Out modle Jenny Shimizu was famously discovered while working as a mechanic in California. It’s been two decades since she’s become a well-known face, and she’s taken on major ad campaigns, acting, a judging role on reality TV and a fashion line. Now Shimizu is going behind-the-scenes to become an agent at Women Direct Modeling Agency.
Shimizu recently took the time to answer our questions about her new career path, which she happens to have a lot of experience in already.
AfterEllen: What made you decide to make the jump from talent to agent?
Jenny Shimizu: As an agent, I kind of get to bring together the best choices I’ve made; I have a wealth of information about this business and moved back to New York a year ago and had opportunity to learn how to become an agent. Initially I wasn’t sure it was going to be a proper fit; the business is very difficult on both sides. I’m really glad i did it though, because just the fact that I can pass on everything I’ve ever learned about the fashion business and work with people I have connections with from being a model and now I am getting my girls to work for them.
AE: When do you start at Women Direct?
JS: I became an agent as of January, which, it usually takes two to three years before you start booking clients but I was really on the fast track because of my history of being a model so my connections worked out and I was able to move up really quickly; it only took about six months.
Tell me about Women Direct and what made you choose this agency over others.
AE: Last we spoke with you, you had a new new line of T-shirt designs. Is that still something you are working on?
AE: You’re very out. How do you feel this has affected your career?
AE: If your former pre-fame mechanic self met you right now; what would she think?
I’m really grateful … that I can be an agent in a business that is very difficult and be able to pass down the knowledge to new models that a look and a type is something that people need. So they either need your look or the don’t; it’s not something that you should take personally. It’s just a business like anything else.