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modeling & talent ● modeling By Eve Matheson Broadening Your Horizons Industry experts Tony Perkins and Anna Lewkowska encourage models to reach beyond the runways of Paris and New York and pursue new dreams in Hollywood as well I nternational model agent Tony Perkins found his niche in the industry by a “fluke”. When a movie he had been working on in Europe wrapped, he came home to the United States to plan his next career move. On the advice of a friend, he went to the fa- mous Ford Model Agency in New York, where he started work as a booker and learned everything he could about the various aspects of the modeling industry. Then he moved to Next Model Management, also in NYC, and during the following 16 years established an outstanding reputation as an international model agent. By the time he joined forces with Francine Champagne, owner of Vision Model Man- agement in Los Angeles and New York, Tony was recog- nized as one of the top agents in the world. It was not easy to pinpoint Tony for an interview, due to his busy schedule, but I caught up with him in Los Ange- les, where he was scouting new talent and faces. Having great respect for his expertise, I put to him some of the questions I am frequently asked by aspiring models, and also by parents: Q. How long does a model’s career last these days? A. About two-to-three years. Fashion designers want new faces every season. Q. Should a girl model during high school? A. First, I must stress that we want girls to finish school be- fore pursuing a full-time modeling career. They should go to their proms, enjoy sports and enjoy everything they would normally do in high school. Q. How does the trial process work during that time? A. When we bring a 15-year old to New York, her mother 30 PAGEANTRY ANNA LEWKOWSKA comes with her and they stay in our model apartments. The father can come, too, but he can’t stay in the apartments. Mother and daughter can go on interviews and go-sees and learn the business together. This helps them both under- stand how it works. Q. What advice do you have for parents? A. They must realize that this is a business. If an agent takes a girl, it doesn’t mean that is the start of her career. So much is involved in developing, molding and preparing her. This is a team effort and a testing time for all of us. We have to ask—does the model like the work? Does she like the agent? Is the agent happy with the model? Are the clients interested? This is a great profession. It’s fun and there is a lot of money to be made, but there is a lot more to it than many people realize. Q. Can a girl who is not 5-foot-9 tall be a model? A. A girl can have a beautiful face and body, but if she is not 5-foot-9, she won’t be a runway model. But there is so much more in this industry that she can do. Q What changes have you seen in the industry in the last few years? A. The super model era of old is finished. The size zero issue is disappearing. The slow economy has cut the num- ber of jobs. The competition is much stronger. Q. How do the fashion capitals compare? A. New York and Paris are the top markets; all models should spend time there. London is more likely to book a commercial model; Milan, an editorial girl. MODELING Continued on page 78