What's it like to be THE man in the modeling industry?
GlobalGrind sat down with legendary industry power leader Paul Fisher to get the inside scoop on his new hit CW series Remodeled!
One of the greatest modeling agents this world has seen, Paul Fisher now expands his ability to lead by not just representing models, but actually managing model management agencies; kicking them into shape to roll with the heavy hitters of the industry.
In the past, Paul has managed star models, names like Kimora Lee Simmons, Naomi Campbell, Janice Dickinson and Stephanie Seymour, but he continues to evolve and search for a new fresh face every single day.
After starting an agency out of his very own studio apartment and later owning The Network, the world’s largest modeling agency, it’s clear that Paul has nothing to prove to the game.
His main goal now is to create stars and share his knowledge of how the business works, because he only wants to see these models and their teams succeed.
Check out the exclusive interview below where Paul sheds some amazing details about the modeling industry, business aspects and the key to creating the star you aspire to be!
Plus watch Remodeled tonight on the CW at 9pm.
GlobalGrind: You’ve managed so many big names, from Naomi Campbell to Janice Dickinson. When did you actually start in the business? What sparked your interest?
Paul Fisher: I started in 1981. I was literally right out of college from UC Santa Barbara and I moved to New York City to open up a modeling agency for some very … let’s call them interesting people. I got into the industry for all the wrong reasons and I failed a couple of times miserably. I sat in front of the greatest photographers in the world, and the most powerful editors in the world and I just said, 'I’m 21 years old, I don’t know anything, teach me.' And some really wonderful people took me under their wing and just started to teach me the business. Then I came back to L.A., borrowed $10,000 from my grandfather and I opened up an agency in my studio apartment. That was the genesis of it all.
What are some of the wrong reasons you got started in the business for?
I didn’t even know how to spell the word Vogue when first started. I’m dyslexic so I was spelling it backwards and sh*t. I was girl crazy. I thought to myself, what better way to meet the most beautiful girls in the world? I’d open up a modeling agency. That changed very quickly, about a year into it.
I started to fall in love with the art of creation and considered myself an artist. I loved the process of watching an innocent naïve young person actually become a brand and watch that transformation take place. That really got me excited and wanted to become a great agent. So I got into it for all the wrong reasons but that changed dramatically once I created my first star.
During the creative process when you see a girl transforming, what actually sparks your interest in the model in order to want to represent her as an agent?
Great question, that’s the first time somebody’s ever asked me that. Most powerful agents or famous agents (and I include myself in that pack), we have these… - well not anymore - but these huge egos, that think we make people famous. You know like, I’m going to put my stamp on that kid and Vogue’s going to use her. Vogue doesn’t care, or Prada or Gucci, if you send the pictures over, or if I send the pictures over. That’s just our ego.
But when a magazine starts freaking out about a kid - the Steven Meisels of the world and the Mario Testinos of the world and the Patrick Demarcheliers and the Terry Richardsons of the world - when they start getting really excited about a kid, you know. Valerie at Vogue, and Rowe at Allure and Ed Razek up at Victoria’s Secret - when the phone starts ringing and people are freaking out about a kid, it's one of the most exciting things for me as an agent, even as a person.
To get that kind of stamp from all these powerful people around the world that really fall in love with the kid, that’s really exciting for me. Then the true art of being an agent comes into play. Who should the kid work for, who should she not work for, should she do doubles and triples, should she just do singles in a magazine? When that big rush comes from the power players in our industry that’s the most exciting thing for me. That’s when my job really kicks in.
When was the last time you had a big rush like that in terms of a model?
That’s another great question. To me it happens almost every day now. My company The Network, we represent about 50 modeling agencies around the world and those 50 agencies represent about 14,000 kids. So we’re currently the largest modeling network in the world today, which I feel very humble to say that. We have so many great models that are doing Prada, that just signed an exclusive contract with Calvin, that just did Versace with Gisele Bundchen. Every couple of days a new kid comes along and we get to launch her. We get to see the world get really excited. Now it’s happening a little bit more than normal just because we have so many - so many incredible new faces that are really doing great things in the modeling industry.
There’s yet to be a show like this where an agent is managing model management agencies. Where did this pitch come from?
I started to build The Network about 2 and a half years ago and I’m a private man. No matter what people see on television, they’ll see me yelling and screaming and really a very intense character; and that’s who I am. The one rule I had with the CW is they’re not allowed to tell me what to do. I was very nervous about showing the world a side of me that is very, that is very passionate. When Fly On The Wall and SONY approached me I was like I’m not into it, get those cameras out of my face.
But I’m really trying to bring in the world of health and wellness into the modeling industry and maybe this TV show could accelerate my mission. I didn’t pitch the CW; I didn’t pitch anybody to do a show on me or my company. They came after me and I’m humbled that they wanted to do a show on me, but at the same time I was very nervous about reality television. I was very nervous about people seeing a side of me that I didn’t really want the world to see. At the same time I was excited that that mission and our mission and my team’s mission could speed up.
Catch Remodeled tonight on the CW at 9pm.