The Agency - Thursday January 17

the agency
model contest (2/7)

Continuing this evening is the series that takes a behind-the-scenes look at life inside one of New York’s most successful modelling agencies. Wilhelmina Models is staffed by a team who are very passionate about their work, meaning fiery tempers, backstabbing and catfights are all par for the course. In today’s edition, the winner of the model contest is announced, while Owen is given some unusual career advice.

Tonight’s programme gets off to a typically explosive start as hot-headed agent Becky flies off the handle when she disagrees with a colleague about the potential of a Brazilian model. Despite being told by Sean, the president of Wilhelmina, that she should tone down her opinions, Becky is quick to defend herself. “I’m not just going to pussyfoot around people,” she retorts. “I say it how it is.” A

fter that initial spat, it is on to the week’s main business – meeting and greeting the finalists from a nationwide model search. From the hundreds of applicants, ten girls have been chosen, but only one will win a contract with Wilhelmina.

In order to whittle the shortlist down, Sean has brought in a professional coach to give the girls a crash course in model behaviour. Before they face the panel of judges, the would-be catwalk stars are shown the basics of walking and given some advice on how to be generally fabulous. Unsurprisingly, Becky takes an instant dislike to the coach’s methods and tries to persuade the model hopefuls that it is her way or the highway! However, it is not just the new coach who irks ball-breaker Becky. She does not seem satisfied with any of the models’ looks, and even likens one to Bugs Bunny.

After the grooming session, the models are treated to a team-building dinner with the Wilhelmina staff. As the free cocktails flow, nerves fray, making for a disastrous combination for some. The following morning, tensions mount as the winner of the model search is soon to be announced. The models have good reason to be anxious as they face more than just the challenge of sashaying down the catwalk –the girls will undergo a series of interviews to find out what makes them tick, before parading in front of the judges wearing nothing but their bikinis. To really get the nerves jangling, president Sean is fronting the panel.

Sean may have taken his place at the judges’ table, but the competition cannot go ahead without the entire panel –and one of the agents has failed to show up for work!

Over in the male side of the business, meanwhile, Owen is the hottest ticket in town. With a season of contracts that has included Ralph Lauren, Nautica and Missoni, the agency knows he has the potential be a big star.

However, feedback from Wilhelmina’s clients has not been all positive. It seems that there is one thing about Owen’s physique that clients simply cannot stand. Sean and the team take their star out for a bit of wining and dining, and offer him some unusual advice in the world of modelling –he must gainsome weight! Sean explains that “telling it like it is” can be a harsh way to make a living, but it is what has made him the success he is today. Sean promises Owen that if he fixes his body to give the clients what they want, he will be raking in the big bucks in no time. For Owen, this would mean the transition from European catwalk to New York campaigns. Does he have what it takes to stick to his new fitness regime and rechart the course of his career?

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