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modeling & talent ● modeling By Eve Matheson A VISION of Caring In such a competetive industry, the nurturing environment of VISION is a wonder to behold A glamorous party at the headquarters of VISION, a boutique model and talent agency in upscale Culver City in Los Angeles County, California, was a glit- tering start to the New Year. Guests were mostly school directors and other VIP’s attending the In- ternational Model and Talent Association convention at the Westin Bonaventure hotel in downtown L.A., who took the opportunity to network and have fun. Inspiration came from the charming bookers and agents at the agency and from the beautiful faces on the wall of models enjoying great success. The partly open-air agency sparkled with candles and highly polished glass. Palm trees, decorative miniature cacti, and a white fur throw rug added to the glamor. However, the overall sense of love and caring within the walls was the most impressive feature of all. Los Angeles has the greatest bank of diversified talent in the world, and Culver City has the bragging rights to the movie industry. The first movie studio was built in 1918. Tel- evision followed. The city’s motto, The Heart of Screenland, could not be more appropriate. In more recent years the in- dustry waxed and waned, but today it is on the verge of a ti- tanic comeback. Francine Champagne is the owner and president of VI- SION. A severe case of flu prevented her from hosting the glitterati that night, but I caught up with her later and we dis- cussed the great success her agency has enjoyed. I commented on the feeling of warmth, caring, and sincerity which en- veloped guests at the party. I had heard several of them com- ment on this. She said, “We like to keep everything very family style. We want people to feel comfortable when they walk into VISION. We deal with so many young people on a day to day basis, and it is nice for them to feel that they are part of a fam- ily.” I asked Francine why she had chosen the name VISION. She said, “Years ago I merged with another company from New York and Belgium that had the name. I loved it because it conjured up an idea of having a vision of what beauty is and how people should be represented. Yesterday we received an email about a girl we are developing. The sender thanked us 42 PAGEANTRY for having the vision of knowing exactly how to represent her. It is a word that is in our vocabulary every day. I’m glad I stayed with the name.” Referring to the relocation of her agency, she explained, “Culver City is on the brink of exploding again. We are so happy to be here before it takes off.” I asked Francine for advice for parents and models. She of- fered, “Today everything is online and globally integrated through social media and websites. The business is no longer something that is unknown. Parents should be involved and do their research. They need to have an idea of what this business is all about.” She said that aspiring models and actors should do the same. Francine also had this advice for everyone involved in this career path: “They must realize that this is a very specialized business and anyone who wants to be part of it has to under- stand that. Every client has a different idea of who would be the perfect person for a particular job, so you have to be able to take the negative with the positive. Also, there must be an un- derstanding that today it is not just about physical stature; so much more is involved. Models must have a good personality and be able to give the client more than just the image.” Tony Perkins was leading the dream team of coworkers at MODELING Continued on page 66