#211 New Zealand’s Next Top Model – the agents have their say

Photo: Clyne Management
Karla Devine, one of New Zealand’s Top Models. (But without reality TV assistance.)

New Zealand’s modelling industry is a small but beautiful thing. So despite New Zealand’s Next Top Model still being a mere twinkle in TV3’s eye, it seemed only right to get the opinions of the people who know the industry best – the bookers. Isaac Likes contacted the five largest agencies in Auckland; 62 Models, Clyne, Red Eleven, Nova and August for comments. Of the five, 62, Clyne and Red Eleven consented to interviews. Nova and August declined to comment.

Photo: Ecube
Red Eleven’s Amanda Betts with models.

First, I spoke with Amanda Betts, director of Red Eleven:

Have you heard anything about New Zealand’s Next Top Model?
Do you know what? I’ve only heard about that from over the weekend.

Right, so just in the Sunday Paper.
Yeah yeah yeah.

So nobody’s contacted you or anything about possible involvement?
No no not at all. I thought that it should be open to everybody, because there’re some bloody good models at all the agencies at the moment.

(ed’s note: According to the rules of America’s Next Top Model: You must not have previous experience as a model in a national campaign within the last five years (including, but not limited to, appearances on television and print advertisements). Additionally, if you are currently represented by an agent or manager and are selected to be interviewed for the Series, you must provide sufficient evidence to the Producers that you will be able to effectively terminate such representation prior to your participation in the Series, if selected. If selected to participate in the Series, you must terminate, prior to your participation, any representation which conflicts with the terms of your participation. So, presumably, a contract with 62 Models would be up for grabs meaning other agents would not want their models to be involved in the competition.)

Do you have anything you’d like to say about the competition? Or the possibility of the show going ahead in New Zealand?
I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. Personally, I’m not sure, because I think that New Zealanders are traditionally kind and humble towards each other. And if they do want to win and at any cost will they have the tendency to keep it to themselves? So rather than mercilessly saying she’s fat and I’m not, or I’m hot and she’s not, they are more inclined to just quietly cook away, and succeed in their own right, and independently. So, sometimes I wonder if the New Zealanders are too humble and afraid with the tall poppy syndrome to make it good television. But I guess, the thing is too, is finding the next top model, so sometimes the best drama comes from people that will never be able to be top models, and that’s why they’re so hungry and competitive for it. At the end of the day, you’ve got to be able to be really competitive in order to be a really good model, and so, if they can draw out some people that have got really good competitive spirit and find a really great model in the process, that’s just fantastic for New Zealand in general.

Without getting agents to judge it, do you think we have enough celebrity type people who know enough about the modelling industry that would be able to properly judge the show?
I don’t think that celebrities should be choosing models. It’s a totally different game. It’s like if you’re looking at rugby league and rugby. Close, but it’s not exactly the same sport. It’s the same sort of goal, with the business of modelling, and it’s the same thing with celebrities as opposed to having somebody who’s an industry expert, in there, but again the problem is that, I think that rather than just having one agent who judges it, I think that maybe it should be a collective, you know, would be a really good idea because everyone would have a different opinion about what’s going to be successful.

Photo: Clyne Management
Clyne’s Marama Nicholas.

Next stop, Marama Nicholas, Clyne’s Agency Manager:

Have you heard the announcement about the possibility that there’s going to be a New Zealand’s Next Top Model going ahead?
Yeah, I know that it was sort of being looked into, but I wasn’t sure sort of where it had gone from there.

Right so had somebody contacted you about it at all?

So you haven’t had anybody talk to you.
Oh I thought we had initial contact, oh bro it would have been a year and a half, couple of years ago? But they sort of haven’t made any inroads into it since there.

So what do you think it would be like, a New Zealand’s Next Top Model?
(Laughs) Ummmm, it’d be interesting, I think with any modelling competition, uh you’re going to get a range of talent?

Especially in New Zealand.
Yeah, in New Zealand as well, I mean the general sort of genetics and body shapes of people here in New Zealand is unique to New Zealand, but then you’re going to get that in any part of the world as well. Umm it doesn’t matter where it is, you’re going to have people characteristic to that sort of country.

And what is that characteristic do you think.
For New Zealand?

We’ve got a lot of Pacific Island and Maori population here, a large Asian population here now, in general for New Zealand? We tend to, our body mass index is slightly different? And I think we tend to have slightly shorter people here in New Zealand, especially women. That it’s very difficult to find that over all package here in New Zealand, I mean I’ve spent a lot of time in the US and Europe or Australia, and more often than not, you’ll come across a person who fits that certain criteria for modelling, and you come across that a lot less in New Zealand. But in saying that, we produce some amazing models here in New Zealand, and the top models that we’ve had come out of New Zealand compete with the best in the world. So there are those gems there, but it’s just that matter of finding them amongst everyone else.

Oh, and just so you know, I’ve just placed Karla Devine with the main women’s board at Ford Models New York. (ed’s note: Karla Devine is pictured at the top of this post in the controversial Air New Zealand Fashion Week campaign wearing Kate Sylvester.)

Photo: 62 Models
Rhiyen Sharp from 62.

And finally, Rhiyen Sharp, booker from 62 Models (the agency that Isaac Likes suspects the winner of New Zealand’s Next Top Model will win a contract with):

What are the chances of finding a girl who could become a supermodel out of girls who are not already signed with agencies?
Look at what happened with Australia, they found Alice Burdeu, there are definitely those amazing girls out there, we’re in Auckland we can’t find some girl in some tiny little town in the South Island from up here. It could open up doors for that.

Do you think 62 will be involved in it? Would you personally be involved in it?
I can’t say that, because I just don’t know.

Who do you think will be the judges?
We’ve got so many top make up artists, top photographers, there are so many people that I think would love to get involved in it here, and when you look at all the other versions of the show there’s like Nigel Barker in the American version, a noted fashion photographer, we could get one over here, but I’m just not sure who they’d want to use for the judges.

So there we have it. The agents have had their say, now you can have yours.

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