and even healthy online and social media habits.
I think good leadership can bring the best out of people, and that’s what I’m after. — cofounder Kody Lostroh
“Being the leader on the job site, that’s what’s going to set us apart, because there are a lot of really beautiful women in a lot of amazing agencies," Holdren says. "What’s going to get us hired every time is leadership skills and ability to work,” she says, adding that they are growing ways to benefit clients as well, including aiding brands through influencer marketing.
“When clients come to us they can utilize our models for print campaigns, and they can also utilize affiliate bloggers and influencers, because I really believe it takes both,” Holdren says. “You need to have your own vision for your collection and the models that can portray that, but you also have to have the individuals that people are following talking about your brand.”
PHOTOGRAPHY: Lauren Maeve Photography
Featured in the Fall 2018 issue of C&I's sister publication, Western & English Today.