Fri | May 24, 2019

Davina Bennett sets up modelling agency in Paris

Published:Friday | February 22, 2019 | 12:23 AMAvia Collinder - Business Reporter
Davina Bennett, model and entrepreneur.
Davina Bennett (centre) is flanked by AMM models (from left) Ayisha Hemmings, Melesha Downer, Yemi Thompson, Joanna King, Mariah Martin and Malika Stewart.
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In two months, Davina Bennett will officially open the doors of a modelling agency to fresh talent in Paris, France.

The 23-year-old has taken a different career track, choosing to go to the beating heart of fashion as an entrepreneur through a company called A Model Management SA, or AMM.

“We are looking to open in Paris’ prestigious Faubourg Saint-Honoré district. A Model Management was established January 15 and we will be cutting the red ribbon April 25th,” Bennett told the Financial Gleaner on Wednesday.

Bennett is a Jamaican model and beauty pageant title holder. In 2017, she was second runner-up in the Miss Universe contest. She was later contracted as the face of Shea Moisture in last year, representing the company’s Black Castor Oil haircare product line, and is Wisynco’s brand ambassador for its Wata, Wisynco ECO, CranWata and Yoplait brands.

The model, who is from the parish of Clarendon, was pursuing a degree in marketing at The University of the West Indies until she bowed to contractual obligations, and the development of her new business venture, and deferred her studies.

Now she is focused on making a success of the AMM agency for which she has been laying the groundwork for about a year.

Jamaican aspirants Malika Stewart, Yemi Thompson, Ayisha Hemmings, Mariah Martin, Joanna King and Melesha Downer are on board as modelling talent.

Bennett describes them as “six of the stunning new faces we scouted in Jamaica”. The agency is developing a website for launch on March 10, but in the meantime, Bennett is showcasing the initial six on Instagram.

“We have already targeted countries such as Jamaica, Russia and the Ukraine, with the intention to continue to scout new, fresh faces that are going to make our agency one of Paris’ best,” she asserted.

The Jamaican agent said all the models selected in Jamaica will be signed to Sway Caribbean Model Agency – a partner agency run by Jermaine Dyer – where they will be groomed for the Paris market, Bennett told the Financial Gleaner via email from France.

“We are an agency that champions empowerment and so we will be grooming our ladies, training, developing, mentoring and financially supporting them in all aspects to make them successful international models.”

Bennett, who started her company with co-investment from partners domiciled in Europe, said she chose France for her agency to help break the glass ceiling for Jamaican models, who often face rejection on the international circuit.

“I chose Paris because it is one of the major fashion capitals of the world,” said Bennett. “I have been through the struggles of visiting multiple agencies on the international market and being rejected countless times. I was lucky to have family that supported me financially through those times and, unfortunately, not everyone is as fortunate. I have faced the challenges and I believe it has made me equipped to help these young girls cross the bridge of possibilities, hope, success and knowledge,” she said.

As to her partners, she said, they were private investors “who prefer to remain as just investors”. The initial capital was spent on the rental of the office space and engagement of talent.

“We are fortunate that the initial capital output is minimal but we expect it to increase as the office grows and as our activities for scouting and other commercial affairs increase,” Bennett said.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com