Certain things come to mind when the words "modeling agency" are mentioned. Rarely do those things include cabaret artists, stand-up comedians or burlesque performers. The new Berlin-based agency WeAreUnlikeYou aims to change that by finding individuals who embrace their passions—however unconventional they may be—and live life with all of their inner character.
WeAreUnlikeYou began when creative director Maurice Redmond saw some of the images his photographer friend Paul Green took documenting the Berlin burlesque scene. Intrigued by the characters in his photos, Redmond began think of stories for these people. After talking to Tim Rhodes, a mutual friend and photo agent, the trio decided to pool their expertise and started WeAreUnlikeYou to help connect the colorful characters in Green's photography with stories that needed telling. WeAreUnlikeYou isn't a typical modeling agency; its goal is to put people who are attractive not only for how they look, but also for who they are and what they do, in front of the camera to participate in projects that fit their personalities and penchants. For WeAreUnlikeYou, the story is just as important, if not more, than the headshot.
And the models at WeAreUnlikeYou have compelling skills with which to tell their stories and the stories of the clients they work for. Browsing the agency's website, it's commonplace to see traditional skills such as acting, singing and swing dancing, mixed with off-the-wall talents such as "speaks five languages," "aerial hoop," and "can run in heels." While the people represented by WeAreUnlikeYou range from musicians, to linguists and tattoo artists, Redmond says what sets them apart from traditional models is that "they don't play roles. Each of them have embraced their stage persona as a life commitment. The fact many of them make their living performing and embracing their passions is what makes them inspiring, not how many tattoos they have or how wild their makeup, drag act or burlesque costume is."
The agency currently works with photographers, directors, casting agents, copywriters and creative agencies in Berlin, London, Hamburg, Stockholm and Amsterdam that have stories needed to be told and are looking for unique people to help them do it. WeAreUnlikeYou books their talent with these agencies for commercial shoots and productions, many of which allow and encourage the talent to come with their own costumes, props and outfits ready to work with their distinctive charisma clearly visible. Thanks to Green's three years of work covering the Berlin burlesque scene, WeAreUnlikeYou has been able to connect its talent with performers and opportunities that best suit their interests. According to Redmond, the most important thing for the agency is discovering untapped talent that remain true to themselves, and being able to help those people achieve doing what they love.
"We don't style, dress, or art direct them, we just tell them to be themselves for us," Redmond says. "And it keeps things interesting for us as well. A deep breath is required before addressing a large gentlemen with a face tattoo and handing him a card with the words 'we like you' on it."
To book a model or see more of their roster of talent, check out the WeAreUnlikeYou website.
Images courtesy of WeAreUnlikeYou