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From Beauty Queen to Agent: Davina Bennett recruits talent for 'A' Model Management

Published:Sunday | February 24, 2019 | 12:00 AMKrysta Anderson - Gleaner Writer


Beauty with a purpose holds sentimental value for Miss Universe Jamaica 2017, Davina Bennett. The crowned queen, who grew famous for adding style to the natural hair movement, created social awareness by giving a voice to the deaf community. Now, she aims to effect change on a larger scale, by tackling an artform that she is all too familiar with: modelling.

“I believe too many talented women in Jamaica do not have the platform or opportunity to participate in the world of Haute Couture. It is my mission to develop and guide young women to achieve their full potential,” she explained to Outlook Magazine. From personal experience, she knows how important support and guidance is within the fashion industry, especially from professionals who are skilled in helping to jump those hurdles towards success.

Equipped with that expertise, she has decided to pay it forward, so to speak, by putting plan into action to start her very own modelling agency.

According to Bennett, 'A' Model Management (AMM) is an inclusive agency that looks beyond the commercialisation of women. While being employed is a critical component, women's development and growth is paramount.

“This agency is the first of it’s kind to be open overseas in Paris. Paris is the fashion capital of the world, and it is her view that if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. Her agency stands out by shifting from sending models to Paris to invite those chosen to live in the mecca of style, where they would work and train.

Why the name 'A' Model Management? The 'A', she says, was chosen to represent the quality and expectation from the models and clients: top marks, 'A' all around. “The most important part of joining 'A' is that the agency works for the girls and not the other way around.”

Intent on not signing girls just for filling lines in the books, she is seeking girls who she believes will actually work. While she wants to encourage everyone, she does not want to transmit false hopes.

“Our agency will ensure women are empowered and heard. Young ladies are to be treated with respect and dignity in an environment where they can develop, grow and become successful models and business women. We are forming tomorrow's woman who is also a top model and not vice versa.”

Already, AMM has selected key countries where they would partner with local agencies who share in the vision to find the next 'A' model. In Jamaica, the partner of choice is SWAY Model Management. The girls signed would join the agency in Paris by the end of April. “From there, we move to Latvia, Lithuania, East Africa and Poland. So far, we have discovered and signed some absolutely phenomenal faces.”

Bennett understands the challenges and concerns a young woman faces when entering this very competitive world. And it is her hope that she can steer the ship through haute hurricanes, style storms and choppy waters, without much chagrin. She has taken on the responsibility, placing the emphasis on providing a safe and productive environment to all the "A" girls. “Having been on the other side of the equation, I believe I am well qualified to handle the challenges presented. I know the drill. I am also counting on a great team and partner who provide vision and guidance.

The competitive business presents it's new shares of challenges once you factor in the set up in another country which speaks a different language. But the ‘once a model always a model’ disclosed this complication makes the challenge even sweeter. “France has a very rigorous legislative cadre and to a certain extent, staggering bureaucracy. I am grateful for the local support I have received which has assisted greatly in navigating this new environment.

The Agency is scheduled to officially launch on March 25 of this year. From there, all preparations will lead to the haute couture shows held during July in Paris. “Our first objective is to be known and established. I don't believe in placing the cart before the horse,” she confessed. Bennett is already humbled by the recruitment, networking process and the tremendous support she is currently receiving, “I owe a debt of gratitude to my partner Dimitris Kosvogiannis who has supported, encouraged and guided me throughout this process. He was instrumental in introducing me to the local movers and helped me overcome many of the challenges of doing business in Europe.”

Her advice to upcoming style entrepreneurs and aspiring models is dare ro take a chance. There is nothing you cannot achieve.”Make a plan, connect with the right people, don't compromise and it will happen. Modelling is a business and a passion - not every person meets a client's criteria, so roll with the punches. And modelling can never be a substitute for education, personal growth and self value, so be sure to achieve those areas of vitality and build your life on and off the runway.”

“I am confident 'A' will be a top rated agency and will create its own legacy in the business. I want to make my country, my partners, my family and my girls proud," she declared.

For more information, you can find the agency on Instagram: @amodelmanagement_paris and Facebook: A Model Management Paris.