The Model Agency

Posted: March 18, 2011 by josheppard in Telly
Tags: , , , , ,
In a nutshell: “I’m not even being sarcastic.”
Popcorn rating: 4/5
Channel 4’s The Model Agency is a fly-on-the-wall documentary about Premiere, run by ‘creative’ Carole White and her boorish brother Chris Owen.
As the founder of a modelling agency, Carole’s business consists of judging people on their looks, which is odd for someone with a face like an empty scrotum. Perhaps she’s subconsciously aware of this – something’s riling her, anyway, because her principal hobby is jangling her chunky Chanel bangles while bullying the bookers.
What do the bookers do, exactly? After watching them for an hour I’m none the wiser. They have job titles like ‘Head of New Faces’ and they argue a lot about ‘cards’. I don’t know what ‘cards’ are for, just that while it’s OK for the female models’ cards to show them full-frontal, skeletally nude, Carole wants the boys covered up. Despite this, whenever a new boy arrives, he’s immediately asked to take off his shirt. “You might need to eat differently,” says a scout in as significant a voice as he can muster, aiming a predatory Polaroid camera at a scrawny whippersnapper.
“I haven’t eaten bread for like two weeks!” the boy assures him. “I’m not even being sarcastic.”
He doesn’t need to explain. Nobody in The Model Agency is ever sarcastic. This vapid bunch of irony-free oxygen thieves lack the depth for that.
Unaware of their own absurdity, they see nothing ridiculous about representing people with names like Sian O, Texas and Cocoa and have earnest conversations about the acceptability of breasts. Senior booker John says that D’s the limit unless you only want to be in Bravissimo catalogues. A small B would be better. “OK,” says his colleague, who has a particular model in mind. “We’ll get her in shape and see what we can get her down to. She’s 17.”
When not conspiring to starve away a teenager’s tits, John spends most of his time crying. Nathan, on the other hand, a sullen pretty-boy model, spends most of his time complaining that he’s scared of rejection and not turning up for work.
Nathan was 15 when he was scouted. “I was skateboarding,” he explains. “That’s my real profession. Well, it’s not. But it is. I mean, it can’t be. But I see it like that. I treat it like that.” He pauses. “Except obviously I mustn’t fall on my face.”
Simultaneously horrific and hilarious, it’s hard to believe The Model Agency’s not a spoof. Matt Lucas and David Walliams, take note: when there are real people on our screens like this, no amount of fat-suits and comedy voices are going to save you.
Reviewer: JoSheppard
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