Interview: Paul Fisher Shakes Up the Fashion Industry On Remodeled
Superstar agent Paul Fisher is on a mission to change unhealthy beauty standards in the modelling industry with his new television show Remodeled. Through years of working with some of the world’s top models such as Kimora Lee Simmons, Naomi Campbell and Stephanie Seymour, he has seen firsthand the effects of the fashion industry on female body image. Paul is shedding light onto these issues, and prompting those in the industry to take a long hard look at themselves. Real Style Network caught up with Paul to chat about his CW show and his mission to make a difference.
Real Style Network: How have things been going since the show began?
Paul Fisher: It’s life changing. It’s really crazy stuff. I am usually the guy on the other side: the agent, the manager promoting these young beautiful souls. To have a camera in my face and people asking me to have their picture taken with me is weird, weird, weird.
Real Style Network: Do you like the bit of attention for now?
Paul Fisher: In my faith, which is the most important thing in my life right now, it’s all about destroying your ego, so it’s a challenge for me. To me, it’s an illusion. It’s not real. I am on a mission. I am trying to transform a business. I really don’t want anything to take me off of my mission of what I am really truly trying to accomplish, which is for our business to put out the right images, so that young people look in the mirror and like what they see, and women realize that if they are 140 or 150 pounds and they are healthy, they are still beautiful. Our industry is messing up that type of thought process.
Real Style Network: Are you starting to see any positive change in the industry so far?
Paul Fisher: To be honest with you, not really. I am going to go to the fashion shows and I will make you a bet that every single girl will be 111 pounds. Those pictures will be in magazines and other young beautiful kids will think that’s what you have to look like to be pretty. The anorexia rate is going up and eating disorder rates are going up. I think our industry takes no responsibility for it. I think it’s disgusting.
Real Style Network: Do you think that the bad reputation some give the fashion industry is deserved?
Paul Fisher: Absolutely. It’s not being attacked enough. I think we suck. I think we care about the bottom line and money and dollars, but I don’t think we care about the kids…I think it’s wrong. I think people should attack our industry much more than they actually do.
Real Style Network: Is Remodeled a part of that mission?
Paul Fisher: Yes, that is the only reason I did the show. They came after me for six months to do a show about me and my company. I was like get out of here, not interested. I am on a mission and I don’t want anything to divert my attention from what I want to accomplish. Then I thought, if my company gained more exposure and people knew more about me then I could explain the things that are going on in my head. Do I have to be a little intense on the show and over the top so people tune in and get excited? Yes, but at the same time I care about and love the kids. That’s the only reason I am doing this show.
Paul Fisher: The first thing I will say is that these agencies in small market, their biggest problem is they don’t realize that they CAN. They set the bar so low for themselves. They don’t realize that when you find the next Christy Turlington, Vogue, Allure or Victoria’s Secret don’t care where the kid comes from. They just want the kid. Everyone thinks that you have to be with some big famous modelling agency to be a famous model. In reality, if you look at the top 100 models in the world today, none of those kids were born in New York. Not one of them. They all come from small little agencies around the world. They come from my agencies. I am trying to teach these guys that you can. We want to be agents for one of two reasons, either we want to make a ton of bread or we want to make people famous. Agencies in small markets aren’t doing either one. The bottom line is, they are the ones finding the kids in the first place.
Real Style Network: Have you run into resistance from the owners?
Paul Fisher: Yeah. When you have a business for 20 years and a guy like me comes in and says you are doing everything wrong, everything- the way you answer your phones, talk to people, the way you aren’t even telling [your models] the truth about how hard this business is- yes, there is a lot of resistance. My consciousness and my thought processes are very different than most of these people. There are a lot of challenges. We can now prove to these agencies that Bobby Ray that you see on the show signed an exclusive contract to Calvin Klein. We can prove that little Megan from Albuquerque who we found in a Kiva Juice was walking down the runway for the biggest designers in the world and did two huge spreads that you are going to see in Elle Magazine.
Real Style Network: What do the models at the agencies think?
Paul Fisher: When I go into an agency, I gut it. They have 500 models and when I am done they have two. I am not doing that because I am a mean man. I am doing that because I am saving these kids from heartache. I really believe in a year [the parents] are going to look back and say ‘Thank god Paul Fisher told my daughter she should go back to school.’ At first, the models are pissed off with me and don’t believe me. They think that at 5’4” at 28 years old they can do Victoria’s Secret. My job is to explain to them, ‘No you can’t. Go back to school. Get a job. Get out of our industry. It’s not right for you.’ They are upset. But then, there is this young beautiful kid named Chelsea who I found in Columbus, Ohio who was mauled by a dog. She has a huge scar on her face. I want little Chelsea to become a great model, because I want other young people to realize that no matter what you go through in life, if you believe in something enough you can actually materialize it. I want kids to see that even if you have a big old scar or are 170 pounds, you are beautiful. You are perfect. You are exactly where you are supposed to be. Chelsea is a very important kid to me; even though people are going to look at her and go ‘Paul what are you talking about?’ What am I talking about? She’s beautiful. She’s perfect. Other young kids should realize that if they have a scar, or god forbid they have cancer or have something, it’s ok. You are perfect. Forget this physical bullshit.
Real Style Network: Are there still standards on who can and can’t model?
Paul Fisher: Absolutely, but we are trying to change that. One of my dreams in my life is that I want to sit front row at the Calvin Klein show and I want to watch a beautiful sexy woman walk down the runway even if she is 160 pounds. As long as she’s healthy. I want to see people walking down the runway who reflect our society. That’s what I want to see. That’s my dream in life. When people bury me in the ground I want you to say that he is a man who cared about young people all around the world. I had this beautiful girlfriend named Emily. She was one of the most beautiful women in the world. She would wake up every morning look in the mirror and hate what she saw. It was another pound here or a little thing there. I would wake up in the morning and go, ‘How does a woman like that who looks like that love a man like me?’ I couldn’t convince Emily how beautiful and perfect she was. People think I am creating a business because they are making a TV show about me. That is bullshit. I am trying to change the world. We are making young people’s dreams come true.
To find out more about what Paul’s venture called The Network, he says to check out thenetworktalent.com where they offer drug experts, health experts, body image experts, parenting experts-and at no cost to the aspiring model. Pauls’ CW show Remodeled, he points out, is documenting what he already does. You can watch Paul take on the modelling industry as we know it on Remodeled Wednesdays at 9 pm ET on the CW. See Paul’s tips on what it takes to be a model here.