Paul Rowland: from 1 desk in the corner of an apartment to a global modeling empire

Photo by me, Craig Arend

Paul Rowland. A name that strikes reverence from anyone within the modeling industry. Paul is the founder of Women Model Management and Supreme Models, a visionaire extraordinaire, who can single handedly turn the course of the modeling industry at will.

His story is as interesting as are his accomplishments. Having managed some of the biggest names in modeling from Kate Moss to Iris Strubegger his success didn't come by accident, nor did it happen overnight.

Modeling found Paul. Over 20 years ago.

Originally, he came from Arkansas to New York City with the dream to be a painter. He had no close friends, no family, and no job when he arrived to New York. Working part time as a waiter, he was spotted by Click Models, the leading male modeling agency at the time.

In a common move, his agent left Click to start her own agency and Paul left with her. Then one fateful day, the birth of an empire began.

Paul's agent had to leave for Europe and she asked if he would be willing to man the phone. He said yes. Soon, he realized he was good at booking appointments. The businessman in Paul wanted to go where the money was at and when his booker came back from Europe, he asked if he and his partner John Gnerre could start up a womens division for the agency.

She said yes and in an unoccupied corner of the apartment, Paul made a desk from a piece of wood and set it on two sawhorses, set up a phone (there was no call waiting at the time) and got to work. It was 1988.

Two people, two phones, tons of passion and two decades later Paul's empire includes offices in New York, Paris, Milan and hundreds of people on his payroll.

Paul made it clear to me that he really doesn't care what other people think. He must've said this at least two or three times during the course of our brief conversation. While many will claim they don't care what others think, few will actually live it. From the art direction of his  personal photography to the girls they choose to bring into their New York office, he will not compromise his artistic integrity for the sake of winning the approval of another.

It's a life lesson we all need to be reminded of from time to time. In an industry where outer beauty is common, people with a great passion like Paul, who have the courage to live life by their own convictions and who live with a sincerity to themself are a rare breed and worth working to follow.

I know I'm following, how about you?

p.s. one question I did ask Paul was, "With print media struggling like it is right now in terms of getting advertising and pages being cut across the board among some of the finest magazines, what impact do you see blogs and the internet having on the modeling industry in the future?" He answered, "….the internet will definitely have a huge impact on magazine sales…but there will always be a place for publishing."


MONI said...

i agree on his last quote, and this is such a great shot and post! i really enjoyed reading through it :-)

Karl-Edwin Guerre said...

It's nice to see this type of info posted. It's stories like these that give inspiration and give a better understanding of iconic men and women. Solid post!

Unknown said...

Great Post! I really liked this story!

The Blasphemous Fiendess said...

I agree too, that publishing will continue. I love magazines and although there is much to browse on the internet, curling u on the couch with my laptop is not the same as curling up with a magazine. AND I can't take my laptop into the bubblebath I indulge in every Friday night.

kARA said...

Love to hear the positivity in his answer...I couldn't bear to witness the complete death of print. I agree as well...I think too many people truly cherish print media and the irreplaceable art it provides us with.


Anonymous said...

i absolutely agree that there always being a place for print.

Natalie Suarez said...

I enjoyed reading this! thanks for posting! :))


Vinda Sonata said...

yes. we need more men like him. men with real passion of pursuing something. this is an enjoyable read. keep it up! :)

poch said...

his tats r so amazing!!!


Maria said...

That was intresting..and 20 years..makes you patient!

徵信 said...

I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.


Bluefemme said...

Only in blogs like this you can read something this interesting. I really enjoyed reading this.

Alice D. Millionaire said...

i want him to discover me, his fellow arkansan. my oh my... one can dream, eh?
great post. said...

Great story of success.

The Photodiarist said...

Great story, Craig. Thanks for bringing it to us.

Stress Management Training said...

i.e. pursuit of happiness oh I mean pursuit of success.

Lowest Unique Bid said...

Quite brilliant to be understood.


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