Now that health and wellness are the new markers of luxury, fitness instructors are increasingly becoming as popular as fashion influencers. They can earn as much as $26,000 per sponsored Instagram post, while top brands like Nike routinely tap them for campaigns. (Fitness trainer Kayla Itsiner, for example, boasts nearly 10 million followers.) Seeing an opportunity to represent the growing number of fitness stars, Equinox and SoulCycle on Thursday announced a joint talent management agency.
With support from William Morris Endeavor, the new firm will represent “leading, market-defining fitness talent,” reads a press release. It will start with a host of employees from the two companies’ own portfolio. The goal is to develop social media personas and score large-scale sponsorship deals. It’s a smart move considering consumers’ sky-high interest in exercise–and all the things that go with it, like athleisurewear and sweat-proof cosmetics.
“We are now poised to offer our star employees an exclusive, monumental opportunity,” said Equinox group executive chairman and managing partner Harvey Spevak in a statement. “With our support, guidance and representation, our top talent can meaningfully grow their personal brands, develop key partnerships and ultimately generate additional income.”
Equinox is the parent company of SoulCyle, which partially made its name with its influential class instructors. The brand is known for its charismatic, engaged class leaders who often amass a “tribe” of followers.
Both brands have been heavily experimenting with new modes of fitness and classes of late. Earlier this year, SoulCycle expanded with SoulAnnex, a cycle-less studio devoted to cardio and yoga, while Equinox launched a “fitness incubator” devoted to finding the next big thing in group exercise classes.
The talent agency is slated to roll out in phases with a pilot currently underway. WME will act as an adviser on overall talent management and representation.