In this social media world, where being “seen” on a daily (hourly!) basis is crucial, missteps are frighteningly easy. When it comes to modeling, those stakes can be even higher. No one knows this more than Melissa Jump and Wendy Buono, who have been guiding young models for years through their Tucson-based agency, Arizona Model Management.
There are so many ways someone can be taken advantage of or steered in the wrong direction that can cost a career in modeling,” says Jump, a mom and former teacher who dabbled in modeling herself in high school. “These days with social media and instant gratification, it is so easy to put the wrong marketing/images out there for the world to see. That can end a career before it begins.” Jump, along with co-owner and UA fashion and marketing graduate Wendy Buono, founded Arizona Model Management 15 years ago and this beautiful duo prides themselves on serving an exclusive number of models–40 at any given time– whom they can truly mentor.
Why did you start this agency? I love working with teens/young adults and I enjoy the fashion industry. I realized there was a need for new models starting in this business to have guidance. We like to take the scariness out of the fashion industry and help models, with a potential to model in markets all over the world, a chance to succeed.
What is your vision for the company? We are a very exclusive agency. We only want to work with models we completely believe in and feel can make modeling a career. My business partner and I want to continue seeing our girls be the best they can be and enjoy every runway show they walk, every campaign they shoot, every TV commercial they are in and every magazine they grace. We mainly represent girls 12- early 20s who are 5’9” and taller and boys 15-late 20s, who are 6’-6’2″.
Do your models only do in-state work or national/international? We focus on national/ international placement for our models. Our local market is limited, so we use it as a stepping stone to gain confidence and skills to further their careers worldwide.
What do you love about your business? I love the connections I have with my models and their families. We become one big happy family. I feel such a sense of accomplishment when our models become successful models. Each success they feel, we feel just as much!