It’s fair to say i have had some interesting jobs in my time, but its hard to beat my time spent working for the UGLY Modelling Agency… UGLY is the worlds leading character modelling agency and has over 1000 models of all shapes and sizes on their website, which says;
“We like our women fat and our men geeky, we like the extremely tall and the shockingly small. No one is too abstract for our books! We are Ugly. And we are the leaders in character modelling”
I applied for an “Office Junior” position which i found online and would involve making endless cups of tea, signing up the models and helping to complete the “model book” which is produced every year and sent to an ever growing list of global clients.
I arrived at the interview to meet the heavily tattooed boss of UGLY Models – Marc French who has been in charge since buying the business out in the 80s. Marc was as a successful model himself, and since taking over the company he has expanded globally and created an off-shoot fashion agency within the company called Rage which runs from the same office.
I managed to blag the interview and was called back immediately and told to start the following day on a starting salary of 12,000 a year. The Ugly Agency at the time was a small team, headed up by long-term booker / office manager Coxy, fashion booker Lydia and aspiring actress Lulu. It was an interesting team all of whom had strong personalities which would be needed when having to deal with some pretty unruly “models” who didn’t take any shit.
Every week we would hold an open casting where the weird and wonderful would come out of the woodwork, bringing along their portfolios and hoping to make it onto the books. Everyone from; grandma’s to midgets to hermaphrodites to thugs were welcome, and by the first day in the office i knew that this would not be your typical 9-5.
A few months passed and my responsibilities eventually increased to where i could start booking some of the models on castings, Marc and i were now good friends and would spend most of the days giving each other dead arms or taking trips around London in his pimped up BMW X5 where i would end up helping him with random personal jobs thats needed doing, like painting or moving his stuff into storage, i was ultimately his P/A or “bitch” as he liked to call me.
Marc thought it would be hilarious to stitch me up on my first “booking” by giving me a list of girls to invite to a casting for a new sex book that was being produced by the leading photographer “Rankin”. The particular article in the book that required models was a page about different type of pubic hair and it was my job to source the models for this particularly lucrative job. The call to my first model went something like this;
Me: “Hi, er… I’s Jon from UGLY”
Model: Hi Jon, what’s up!
Me: I have a new job thats just come in from the leading photographer Rankin
Model: Ooo… Sounds exciting!
Me: It’s for a new sex book…
Model: ………. okaay…
Me: So basically, the client wants to know what state your pubes are in? trimmed, kemt, shaved or “bushy”
Me: …Erm…. Hello?
To which the phone went dead.
Another one of Marc’s genius ideas was to get some exposure in the press for the new “Guinness World Records” book that was soon to be released, for “The Most Amount Of Piercings”, and Marc thought as we had the poster boy for the Ugly Agency Prince Albert (pictured), it made sense to try and generate some PR for the agency and submit him for the record again which he had previously won.
The only “problem” was that Prince had never actually been officially counted by us or me as the case may be, which was not ideal – as his name suggest his balls and bell-end had more holes that colander so it would require a rather invasive examination.
Predictably, it was my job to count each sack using a biro, including his undercarriage which was also home to more metal rings. The total count was 241, which despite being a previous record was way short of the new record holder Elaine Davison who managed to achieve a staggering 462, which has since increased to a ludicrous 3,950.
Jobs like these came in everyday which made it a great place to work, all of the models on the books had stories to tell, unlike the typical fashion models who would struggle to string a sentence together. The grannies were my favourite to work with, one in particular called “Helen” who would come down to the office and bring us cakes but mainly to have a chat as most of the time we were the only people to call her on the phone, so we eventually became a substitute family for her.
Sadly over the course of the year she started to show the signs of dementia which was hard for us, as we would call her up and give her the details for a casting, she would then spent the rest of the day calling us back every couple of hours saying she had “spilt coffee” on her diary and needed the info again, forgetting that she had already used this excuse already. Eventually we had to stop booking her on jobs as despite being feisty she was in her 80’s amazingly, but every job would take all day to arrange as she would get lost on the tube systems or forget where she had written the clients number to contact them and it just became too difficult of us in the end to try and manage.
Marc and I are still in touch and the agency is still doing very well, they still regularly look for new talent so if you feel like you have a “look” send over your pictures or attend one of the open days, it’s good fun and you get to meet some cool people as well, they usually put into up on their website www.ugly.org ..