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modeling & talent ● modeling By Eve Matheson Clicking at the Right Time Endurance and a universally respected name have made CLICK one of the most important and successful names in modeling I never tire of reading about pioneers in various walks of life; people who have had the courage to step out- side the box of convention—that comfort zone that assures them security and acceptance—to explore new ideas, which inevitably set the naysayers in motion. One story I find really fascinating concerns a legendary pi- oneer of the fashion industry. She was Lucile, Lady Duff Gordon, an international dressmaker and designer, and she would later elevate herself to the title Grande Couturiere. A true survivor of social and gender barriers, she even sur- vived the sinking of the Titanic. Self-taught, as there were no trade schools or appren- ticeships at the time, Lucile had skill and determination. She designed for royalty, the aristocracy and celebrities. She scoured the streets of the city to find tall, slender, beautiful girls to model her designs and as a result is credited with being the first model agent. Eventually she opened fashion salons in Paris, New York and Chicago. Today, we are all well aware of the movers and shakers in medicine, science, education, the Arts and so on. The fash- ion and modeling world has also had its share of pioneers. One such icon in the modeling industry is Frances Grill, a true visionary. A former photographers’ representative, Frances started the CLICK agency (a clever title given the nature of her business) with Joey Grill and Allan Mindel (a med school student), in New York in 1980. A relatively small financial investment bolstered by her unerring dream of diversity and breaking the mold that had hitherto stereo- 80 PAGEANTRY HOWARD MINDEL typed the professional model, was to become a multimillion dollar business and one of the top agencies in the world. A free-spirited soul, Frances included artists, musicians, painters, sculptors, and of course photographers, who were always looking for different types of models to fulfill their booking needs, in her circle of friends. To accomplish this, Frances turned away from the classic look sought by the Ford and Elite agencies and booked girls and boys with a different look from all walks of life, while still adhering to a high fashion profile. This caused a storm of derision, crit- icism and warnings that she would never last in the busi- ness. Frances, however, was a survivor having grown up in a very tough section of Brooklyn, where at times, when her father was unemployed, she was put into an orphanage with her sister Rose. Her vision, talent, passion and sheer chutzpah overcame the obstacles. It helped to have famous photographer Bruce Weber as her ally in the pursuit of what her competition considered an impossible dream. She was also a friend of movie star Ingrid Bergman which eventually led her to per- suade Ingrid’s daughter, Isabella Rossellini, a journalist, to do a photo shoot with Weber. Isabella, a very unusual type of beauty agreed, even though modeling was not her méti- er. Frances’s instinct proved right. Within months Isabella’s picture graced 28 magazine covers. Uma Thurman, Whitney Houston and Elle Macpher- son are among the many success stories at CLICK, now one of the greatest agencies in the world. MODELING Continued on page 134