Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Pierre Wardini

Owner of Models Inc. through which he represents prestigious models in Lebanon, Pierre Wardini crafted the firm he founded in 1991 into Lebanon’s leading agency with over 50 female models. In this interview, we asked him to give us the inside on his profession and what clients look for in a model. He talks about business, egos, photography, social media and of course, supermodels.

How many years have you been working in the industry and how did you start out?
I started back in 1991, my mother was a model and I was enchanted by the world of fashion. Moreover, as a businessman I could see the financial possibilities that could be achieved if I were to fully focus and dedicate myself to the business. So in 1999 I decided to dedicate myself fully to this business and discovered even more that my passion was to create a revolution in this industry.

What do you most enjoy about your work?
Mostly I enjoy the contact with people and the beauty of images: two things I deal with on a daily basis.

Ah yes, the photography. Who are your favorite fashion photographers?
Peter Lindbergh, Enrique Badulescu, Mario Testino and Mikael Jansson.


What about what you most dislike about your work?
Most people would probably think it is the often-mentioned superficiality of the business – but it isn’t! I don´t find this business superficial at all. Once you are in it you realize it is exactly that – a business – one that requires a lot of creativity, which is a privilege. What I really dislike are the big egos of some of the people in this business.

True that! Is there competition between different offices within the same modeling agency?
Models Inc. represents the most prestigious models in the region. I would say it has more to do with responsibility than competition. At the end of the day we want our clients to be happy and with clients I mean both models and clients – because we serve both of them.

How do you renew talent in such a fast-paced and competitive industry?
We have a division run by our two young bookers, who also take care of the scouting. Apart from this, thanks to our presence in the market for over 20 years, we have a great working relationship with agencies all over the world, who give us their talents for representation.

How do you decide whether a young candidate has potential?
Of course, height, face and measurements play a role. You asked me earlier what I like about this business. Well it is the factor of unpredictability. Sometimes you can have a “not 100% perfect model” that has it all due to her personality. So besides the mentioned facts, personality does matter. Our motto is: “ The secret to modeling is not being perfect” – by Karl Lagerfeld.

Who are your most successful models and why are they so sought after?
Apart from our Top Models, those that have an open smile, healthy look and a friendly image are the most successful. Clients look for classical beauty with lots of personality.

The dreaded question…Agencies are often criticized for promoting extreme thinness and taking on girls at a very young age. What is your opinion on this?
In my agency I do not allow any girls under 16 to work. A scout can discover a 14-year-old girl, but at that age she shouldn’t be working in what is at the end of the day, a very tough profession.
Regarding thinness…Look, I think it’s still a problem. It’s true that for pret-a-porter shows, models have to be thin. There have been attempts at governmental regulation requiring a minimum Body Mass Index of 18. Often it is designers who are blamed as those wanting size 0, and this is partly true. But lately there really is a growing demand for healthy girls. Slim, but healthy. I always give the same example: They pay elite football players to stay in perfect shape, to be healthy and strong—not obese. In the same way, a model must have certain measurements, eat healthy and exercise. A model that does not exercise and is overweight will not find work. It’s the harsh reality…for models just as it is for sports players.

Does their presence and influence on social media networks have a significant effect on the success of a campaign?
Absolutely! Social media has become a main asset. A model that has many followers on Facebook and Instagram is more public and therefore known to more people. So the advertising value and effect is multiplied.
Social media also has become very important for us as agents. People not only want to engage with the models, but with the activities of the agencies as well.

Is there a specific formula to finding the right model for a specific campaign?
I don´t think so. I guess it lies mostly in listening to the client’s needs and putting your personal tastes aside.

Tell us something that most people don’t know about your work/modeling/fashion industry.
People tend to think models are not very bright and just beautiful. I can only say…this is not true at all. Models who travel alone at a very young age, adjust and adapt to new photography teams every day, deal with adult professionals in the business and still give everything that is asked from them in front of a camera in order to keep the client satisfied are anything but not bright. They make relatively large amounts of money per day and have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders. They have to play their role in an adult business world and do a great job of it. Personally, I have a lot of respect for these young girls who are thrown into the business world unprepared and who manage to pull it off so well.

What about your best clients—those who you enjoy working with the most?
All of my clients…that is why I love my job!

Thank you Pierre!

