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In the Mix: Neal Hamil creates a new kind of New York modeling agency

In the Mix: Neal Hamil creates a new kind of New York modeling agency

News_Eileen Ford_Neal Hamil_Jared Lang_Oct 2010
Neal Hamil, left, Eileen Ford and Jared Lang at the inaugural Fashion Houston event in 2010. Ford was honored with a lifetime achievement award. Photo by Michelle Watson for LastNightPics.com
Mix Model Management, Neal Hamil
Hamil has created a new boutique modeling agency in New York called Mix Model Management. Courtesy Photo
News_Eileen Ford_Neal Hamil_Jared Lang_Oct 2010
Mix Model Management, Neal Hamil

After a few years respite from the hectic New York modeling world, Neal Hamil has jumped back into the fray. The former longtime Ford Models executive VP has teamed with Models.com co-founder Wayne Sterling to form Mix Model Management.

The agency, which has set up shop in New York's trendy Meatpacking District, has assembled about 30 unique models (both women and men) who have already drawn attention from such fashion houses as Dior, Ralph Rucci and Jil Sander for upcoming runways shows.

"(New model) Savannah arrives Wednesday from Long Beach, Calif.," Hamil said during a phone interview from New York. "I want to be there to watch Ralph Lauren's face when he sees her."

 "If they don't have an inner light or something special besides being beautiful, I don't want to represent them because that's not we're about."  

He and Sterling plan to keep the agency small, with a maximum of 60 models, and innovative, with special content for digital media.

"It's a different kind of management firm from the typical modeling agency," Hamil said. "I don't want to be big; I want to be very engaged and a participating partner with every one of these (models).

"If they don't have an inner light or something special besides being beautiful, I don't want to represent them because that's not we're about." 

Hamil, who took a break from the modeling business and moved back to Houston three years ago, admits that some of his friends are surprised that he has jumped back into such a cutthroat business after "escaping" it. (He sold the Houston agency that bears his name to B.J. Shell around 20 years ago and moved to New York, where he managed such models as Naomi Campbell and Stephanie Seymour at Ford and was director of Elite Model Management.)

But when he recently had lunch with Eileen Ford, who founded the Ford Agency, she told him, "This is in your DNA."

"I just want to do something different," Hamil said. "This business is definitely in need of a shift."

Hamil added that he plans to retain his close Houston ties, with regular trips back home, including for the Houston Cinema Arts Festival, Nov. 7-11 and Fashion Houston, Nov. 12-15. He is creative director for the city's annual fashion extravaganza at the Wortham Theater Center.

"With the world of technology, you can do business just about anywhere," Hamil said.

Watch Neal Hamil and Wayne Sterling talk about their new agency: