FEATURING: Ramona Soriano
WHAT OR WHO DO YOU FIND INSPIRING?
I gravitate towards outliers - those who go against the grain and follow their passion. The first person that comes to mind is Steve Jobs because he believed in the impossible and made it a reality. Inspiration to me comes in many different forms, from all the different people I’ve met through traveling, and even through animals - it speaks to me through energy and I very much listen to how I’m feeling in any situation.
HOW DID YOU DISCOVER YOUR CREATIVE PROFESSION?
I’m an Artist Agent, representing photographers and an illustrator. I started modeling professionally when I was 14, so was pulled out of school to shoot, which was so fun. I come from a background of entrepreneurs, so it was natural for me to think of the whole production that was happening - how much is the photographer making? Producer? Makeup artist? How is this all being pulled together? Eventually, I started interning for a photographer, but NEVER shot. I was interested in the business side, eventually became studio manager and a few years later worked for a photo agency in Dubai, which was where I learned the ropes.
WHAT IS THE TOUGHEST THING YOU HAVE BEEN THROUGH PROFESSIONALLY?
While working abroad in Dubai at the photo agency, I was basically fired. The company I worked for was small - wanted to expand, brought in some corporate guy from NYC to make changes, and we couldn’t see eye to eye. Despite me bringing in good work, I was let go. So I decided to come back to the U.S. I was looking for jobs and everything seemed so limiting. So I decided to use what I learned in Dubai to start my own business and rep the photographers I already had relationships with. It was a bit crazy - I had a bootleg website in the beginning and did the minimal to set up my business, but clients kept on coming in. Somehow I made it work. I’m not cut to be employed by someone, work 9-6, it’s just not me, and it isn’t for anyone on my board either. And I’m so grateful that I’ve created the world that works for me on my own, and that I can work with people that inspire me every day.
WHO ARE THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE BEEN INSTRUMENTAL TO YOUR SUCCESS?
The talent on my board are instrumental to my success because they’re living their passion - we need each other to succeed. I’ve made the decision in the beginning to take on some up-and-comers, so some days, it’s so hard because the hustle is so real. But when we get those calls for big jobs after many months of work, we live and breath the reason why we wake up every day. Also, I’ve always surrounded myself with friends and mentors that are entrepreneurs, so all the legal advice and psychological support of those that have walked this path really helped me, and I’m forever grateful.
WHY DO YOU LOVE ADHESIVE?
Adhesive brings people together, and it’s all about community. It gave me a chance to connect with so many great people being fairly new to NYC. I’ve been here 3 years and I looked forward to the monthly gatherings when I first got into town. I’ve been influenced by new work by some of the photographers I’ve had conversations with. I met a wonderful producer, whom I’ve brought on board to bid, and we’re finally working on our first big job together. I’ve hung out with cool photographers, like Kareem Black, who came to a regular event, brought everyone a round of drinks. I’ve met other reps, who I’ve become friends with and I’ve passed on briefs to that were more fitting for some of their talent, and they’ve done the same for me. Adhesive is so key in our industry, and I love it so much!
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