Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Irene Marie modeling agency closes UPDATED

UPDATED at 2:20pm, Thursday afternoon: The Herald updates the story today. Included in the comments that go with the story is one from an actual South Beach modeling industry insider who lobs a charge at the Herald writer who wrote the story.

Caroline Gleason, of Caroline Gleason Management on Lincoln Road, says in response to her being quoted in the story:
"Obviously the Miami Herald needs to hire new writers !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The article clearly represents a one sided story and taking IM’s side !

Yesterday I was called by the “The Miami Herald’ and was asked various questions in regards to the closing of Irene Marie. First of all I never made the statement;

'Think of all these poor young guys and girls, who don't have a place to stay now and have nowhere to go but their parents' couch.''

I have no idea who said this and where the reporter came up with this ridicules [sic] quote.

Here is one of the questions I was asked and my answer;

Do you feel that the overall economy is hurting the modeling industry on South Beach?

We still have many clients shooting here, there were 16 castings this week alone!!!!

So please don’t blame the closing of IM on the economy when your overhead is too high and you can’t afford to have 8 bookers ! Keep it small and pay your models on time !!!!!!!!!! It’s not that hard !!!!!!!!!

Wow! Just what the Herald needs: another dissatisfied reader.

Random Pixels contacted Ms. Gleason via email and asked her if she'd like to elaborate on the state of the South Beach modeling industry.

She responded: "Hi Bill: Honestly I am tired of talking about it so sorry I really don’t want to comment. Thank You - Caroline Gleason."

Hmmmm, I guess she's all talked out after talking to the Herald.

Footnote: Another interesting and current detail the Herald story missed is the fact that Bar Refaeli, the Israeli model who graces the cover of the new Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, got her start with Irene Marie.


UPDATED at 7:35pm. -An automated message at the Irene Marie number says that "talent" may pick up their portfolios and promotional materials at the agency on Thursday Feb. 19.

Models with last names beginning with A thru M may pick up materials between noon and 3pm. Models with last names beginning with letters N thru Z may pick their stuff up between 3pm and 6pm according to the message.

Irene Marie is located at 728 Ocean Drive on the second floor above Johnny Rocket's.

A South Beach modeling industry insider tells Random Pixels that Irene Marie may not be the only South Beach agency to fall victim to the economic downturn. "There are several other agencies that are top heavy and as a result may find themselves in the same fix as Irene."

The same source says that part of Irene Marie's problem may have been her attitude. "Irene always made me feel like I should have used the service entrance to get in the building."


This just in! The Miami Herald has finally posted a story on the closing of the Irene Marie modeling agency on South Beach. The closing is being blamed in part on the economic downturn. It's unknown if fashion models are eligible for any stimulus money.

(Random Pixels broke the story last night.)

Irene Marie has been in business since 1983 and has been in the same location on Ocean Drive since 1989.

The Herald story says that the agency will "re-open its doors for limited hours on Thursday and Friday, for models to get their materials."

That should be an emotional and chaotic scene!

The story also says that Marie may file for bankruptcy. According to the Herald story "a bankruptcy filing is being considered, said Joel Tabas, a Miami bankruptcy attorney who represents the agency.

'We're fielding calls and e-mails from talent and trying to get the lay of the land on the financials and send some letters and account statements,' Tabas said."

Joel Tabas, the attorney quoted in the story, has offices at 14 N.E. 1st Avenue, in downtown Miami.

One question the Herald story doesn't answer is why Marie put on a lavish party last December when she knew as far back as Jan. 2008 - according to the Herald story - that business was bad.

Former Irene Marie models are encouraged to leave comments below and fill in any gaps in this story.


  1. I was with Irene Marie for 5 years because I had a great booker. When she left last year, alot of us left with her and continued to work till this day. We had tons of castings this season and everyone is working that I know, but at Irene Marie noone was working. That agency fell apart last year.

  2. I was with IM for a few months... the bookers were rude and I never got paid... the only reason I didn't pursue the money is because it was less than $200

  3. Irene Marie lost touch with her agency on a grass roots level. If you do not travel and scout and keep your finger on the pulse of the industry or actively work or sit on the booking table on a daily basis you are completely held hostage by your employees. Power as an agent comes in the contact with the clients as the models all come and go over the years which is the reality. If you are not in contact with the clients that hire the models therefore creating work for your talent you cannot attract models to your agency or keep them when bookers quit or have to be fired. The perception of the models is that it is one booker that is making them work when in fact it is usually the whole team in a functional agency. The closing of Irene Marie is actually a sad marker on things in Miami; however, there is still millions and millions of dollars in model fees being billed through Miami and a big part of being a saavy business person is to react to the changing times. The margins in model agencies are very tight and it is always much more clever to be a smaller operation that under promises and over produces and takes proper care of the talent.

  4. Irene Marie is a crook!!!! She owes a lot of models money including myself. We are the ones that made her money!!! WHERE IS MY MONEY IRENE!!!!!!!!!

  5. This agency was in financial trouble as far back as 2003. They were just staying afloat then.


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