The Agency

the agency
scouting the south (3/7)

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, Pink, Becky and Lola take a trip down south to search out some new talent, while Greg tries to find a new model for a big Tommy Hilfiger campaign.

After dismissing yet another modelling hopeful – “Is she lopsided?” – high end women’s board agent Becky realises that walk-ins are not the way that Wilhelmina is going to find the next big star. Agency president Sean agrees that they need to do more scouting, and to this end has decided to send Pink, Becky and Lola down south to hunt for some new girls.

While Becky and Lola are excited at the prospect of whooping it up in some country bars, Pink is not looking forward to having to keep the girls in line. “All I need for you guys to do is to go down there, keep your sh*t together and find some great girls that we can make some money with,” Sean tells him. “That’s it.” With Sean’s words ringing in his ears, Pink warns Lola that he is not going to tolerate any nonsense – but he realises it is not going to be an easy trip when Becky starts complaining before it has even begun.

After the trio arrive in Nashville, Tennessee, they go to an open casting to start their hunt. They are on the lookout for what Becky describes as “tall, skinny girls”, but after a stream of “fat” girls hovering around the 5’6” mark it is not looking good. Becky is not happy: “If this is what we’re to expect from down south,” she says gloomily, “then I think we’re gonna be f*cked.” A visit to a water park – historically excellent places for scouting – also yields nothing, news which does not please Sean when he calls Pink for an update. The trio are running out of time to find “something we can turn into profit”, in Pink’s words – is this going to be a wasted trip?

Back in New York, men’s board agent Greg is on the hunt for a new model to present to Tommy Hilfiger. The designer wants “rugged” new faces for his next campaign, and Greg thinks he has found one in the form of young volleyball player Adam. “We think the kid looks great; let’s hope it works out,” he says optimistically, acknowledging that he is taking a risk here.

Alas, when Adam is flown in from Toronto, the agents realise that the potential new star is not quite so rugged in person – and is also shorter than they had anticipated. “I’m gonna have to figure out a way to sell him to Tommy,” says Greg, who has already replaced volleyball with rugby on Adam’s CV to present a tougher image. After a spot of role-playing, in which Greg advises Adam to think “bad-ass”, Adam heads off to meet Tommy Hilfiger’s casting director Jennifer. Will the fresh-faced young model have what it takes to be the face of the designer’s next campaign?

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?

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1