Cody Chandler is the agent behind New Pandemics, a casting and management agency dedicated to increasing LGBTQ+ visibility, whose models have appeared in the pages of Vogue and campaigns for the likes of Prada and Nike.
Launched in May 2018 and based in New York, New Pandemics was born out of Chandler’s frustration with the fashion industry’s inauthentic, limited and often tokenistic engagement with LGBTQ+ issues and activism.
Chandler, who grew up in South Carolina, started out casting for film and television for veteran agent Barbara Pfister, who took him under her wing when he moved to New York. In early 2017, he resolved to challenge the widespread exclusion, homophobia and transphobia he saw in the fashion and modelling industry.
As well as improving queer representation, which Chandler sees as a force for normalising otherwise marginalised identities, New Pandemics provides a safe space for its models to collaborate with brands looking to improve their approach to diversity — namely by ensuring that the model’s gender pronouns are respected and that the brand is educated on the significance of issues facing the LGBTQ+ community. “I want to support people within the agency, but I also want to support the community as a whole,” Chandler said in an interview with Dazed.
New Pandemics currently has a roster of 18 models, who have been featured in titles such as Vogue Italia, Harper’s Bazaar and Dazed and brands including Prada, Marc Jacobs , Adidas and Nike.