Saturday, April 30, 2011

Recap: "Fashion Shock" Wilhelmina Brown Anniversary Party

Beautiful models, bedazzled vajayjays, and Cory Feldman.  All of the above and more were at the Austin Arthouse Thursday night to celebrate modeling agency Wilhelmina Brown's one year anniversary in Austin.  The night started out with an industry meet and greet with plenty of free drinks (just because they are free does not mean you need to drink so many of them Joanna) and interesting people (why Cory Feldman was there, I have no idea).  

Then the models took to their podiums and posed their hearts out wearing fashions from Boudoir Queen, the magical, pretty, and sometimes risque vintage inspired fashion label from Dawn Younger-Smith.  Interesting fact I learned from Dawn: all the shoes worn by the models were Pradas from her own personal shoe collection!  I love loved the 1920s vibe of  it all.  After the Boudoir Queen looks, things got a little Vegasy when models walked out half naked (actually I think it was more like 85% naked) with jewels, feathers, and makeup by Evie Evan covering the last 15% parts.  Check out my photos:


Stay tuned for a Style Watch post to see who was wearing what at Fashion Shock.

keep austin stylish


Rianna said...

Sad I didn't get to meet you in person Joanna! I will seek you out at the next event ;)

joanna said...

Yes please do!

Anonymous said...

You need to understand how Wilhelmina Brown operates. This agency leads hopeful actors or models on by telling them they have "potential" but cannot be "placed" until the hopeful purchases an expensive block of acting and/or modeling lessons from the agency.

The company has a website that allows hopeful actors or models to submit photos. Hopefuls submit the photos, then the company contact them, says the agency is interested in the photos, and invites the hopeful to an open audition.

The audition begins with a room full of hopefuls and many parents. The hopefuls are all shapes and sizes. Many of them clearly do not have any real hope of really becoming actors or models. The "agent" (Justin Brown) tells everyone in the room that the agency will evaluate everyone's potential "honestly" and will relay this information to each candidate "honestly."

After a short discussion about modeling and acting (and some truly good advice about hard work and being responsible for your own career), each hopeful is called into a room where they complete a cold read and have their picture taken. Then they are sent home with instructions to call back at a certain date and time where they will be told "honestly" about their acting or modeling potential.

The hopeful calls when instructed and is told how wonderful they are, how much potential they have, then invited in for a "one-on-one" so the agency can discuss placing them. The hopeful goes in for the one-on-one visit where they are told again that they are wonderful and have much potential, but the agency won't consider placing them until they purchase and complete a package of modeling or acting lessons ranging from $1,500 to $3,000 to start. The next step in the process includes the purchase of professional photographs from Wilhelmina Brown's photographer because there will be something "wrong" with most of the photos in the hopeful's portfolio (regardless of who took them).

My guess is that every single hopeful is told the same thing and that no one is "honestly" told they don't have potential. The whole point of the process is to make the hopefuls feel unique and special so they will purchase the lessons. After all, they got called back for a one-on-one! It's the same gimmick used by Barbizon, only this company tries to reel the hopeful in a little more carefully than Barbizon does. The salespeople use flattery and slowly play on hopefuls' dreams in order to sell them the lessons. By the way, lessons obtained elsewhere (including the University of Texas) are a no go - the agency won't sign / place you unless you take THEIR lessons.

As I was waiting for my daughter, I heard two young teenage girls telling their father how they could not "graduate" until they purchased just one more class. I heard the father exasperatedly ask, "Is THIS the last one?"

I checked out the agency's "acclaimed" acting and modeling teachers on IMDB and elsewhere. Most had brief acting or modeling careers. The acting teachers had bit parts or parts as extras in movies and TV, but no roles of any real significance.

The agency never attempts to hide the fact that they are a school. It's posted on their bulletin board and in the brochure they hand to hopefuls after the cold read. The rip off is the method that this agency uses to manipulate hopefuls through flattery and promises of placement in order to sell them lessons. Many of these hopefuls obviously don't have a chance of really becoming actors or models even after the expensive lessons and I have to wonder the percentage of those who really get some work vs. the percentage of those who never get any work.

S&M said...


Sorry that you may have had such an experience, but as you repeatedly stated, not everyone is cut out to be a model or actor. The agency gives everyone who wants to learn more about the industry and what it entails, and how to succeed at it, the opportunity to learn and be around other like minded individuals. For those who are passionate enough about pursuing a modeling and acting career but have no experience, this is almost a neccessity.

If you do not know or want to know anything about your craft, why pursue it? I went to Barbizon, polished my walk, put it on my resume, gained confidence in myself, and networked my way into being signed to an agent in Dallas and now also Wilhelmina Brown. I went to the casting, returned for the one ans one, was signed days later and am due for an audition tomorrow.

You must no complain, you must go pursue your dreams, there are many avenues you can take, but you must believe, have will power, network, and
persist. Wilhelmina Brown is not the only agency for models and actors in Texas, others have been around for much longer. Do your research and fibd them. If they like you, they like you, if they dont maybe they will next season. Follow your dreams. If you want it go get it.