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modeling & talent ● modeling
By Eve Matheson
Clicking at the
Endurance and a universally
respected name have made
CLICK one of the most
important and successful
names in modeling
I never tire of reading about pioneers in various walks
of life; people who have had the courage to step out-
side the box of convention—that comfort zone that
assures them security and acceptance—to explore new
ideas, which inevitably set the naysayers in motion.
One story I ﬁnd really fascinating concerns a legendary pi-
oneer of the fashion industry. She was Lucile, Lady Duff
Gordon, an international dressmaker and designer, and she
would later elevate herself to the title Grande Couturiere.
A true survivor of social and gender barriers, she even sur-
vived the sinking of the Titanic.
Self-taught, as there were no trade schools or appren-
ticeships at the time, Lucile had skill and determination.
She designed for royalty, the aristocracy and celebrities. She
scoured the streets of the city to ﬁnd tall, slender, beautiful
girls to model her designs and as a result is credited with
being the ﬁrst model agent. Eventually she opened fashion
salons in Paris, New York and Chicago.
Today, we are all well aware of the movers and shakers in
medicine, science, education, the Arts and so on. The fash-
ion and modeling world has also had its share of pioneers.
One such icon in the modeling industry is Frances Grill, a
true visionary. A former photographers’ representative,
Frances started the CLICK agency (a clever title given the
nature of her business) with Joey Grill and Allan Mindel (a
med school student), in New York in 1980. A relatively
small ﬁnancial investment bolstered by her unerring dream
of diversity and breaking the mold that had hitherto stereo-
typed the professional model, was to become a multimillion
dollar business and one of the top agencies in the world.
A free-spirited soul, Frances included artists, musicians,
painters, sculptors, and of course photographers, who were
always looking for different types of models to fulﬁll their
booking needs, in her circle of friends. To accomplish this,
Frances turned away from the classic look sought by the
Ford and Elite agencies and booked girls and boys with a
different look from all walks of life, while still adhering to
a high fashion proﬁle. This caused a storm of derision, crit-
icism and warnings that she would never last in the busi-
ness. Frances, however, was a survivor having grown up in a
very tough section of Brooklyn, where at times, when her
father was unemployed, she was put into an orphanage with
her sister Rose.
Her vision, talent, passion and sheer chutzpah overcame
the obstacles. It helped to have famous photographer Bruce
Weber as her ally in the pursuit of what her competition
considered an impossible dream. She was also a friend of
movie star Ingrid Bergman which eventually led her to per-
suade Ingrid’s daughter, Isabella Rossellini, a journalist, to
do a photo shoot with Weber. Isabella, a very unusual type
of beauty agreed, even though modeling was not her méti-
er. Frances’s instinct proved right. Within months Isabella’s
picture graced 28 magazine covers.
Uma Thurman, Whitney Houston and Elle Macpher-
son are among the many success stories at CLICK, now
one of the greatest agencies in the world.
MODELING Continued on page 134