Jonathan Hess and Sindy Buezo-Hess intend to make their Hess Modeling Agency at the Studio on Broadway the go-to casting agency for deep south Texas. After three years in business, they are supplying models and actors for regional commercials, promotional events and photo shoots in the Valley, San Antonio and beyond.
To develop the talent pool, the couple established the Studio on Broadway with artistic and performing arts instruction in downtown McAllen on Broadway. There youth and adults are trained in the foundational skills essential for a successful acting and modeling career: talent (acting, dancing and singing), stage presence, makeup and hair, auditioning, working a crowd, and using a microphone.
“We are trying to prepare them to get jobs,” Hess said. “It’s about teaching students to push their talent forward so they end up working.” As agents, Hess said, besides finding jobs for models and actors, they look out for their well-being on a gig (from drinking water to physical safety) and advise them. “I always pay the models on time,” he added, often before the agency is paid by the client. “Many of the people who work with us now have been with us since the beginning.” That includes models who attended schools without a placement agency.
Buezo, a willowy and articulate beauty, began in the modeling business 20 years ago when at 6 years of age she began competing in beauty pageants in her native Guatemala. From there she landed paying jobs, the first being for a car magazine. In 2007, she met McAllen native Jonathan Hess, who grew up in Guatemala. The two married and came to Texas in 2012. They started their businesses when they realized no one else filled that niche.
Hess Modeling Agency clients come looking for models or actors. “Some local production teams seek all their talent through us,” Hess said. “A lot of businesses now come to us directly. We provide TABC-certified models for alcoholic beverages,” those models being in demand for State Farm Arena events, festivals, concerts and sporting venues, promoting tequila and beers. Hess Modeling has supplied dance teams at Clayton’s and television hostesses and event emcees as well as runway models for upscale stores, bridal shows and galas. Their talent has appeared in numerous commercials that run regionally and in Mexico, such as a cough syrup spot that required a child and mom, ads with a family group or a grandmother, as well as car spots.
“The business here is definitely growing,” added Hess, who previously owned a design company. He works on campaigns, branding and product development with agency customers, providing fresh ideas.
Buezo’s career in Central and South America gave her knowledge of agencies in other countries, and that has opened doors for Hess models to find work there. “We have the representation for several different kinds of talents outside the U.S.” Hess said. “The style of promoting seen in Latin America is moving north through here. There is a reason why Univision and Spanish-language stations are big here.” Their viewers are receptive to the kind of marketing they saw back home.
To read more of this story by Eileen Mattei, read the July 2015 edition of VBR under the “Current & Past Issues” tab on this website, or pick up a copy on news stands.