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MODELING & TALENT modeling By Eve Matheson EASY LISTENING: Radio Disney stars Savvy and Mandy provided entertainment at the Passport to Discovery cruise. Passport to Discovery For most people, a cruise is just a relaxing vacation, but this special cruise is packed with the modeling opportunities of a lifetime s a journalist, researching and checking facts on mul- tiple subjects has been my daily routine for over 20 years and it has never ceased to amaze me how re- silient the modeling and acting world is. The industry is always in a state of uncertainty and never more than now. Despite these turbulent times an irrepressible spirit of opti- mism has prevailed and many model and talent agents and school owners have survived brilliantly. At the top of the survival list are two legends of the industry, school owners Timothy McCormick, who recently retired as Pres- ident and CEO of Barbizon USA (headquartered in Tampa, Flori- da), and Chicago-based Charles Nemes, President and CEO of Barbizon Royal in the Midwest. Longtime friends, Tim and Charles share a passion for the pursuit of excellence and integrity in the industry. A short while ago, they masterminded an exciting new concept for showcasing their models and talent to agents, managers and casting directors from around the world. The event would be a cruise on a luxury liner where careers could be launched during a family vacation. Charles came up with the perfect title for the event—Passport to Discovery (PTD). In 2010, they chartered half of a Carnival Cruise Line ship for the maiden voyage. The re- sponse was overwhelming. In August 2011, with the extra support of colleague Jonathan Roth, a school owner from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, they char- tered the full ship and doubled their numbers. Over 2,200 passen- gers—including 1,000 contestants, 1,000 parents and guests, 100 A 80 PAGEANTRY pre-screened agents, managers and other industry professionals, and 120 highly trained staff—left Tampa for Cozumel and Grand Cayman. It was a five day fest of floating competitions and family fun. Other organizations have held shipboard competitions but none of this magnitude. I discussed PTD with Laura LaBelle, COO of Barbizon USA. She told me, “The cruise is a really affordable vacation for the fam- ily. Parents have the opportunity to see their child compete and fol- low a dream. They also have wonderful opportunities for family excursions when they stop at Cozumel and Grand Cayman. They can do something they wouldn’t do while visiting a big city to pur- sue that dream. Also on a cruise they are really unplugged; they are not attached to cell phones or computers. Everyone on board is part of our Barbizon family. There are no outside influences. It is secure and safe. Safety, quality and integrity are very important to us.” Discussing feedback from parents, she told me, “I asked one fa- ther how he had been nominated to accompany his daughter on the ship, instead of her mother and he said, ‘My daughter is 17- years old and this is likely the last time she and I will have time like this to spend together. Because we are on this international ship, she is not attached to her cell phone, or texting friends or Face- booking. We are dressing up to go to dinner and spending time to- gether. After this she will go off to college, start her own career and get married. This is my quality time with her.’” I spoke to two mothers who had accompanied their daughters on Passport to Discovery. Vanessa Addis and her 18-year old daughter Victoria, a former Barbizon graduate, received their invi-