By Rich Figel
This past Sat., my cameraman (Marc Edward) and I went to the Wilhelmina model open call at Windward Mall, where talent agent Ryan Brown was also launching the Hawaii division of the world-renown modeling agency. Ryan has been the owner of the ADR Agency for over 12 years, and says actors they rep have been getting lots of small TV roles on Hawaii Five-O and Off the Map. ADR will continue working with actors, and it's possible some of the models he signs for Wilhelmina Hawaii will cross over to acting as well.
Realistically though, what are the odds of an aspiring model being discovered at an open call? Over a thousand people turned out, Ryan said, and he estimates that 200 to 300 will get callbacks. (Not just tall, slim girls either. He spotted a couple of kids and even a grandmother who he thinks he can line up gigs for right away.) He believes everyone they call back will have legitimate shots of getting modeling jobs in Hawaii. But he advises that no one quit their day job, since there just aren't enough local modeling opportunities to make it a full-time career here. However, as with acting gigs as extras or for bit parts with speaking roles, the pay can be pretty good for a few hours of time.
I also got a chance to talk to Roman Young, who grew up in Hawaii and is now Director of Scouting for Wilhelmina Models in New York. His story is a great example of what it takes to make it in an extremely competitive business, and you'll see it next month on Career Changers TV. Early on, Roman decided he wanted to be in the fashion industry, and did his research. He laughed as he recalled going to the library to learn who's who in the modeling world -- today, we just do a Google search. After contacting the top agencies, he received an internship offer at Elite Model Management, which was like a dream come true... except for one little hitch: it was an unpaid internship with no promise that he'd ever be hired.
Yet Roman jumped at the chance to get his foot in the door with the premier modeling agency. He moved to New York City, worked at night, and then put in full days as an intern for about a year while waiting for a position to open up at Elite. How many of us are willing to work for nothing for months, or even years, in pursuit of our dream job? I'd say very few. So when he got a job offer at Elite, Roman was ready to give it everything he had and quickly rose up the ladder. Eventually he landed at Wilhelmina and now travels the world in search of fresh faces. He's been written up in the N.Y. Times (link below) and appeared on television shows wherever he goes to find new talent. And he loves his job -- even the non-stop traveling. Roman says he has Delta Diamond frequent flyer status, meaning he's logged well over 100,000 air miles.
Roman was very pleased with the Saturday turn-out and thinks there's a good possibility that at least one or two of the candidates might have the potential to reach the top as international models. Then he paused and said there might be six or seven that could get looks from their New York office.
Anyhow, I'll have more to say about the modeling segments we did when our March show starts running next week... including the biggest modeling myth, according to Roman. And we'll show you how one modeling candidate did, who just happens to be related to our host, Theresa Tilley.
Today's relevant links:
Here's the link to the NYT article about Roman when he was still at Elite (you may have to be registered with the NYT site though to view it).
Click here for the Wilhelmina Hawaii site.