Pierre Wardini

Pierre Wardini is the President and Founder of ‘Models Inc.”, a licensed model and talent agency located in Beirut, Lebanon.
It is a full service model and talent agency that covers all forms of film, television, and fashion modeling.
Pierre Wardini’s work is really two fold: there is the client end which includes consistently networking to expand his client base and add more clients to his agency in order to bring in additional projects and work for his talent. Then there is the talent side of his work which entails scouting talent and always being on the look out to search and bring on the best quality talent who are able to book the projects for the agency.
In the fashion industry, there is never a ‘typical’ work week!! If you like change and ‘going with the flow’ and you crave jobs with variety where every day is different, you’ll likely love the entertainment industry!  Jobs often pop up at the last minute and many of his talent work flexible job schedules in order to accommodate being available to attend auditions, callbacks and shoots.
As a man who holds a Bachelor in Business Administration from the prestigious HEC, and a Masters in Visual Communication from the Royal College of Art in London, UK, Pierre Wardini has always done a lot of networking with every job that he had. He had NO experience in the fashion business other than observing his mother, a former model, and her exuberant fashionista lifestyle.

It is very clear that Pierre loves what he does. He mentions in one of his interviews that  ‘If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life?’ That is ‘my’ mantra!!!  When he started working in this industry, he ‘knew’ this was it!  HE LIVES, EATS and SLEEPS this job!!! Pierre mentions that “ That’s how you know that you like what you do!!!  When you don’t keep track of how many hours you work… you just do it!  You are doing it for the love of it:)”
However it seems that Pierre Wardini, the man who has “made it” in the fashion industry has a constant challenge to deal with and that is dealing with people… People of all backgrounds, all types, all ages.  He mentions that “You never know who or what you will find in a person and you need to treat people fairly and well- basically treat people the way you want to be treated. I try to never forget that, no matter how challenging a person may be (and there are always challenging people in any business).”

However triumph is his only acceptable outcome and Pierre surly enjoys reaping his rewards. The most rewarding thing about his business is when someone simply says, ‘Thank you’ to him. That’s it… just a thank you. Period. Thank you for doing a good job or when one of his models says “Thank you Paul for supporting me and helping me through this process. I’m glad you were my agent’. That really makes his day!
Pierre seems to be as determined and committed as they get. He advises the young and hopeful to not do it unless they plan on working nights, weekends, possibly holidays and having an EXTREMELY flexible schedule. Yes, it is most exciting and it can be glamorous (depending upon the area of the country where you live- you may be able to work occasionally with celebrities)… but don’t do it for that! Do it for the love of the industry! And most importantly expect little time off!
Though people might believe that it is always glamorous, some of the jobs are simply not. Sometimes he encounters unprofessionalism or promotional gigs like contests and give aways at discount stores, etc… Not all jobs are glamorous and they don’t all pay a ton of money. Extra work also pays very little.
Nevertheless he has big dreams and ambitions to expand into the GCC market and reach out to bigger European networks.

