Since it’s launch earlier this year, Ethnic Model Management has already begun to reach their long term goal of breaking the stereotypical image of beauty in our society. They aim to do this by offering a broad range of ethnic models and talent. Earlier this week we caught up with the founder of Ethnic Model Management, Terry-Ann Lapa. Here she shares the story of her company, the challenges ethnic models face and her advice for young and aspiring ethnic models.
What is Ethnic Model Management and how was the business created?
We’re a start-up model and talent management company and as of January 2015 we were thrilled to expand under our new name Ethnic Model Management.
It all started with Diamondz Design, a clothing design company I started in 2012 for a fashion show as part of Sydney’s Fiji Day celebrations. From that experience, I found a lack of Pacific models in the fashion industry. After finding a few gorgeous volunteers, I saw an opportunity to represent Pacific models and started the Facebook page Pacifique Models.
After two years I became increasingly aware of the absence of representation of models of other ethnicities; and from there the idea of Ethnic Model Management was birthed.
We aim to make sure that people of ethnic backgrounds, and their talents, are available to the Australian Market. It’s a great opportunity to showcase our diverse skills and unique beauty as ethnic people.
What do you look for in a model?
Fortunately Ethnic Models can take a broad stance on this! We offer models for clients who have a wide range of work. Every colour and culture is included in our scope, and we’re working hard to promote every ethnicity we represent.
We look for models, actors, singers, dancers – almost anything you can think of in terms of talent!
Our models are usually hired anywhere from TV campaigns, magazine spreads, fashion shows, films and promotional events, just to name a few.
Our commercial models can be of any age or gender, short, tall, plus-sized, petite, athletic, and everything in between.
Our editorial and fashion models are usually tall and slim. Female models are 5ft 10in plus, and have a slim build. Male models are 6ft plus and tend to have a muscular build.
Have you noticed any challenges that are unique to models from an ethnic background?
As with anything, there are always challenges. Breaking into the Australian and New Zealand modelling and talent market will always be a constant challenge.
The biggest obstacle for us is the stereotypical image of beauty, which isn’t inclusive of people from ethnic backgrounds. We’re here to break that by offering a wider, more colourful array of models for various roles.
This is an important movement that has been done all over the world, and it’s time for Oceania to catch up. Within all our various communities we have a specific view of beauty – this needs to be integrated into the everyday, mainstream world of modelling, film and TV. Ethnic and indigenous models need to be represented much more in these fields!
What advice do you have for young people who might be thinking of working with Ethinic Model Management?
Give it a go! Our job is to promote you until the right client comes along, in the hunt for your specific look. That’s why it’s so important that we have a large scope of talent that’s inclusive of all ethnicities, so that our clients have the opportunity to choose who they think is suitable. A great example of this was our last shoot, which turned out to be a huge success. Our models appeared in advertisements which were shown internationally – what more could you want!
I’d also advise people to check out other agencies – see what they’re doing, and compare it to Ethnic Model Management to make sure we’re right for you. We’ve been fortunate to partner with others in the industry that share our vision. They keep us accountable and help us comply with industry standards.
We’d like to thank the gorgeous Terry-Ann Lapa for her time and for sharing her story and advice. If you’d like to find out more, or to get in touch, you can find Ethnic Model Management on Facebook and Instagram.
Raiyne Kim Photography
Veniana Natekuru, Model
Moana Barroso Photography
Diamond Langi, Model
Nestlé Shoot 2015
Margaret Toga, Mariah Bellaluisa Alone, Maika Toga, Models
Aaron VIII from Publicstyle
Terry-Ann Lapa, Founder of Ethnic Model Management