modeling & talent ● modeling
By Eve Matheson
Broadening Your Horizons
Industry experts Tony Perkins and
Anna Lewkowska encourage models
to reach beyond the runways of Paris
and New York and pursue new
dreams in Hollywood as well
I nternational model agent Tony Perkins found his
niche in the industry by a “ﬂuke”. When a movie he
had been working on in Europe wrapped, he came
home to the United States to plan his next career
move. On the advice of a friend, he went to the fa-
mous Ford Model Agency in New York, where he started
work as a booker and learned everything he could about the
various aspects of the modeling industry. Then he moved to
Next Model Management, also in NYC, and during the
following 16 years established an outstanding reputation as
an international model agent. By the time he joined forces
with Francine Champagne, owner of Vision Model Man-
agement in Los Angeles and New York, Tony was recog-
nized as one of the top agents in the world.
It was not easy to pinpoint Tony for an interview, due to
his busy schedule, but I caught up with him in Los Ange-
les, where he was scouting new talent and faces. Having
great respect for his expertise, I put to him some of the
questions I am frequently asked by aspiring models, and
also by parents:
Q. How long does a model’s career last these days?
A. About two-to-three years. Fashion designers want new
faces every season.
Q. Should a girl model during high school?
A. First, I must stress that we want girls to ﬁnish school be-
fore pursuing a full-time modeling career. They should go
to their proms, enjoy sports and enjoy everything they
would normally do in high school.
Q. How does the trial process work during that time?
A. When we bring a 15-year old to New York, her mother
comes with her and they stay in our model apartments. The
father can come, too, but he can’t stay in the apartments.
Mother and daughter can go on interviews and go-sees and
learn the business together. This helps them both under-
stand how it works.
Q. What advice do you have for parents?
A. They must realize that this is a business. If an agent
takes a girl, it doesn’t mean that is the start of her career. So
much is involved in developing, molding and preparing her.
This is a team effort and a testing time for all of us. We
have to ask—does the model like the work? Does she like
the agent? Is the agent happy with the model? Are the
This is a great profession. It’s fun and there is a lot of
money to be made, but there is a lot more to it than many
Q. Can a girl who is not 5-foot-9 tall be a model?
A. A girl can have a beautiful face and body, but if she is
not 5-foot-9, she won’t be a runway model. But there is so
much more in this industry that she can do.
Q What changes have you seen in the industry in the
last few years?
A. The super model era of old is ﬁnished. The size zero
issue is disappearing. The slow economy has cut the num-
ber of jobs. The competition is much stronger.
Q. How do the fashion capitals compare?
A. New York and Paris are the top markets; all models
should spend time there. London is more likely to book a
commercial model; Milan, an editorial girl.
MODELING Continued on page 78