Pierre Wardini is a relentlessly hopeful man with big dreams and is surely on the way to making them a reality.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Pierre Wardini is the CEO of "Metropolitan modeling."  in Lebanon and holds a Bachelor in Business Administration from the prestigious HEC, and a Masters in Visual Communication from the Royal College of Art in London, UK.
Growing up in paris as a young child to a father who has excelled in entrepreneurial businesses and to a mother who has excelled as well in the fashion world, Pierre Wardini took the best of both worlds and grew up to be a true businessman with a high sense for fashion.
His great desire to achieve as well as his love for his country brought him back as a young boy to lebanon and started his journey to build his own fashion empire.
Wardini was not familiar in this field until 1991 where he opened a fashion agency and with his managerial skill started supporting it from the background. In 1999, He decided to dedicate himself fully to this business and he discovered that this was his passion to create a revolution in this industry.
He is a multi-talented personality with remarkable managerial skills. His risk mitigation’s and perfection to project management makes his projects a huge successful event. During the Lebanon war, he went through a difficult life which has made him tough and focused towards his goals. He conceived his entrepreneur skills when he was 14 as he started make a few business deals at that time.
Metropolitan modeling. is specialized in event managements with the focus on Fashion event and they have a monopoly in this field. Some of the showcases of his career are:
LUX FASHION WORLD 2001 till 2006 a multimillion fashion eventDistrict S (Real Estates project) launchFerrari 458 Italia & Ferrari FF LaunchesU BOAT Watches Launch in BeirutAll the Wedding Follies Fashion Editions for the Wedding Fare in LebanonMany Fashion Weeks in different areas
Pierre said that he understands the importance of nurturing talent and support them to their potential towards succession planning. He took the unprecedented steps of organizing events to award upcoming talents. Incidentally, he never accepts to be awarded. He is an International Jury for all beauty & fashion events and competition and also plays a role of consultant for many celebrities and Top designers.
 His message to upcoming talents is “If you are focused and dedicated towards your milestones you will definitely achieve your throne”.
Pierre Wardini, a name now synonymous with great events and top models for around 20 years. People see him around, often surrounded by beautiful woman…  but no one knows how the the mind of the 45 years old man who holds a Bachelor in Business Administration from the prestigious HEC, and a Masters in Visual Communication from the Royal College of Art in London, UK.
Tell us about Metropolitan modeling.’s core business.
Metropolitan modeling. is an events management company with a big International Modeling Network.
How do you go about choosing the models? Take us through the process?
I travel on casting trips and I meet so many models in different agencies. We are very picky in choosing our models and this is the key of our success.
Why is it in your opinion that beauty is always associated to entertainment?
I believe that models should be involved in any sort of activities and they are key elements for the implementation and they assist to have a better outcome at the end. You have to associate beauty to all sorts of entertainments.
How do you keep that fine line between the reputations that models have in Lebanon. It must be hard.
Our models are known as the elite or the untouchables since we take good care about them and they are prohibited to go anywhere on their own. This is a major condition that we imply before their arrival.
What is Metropolitan modeling. working on now… and what should we expect this summer?
Metropolitan modeling. is almost everywhere and you can see us throughout the whole summer in addition to many fashion shows and shootings the models are performing during their stay. We aim to be the best in the business and bring only the best so expect nothing but the best from us. The future of the modelling world in lebanon i was really a huge responsibility on our shoulders. We really aim on improving and reaching international standards. There are many photoshoots to come that will rock the lebanese fashion scene, there are many fashion shows that will create a  whirlwind of positive vibrations. Be sure that Metropolitan modeling is on its way to unrivaled fashion success.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Talking to: Pierre Wardini

Pierre Wardini, owner of ‘Metropolitan Modeling’ has recently announced the opening of his modelling agency in Beirut, Lebanon following its success in Paris, France. 

Born in Paris in 1975 to a Lebanese father and French mother, Wardini holds a Bachelor in Business Administration from the prestigious HEC, and a Masters in Visual Communication from the Royal College of Art in London, UK. 

What inspired you to open a modelling agency?
Growing up in Paris, I always found myself surrounded by the world of entrepreneurship and fashion. My father came here when he was still a student and hasn’t left since. He met my mother, who was a model at the time, and it was love at first sight. Seeing them together was always an inspiration, and I was drawn both to the world of entrepreneurship and beauty. This is why I felt it was only natural to run an agency which specializes in finding perfect imperfections. 

When it comes to signing a new model, what are your main requirements?
At ‘Metropolitan Modeling’, we see beauties in imperfections. You can get any model, photoshop him/her, and you have perfection. But then, you can’t find a connection. It’s as if the person you are looking at lacks soul. Instead, we try to find models with unusual features, and work on flattering them through our wide portfolio of clients. Sometimes, it can be a simple gap in the teeth, think Georgia May Jagger, or even a not-so-perfect nose, like Giselle Bundchen for example. They aren’t what you would call ‘conventional beauties’ yet it would be close to impossible to deny their charisma and charm. This is exactly what we seek. 

And why have you decided to open an agency in Lebanon?
(Giggles) You know what they say about Lebanese beauty. It makes me sad when rumors circulate about women being plastic. I want to show the world what our real beauty looks like. I was here last summer, and even though I’ve never lived in Lebanon, I still feel that this land is where I am rooted. Unfortunately, over here, models don’t always get the chance to benefit from international exposure. Given that we are headquartered in Paris, and given the nature of our clients, I’m also hoping to give Lebanese models this opportunity. 
How do you see your agency expanding in the coming 5 years?
The plan is to first set up an office in Beirut, hopefully, it’ll be up and running in the next 6 months. Our opening is set for December 15. After that, we’ll be scouting for newcomers all around the region, be it in the Levant or the Gulf. 

Any words of wisdom to young entrepreneurs today?
Go after what you love, follow your passion, and never take no for an answer. That’s the recipe for success. If the whole world discourages you, but your gut tells you to go for it, then you should. When I first opened ‘Model Inc.’ everyone around me kept on repeating that the competition was too fierce and that I would never be able to stand out of the crowd. I started when I was just 23, and today, at 39, I’ve managed to establish a name for myself, and I’m nowhere near stopping.