Tonight was the series premiere of Remodeled on The CW, and let me assure you, this isn’t just another modeling show. It’s actually inspiring and gives hope that our world can adopt a new vision of what is beautiful.
The show is focused around Paul Fisher and his new venture called “The Network.” This new collaborative network is bringing small agencies from around the world together and attempting to change the industry from the inside out. They have a few missions, including: make sure the small agencies no longer get pushed around by the big boys, create the next generation of supermodels, and empower those models to take control of their careers and live healthier lives.
Jump ahead to read more about the show and to check out this truly inspiring interview.
Paul and his team will not only make over the offices of the agencies that join The Network, but he’ll be working with the owners to help them find a true star – and help them hold onto that star.
I know that still sounds like the run of the mill modeling marketing, but it’s not. It’s so much more. Paul Fisher wants these models to stay in school, to love themselves, and he wants the industry to start accepting that regular, healthy women are not a size zero. (I mean really…zero shouldn’t even be an option for size.)
Paul Fisher, Executive Producer and star of the show, took some time to speak with journalists recently about why this show is worth watching, how it’s different, and how he’s changed as an agent. Now on with the questions!
On what The Network is and why he decided to form it
Paul Fisher: You know, I was an agent for about 20 years, and I got out of the modeling industry about 10 years ago. But about two and a half years ago, I decided to see if I could jump back into the modeling industry and kind of repent for the sins of my past when I was the big, famous modeling agent Paul Fisher representing you know Naomi Campbell, and Stephanie Seymour, and Carre Otis, and Carla Bruni, and Monica Bellucci, and Kimora Lee-Simmons, and Brook Burke.
When I became this famous, famous modeling agent guy, I – my ego became very, very large. Became very, very big. And, I decided to jump back into the industry to A, on one hand you know repent for the sins of my past. I’ll jump back into the modeling industry and I’ll see if I could repent for my sins from the past, and at the same time see if I could fix the modeling industry, try to transform the modeling industry, and bring in the world of health and wellness into the world of the modeling industry.
I got very discouraged by watching how young people when – you know, how their lives kind of spiraled downwards when they became famous models, or even when they didn’t become famous models. And so, I decided to see if I could do something about it. And so I went on this mission about two and a half years ago to see if I could connect and roll up about 150 modeling agencies around the world.
Now The Network is currently 50 agencies strong. We’re the largest in the world. We represent – my agencies represent about 14,000 models around the world. Kind of how modeling agencies manage models, I manage – me and my team manage modeling agencies around the world. We connect them. We empower them.
My goal and my dream was to empower agencies in small markets, which are the agencies that are actually discovering the stars in the first place, to actually give them the tools, the ability, the contacts, the relationships to actually make people famous.
So – and I say in closing, you know, this is not a – we’re not creating a business because they wanted to do a show about us. You know, this is our business and they decided they wanted to make a show about us. We were very ambivalent about allowing them to make a show about us. We thought it would mess up our mission and slow down our mission.
So that’s what The Network’s all about. We’re a community of modeling agencies. We have health experts, body conscious issues for women experts, we have parenting experts, we have skin experts, self-esteem experts, depression experts, and we’re trying in our way – in our way to try to create a very, very, very safe environment for young kids all over the world that want to enter into our business.
On why he became an agent to begin with
Paul: For all the wrong reasons (Belinda). I was 21-years old. I had a 3.96 grade point average at UC Santa Barbara. I had the opportunity to move to New York and get involved in the modeling industry. I did not even know how to spell the word Vogue, but I was a young boy and I loved girls, and I wanted to meet more girls.
And I wasn’t a good looking guy or anything like that, so I figured why not have a lot of power and I could meet more girls.
So I started in this industry for all of the wrong reasons – all of the wrong reasons. But then through the process, I just kind of fell in love with the process of actually creating – you know, not just stars, but young people that could actually have careers with it. But then once again, I believe when I was that big, famous modeling agent Paul Fisher – I really believe in my humble heart that I did for all of the wrong reasons.
I’m now doing it for very, very, very different reasons. But back then, I was just an idiot. I was a jerk. I was somebody you know that I do not – I’m not proud of the man that I was before, but now I’m trying – I’m trying so very hard. I’m trying so very hard to right the ship and trying to do things the right way. And then, I’m going to – every day I wake up, I try every day to believe in the kids, support the kids, respect the kids, have integrity, and I’m trying real hard to do it the right way this time.
On what he considers the biggest problem in the modeling industry
Paul: Well first of all, I think there’s I’d like to say two or three of them. Number one, this idea of girls being hangers, meaning they have to be a size 0 to 1 to walk down that runway and to do – and to work for the editorial magazines. I believe that all parties, including myself, must understand and take social responsibility for the decisions that we’re making.
I believe that the media – the images that our industry is putting out into the world, I think that we must understand that it’s effecting young people and the way they look in the mirror.
I’m telling you know, seven, eight million kids a year are having eating disorders. You know, the normal woman is 5’4”, 143 pounds. My kids, 5’11”, 111 pounds. It’s wrong. It’s completely wrong. Our industry does not reflect what’s happening in the world today, and it’s actually damaging to the way young people look in the mirror and the way they see themselves.
So I think Step 1 is the kind of images that we’re putting out there into the world. I think that’s probably the biggest problem.
