(Images of Ngahuia & Jemma by Katrina Lousi)
You have almost certainly seen Ngahuia Williams on various large billboards and in countless magazines and television ads. The woman has dominated the fashion scene as a model for as long as I can remember. She, together with longtime friend Jemma Murray, is now more than two years deep in a more behind the scenes capacity. The two buds founded N Model Management in 2011, an agency that also boasts local legends like Penny Pickard and Georgia Fowler on its books. I remember watching with interest when N Model Management was first launched, thinking what balls it must take to go out on your own so publicly, with no guarantee of success.
I got the two ladies together to talk about what led them to start up their own modelling agency, and to get a bit of an insight into the life of a model agent, and what it takes to start your own business :
Ngahuia : When I first had the idea, it was something really vague, it wasn’t really planned solidly. I used to go hang out at Jemma’s house a lot, and we talked a lot about ideas on what we’d like to do in the future. We sat there one night, and I said what I’d like to do, and Jems said she’d support me, and that we could do it together. I thought that was really cool, so we did. It was really disorganised at the time, and we just threw ourselves into it, and it just happened.
Jemma : Yeah, it was very quick, and unplanned. I think we gave ourselves two weeks, because I had two kids, and so I said, ‘Two weeks, I’ll get the kids into daycare” basically, and that’s what we did. We started with no real plan, a very random, last minute idea and we just went with it.
You’ve been a model for so long, what made you take that leap?
Ngahuia : When I started the agency, I worked for a small amount of time at 62 Models as a booker, and I really enjoyed that side. Before I was a booker, I worked on a few cycles of NZ Top Model, mentoring the girls, and I just really enjoyed that side of things. Watching people grow and booking them on jobs is really exciting. Instead of doing it for yourself, I find doing things for others a bit more rewarding, so that’s why I did it. And I’m good at it.
Did you have any idea about what you were getting yourself into?
Jemma: None. Zero. I’d never even contemplated having anything to do with this industry, it was very random.
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