And I think Number 2, and which once again I take a lot of responsibility for, we’re not being honest with the kids that want to become models. We’re not telling them how hard it is. We’re not telling the parents how difficult it is. We’re not telling the kids and the parents that, “Listen. You’re kid’s going to have $200,000 sitting in a bank account. She’s going to have two weeks of free time. She’s going to be 17-years old and she’s going to be sitting in a nightclub in New York. You tell me what’s going to take place?”
We’re not explaining to the parents – we’re not explaining to the kids what these are about to go through. How much – what’s – how the money’s going to affect them. You know what it’s like when a kid has a parent that makes $50,000 a year and one of our kids can make $50,000 I a day? Now tell that kid to go to school. Now tell that kid to take out the trash. Now tell that kid to come in at 8:00 at night and be a good kid. She makes more than you in one day – you know, than we make in a year.
And so I think that – you know, there’s entitlement issues. There’s appreciation issues. You know, the kids aren’t giving back. Things like that. So I think Step Number 1 are the media – the kind of images that we’re putting into the marketplace. And Number 2, I don’t think we’re being honest with the parents and the kids of the damage that could potentially be caused by a young person living 99% of her life based upon her physical trip.
And anybody – I don’t care who it is. She could have the coolest parents in the world. She lives – any of us live where our physical features are what it’s all about. It’s what’s driving us every single day. Sooner or later that is going to catch up to you. And sooner or later, you are going to hate yourself. So I think we got to be honest with the kids. I think we got to be honest with the parents and let them know what the hell they’re getting themselves into.
On how his views are being accepted
Paul: I’m fighting with people every single day. I wake up at 4:00 in the morning. I go until midnight. I mean, I’m on a war. I’m on a mission because your children – I don’t have children yet, but I’m going to have children. Maybe not this year, but very soon I’m going to have children and I want them to look in the mirror and care – and know that it’s not about your physical trip; it’s about your soul.
So yes, it’s – there’s a lot of challenges. You know, we have drug experts and health experts, and out of my 50 agencies, 48 of them are owned by women. Out of my staff of 17 or 18, you know 16 of them – 15 of them are all women. I’m trying to create like a women’s run organization. I plan to walk away from this company in a couple of years from now and let it be a full on…
Maybe I’ll be a consultant. I’ll look at it from afar and I’ll guide the ship a little bit, but I want it to be a full-on women’s run organization. And the reason being is I want it to be a safe environment.
Any heterosexual man, which I am, that is involved in the modeling industry; most of us got into it or do it for all the wrong reasons you know. And so you know I hope and pray that, you know, some of our initiatives – our health initiatives, our wellness initiatives really touch people’s lives.
And will I succeed? Not with every one of them. Absolutely not with every one of them. But slowly but surely we will chip away at this. And God willing – God willing in the next year, two years, three years, four years, five years you’ll see a shift of consciousness with these kids and with these role models.
And, I’m going to do everything in my power to shift that consciousness you guys.
On the problems with the idea of “the perfect woman”
Paul: It starts at the top. It starts right at the top. It starts with all those big, huge, major designers. And I mean listen, they pay my bills and I’m going to go to war with each and every one of them.
You may – am I going to be like PETA? The guy that’s going to stand outside the runways and throw paint on everybody if they keep using these guys – these models that are 0 to 1? Maybe. Maybe. That’s how pissed off I am. Maybe, because it starts all the way at the top.
And the problem is those people – just like young kids emulate my models, the young make-up artists and the photographers and the hairdressers, they emulate those big designers and those big editors of the magazine. So it starts at the top and it goes all the way down to the bottom. Those young testing photographers and those young agency owners, and all those people, we look up to those people.
And what the problem is, is those designers are too damn worried about their bottom line, as compared to you know the destruction that they’re doing to our society. They don’t realize that the anorexic rate and the dimorphia rate, it’s increasing, and it’s increasing, and it’s increasing. And, kids are sticking their fingers down their throat. And those designers do not care.
By the way, what’s plus-sized modeling? What’s this word plus? Those are normal girls. Get rid of that stupid word. These are not plus sized model. They’re normal girls. I don’t care if she’s 150 pounds or 160 pounds. These are normal looking beautiful people.
Call my kids skinny bitches. Why don’t you call them that because that’s what they are. But these are normal, normal, beautiful kids, these plus-sized models and it’s got to stop. So we got to start with the designers. We got to get into it with the magazines and it’s got to dribble down.
So my goal is to become a very, very powerful force in this industry so sooner or later people will listen to us – listen to us. And maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But sooner or later, they’re going to listen. One way or the other, they’re going to listen. And, I’ll do whatever I got to do to get these cats to listen.
People in my position, they’re afraid, “Oh, I’m going to lose business. Oh, people are going to get pissed off with me.” I don’t care. I don’t care. You guys are – people are beautiful. 150 pounds. 160 pounds. 170 pounds. As long as you’re healthy. As long as you’re healthy that’s all that matters. Everything else is a con job. It’s a con job.
It’s hurting our society and it’s going to stop.
There you have it. I found Paul to be sweet and insightful. He’s definitely passionate about this new venture.
As a mom of a young girl, I’d love to believe that the industry will change. As consumers, we also need to step up and say that it’s time to change the mindset of designers and the modeling industry.
Tune in to The CW on Tuesdays at 9/8c to see if Paul can ignite a nation’s passion like he did for a few journalists.