Sunday, January 27, 2013

Model Management Agency – MMA: Samantha Paisley's Great Story

Samantha is a complete joy to work with. We could not be happier to have her in our MMA family!” - Lindsey Catherine

Model Management Agency - MMA has been helping people to pursue their dreams for 23 years. Serving models in the Philadelphia area since 1989, the agency has grown to become one of the most respected talent agencies in the Tri-State area. Ellen Wasser-Hrin is its Founder and Director.

Confidence, humility, intelligence are just some of the words that can be used to described Samantha Paisley. This talented individual already has tear sheets that some might regard as a career's worth of success. At 16, this Model Management Agency client's future has yet to fully unfold.

Character enables talent to thrive

True achievers live well-balanced lives. They don't limit themselves, or see limitations within others. It is that specific trait within someone's character that provides a path for others to learn from and emulate.

Samantha's overall success was partially revealed, in-part, through a response that she provided during our conversation. She believed that she had achieved success from the outset of her career because of the age bracket (8-12) that she was in when her career first began with MMA in 2005 when she was nine-years-old.

Her mom (Tess Paisley) worked for Mike Lemon Casting and from there she (Samantha) was brought into our office. We have been happy to help guide her in every way that we can.
Samantha is a complete joy to work with. We could not be happier to have her in our MMA family!” Lindsey Catherine, who is MMA's Children's Director and Placement Assistant, said.

Sam really wanted to do this. I didn't choose the path for her, she choose it for herself,” Tess said.

Tess advised that her daughter was selected for seven out of ten bookings during her early years. Generally, one out of ten is the industry norm.

There was something about the camera that always intrigued me. Maybe it's because I've been on home videos since I was three-years-old. I just light up when I'm in front of it and know that's where I'm supposed to be.
My mom is a real firecracker. Her spark has given me more oomph. My dad (Ian) provides stability and is always thinking things through. I'm so lucky to have my parents.” Samantha said.
Tess credited Ian with helping to provide her with access to a broader view of the world. Due to his British heritage, he has taken his wife and daughter to Europe on a number of occasions. That experience has allowed Samantha to be exposed to a variety of cultures since her youngest days.
The right priorities
Ian and Tess Paisley have supported their only child while she has been building her future career and have also ensured that education is her main focus during this part of her life.

The native of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania will be a Junior at Perkiomen Valley High School this school year. The Vice President of her class currently ranks second academically among 400-plus fellow students.
Schoolwork always comes first. I'm also part of Perkiomen Valley High School's television production team (PVTV), which has helped me to gain teleprompter and on-camera experience.
The people who are involved in that are awesome. I'm gaining career experience, but I'm also expanding my social group,” Samantha said.
With a variety of college options available, she's interested in studying public communications at an Ivy League school.
I'm considering Princeton, but my dream would be to go to Stanford. I would like to be able to continue acting and modeling on the side while studying at college. I've been to California before and I loved the atmosphere. There are so many auditions in Los Angeles and a lot of actors and models move there,” Samantha said.
She could be a Natalie Portman, or a James Franco. Attend the Ivy League school and do movies in the summer,” Tess said.
School is something that is very important to her, so she has chosen to stick with the Philadelphia market for now. But, we think that she would do really well in New York City too,” Catherine said.
The auditioning process
Sam is an extremely talented young lady that does so well in both acting and modeling. We submit her to all of our clients as much as we can,” Catherine said.
The auditioning process can enable a career to flourish, or fade, depending upon the individual's outlook.
It's very hard to judge what each casting director is looking for. You have to convey a certain amount of confidence, need to have tough skin and be able to bounce back. Auditioning allows you to get to know the casting directors better.
Even if I don't get the job, I love interacting with the different models and actors as well,” Samantha said.
Learning about the business
Because Samantha's relationship with MMA has been so positive, she asked if she could intern with the company this summer as part of her school's graduation requirements.
She is currently working on her senior project (a year early) and has chosen to follow us (intern) at MMA. Sam is such a natural in the office.
She definitely wants to continue acting and modeling, however she is also considering a career as an agent,” Catherine said.
Through my internship at MMA, I've learned a lot. I went through an open call and it was interesting to see the selections that were made. It was priceless for me to understand how the business works,” Samantha said.
Role models
I respect Tyra Banks' story. She was always bullied in school because she was tall. She pursued modeling despite that and by the time she was 17, she was working runways in Paris.
Once she made it big, she's given back through America's Next Top Model. She also has camps for girls with low self-esteem. I think that she's really an awesome woman.
Even though Kate Moss is only 5 ft. 7 in., she basically rewrote the definition of modeling. I'm only 5 ft. 3 in. So, to see someone who isn't that required height is inspirational to me and I also think that her look is gorgeous,” Samantha said.
The standard height for a fashion model is 5' 9”, however commercial models and actors can be any height. Sam is not a fashion model. She is in our commercial division and books commercial print and on-camera work, so height is not an issue for her,” Wasser-Hrin said.
Respect for the industry
Ellen (Wasser-Hrin) is the best. I love that MMA is a boutique and mother agency and that they really take care of all of their talent.
One of the times that I was there they got a call asking for someone with good nails. They knew right away which of their clients would be best for that job. The fact that they knew their client so well impressed me.
It really is like a family there. They have never steered me wrong and are always looking out for all of us,” Samantha said.
Samantha also mentioned that Catherine is one of the best people who she has ever worked with.
Lindsey really cares about Sam. MMA tries their hardest for their clients. Anytime that anything comes up Lindsey is right there for Sam and is always sending her out on assignments. Without the right agent, your career can't develop,” Tess said.
Working in the field
Samantha was only 9-years-old when landed her first booking. MMA booked her to play the role of a young girl in a series of four commercials for the Philadelphia 76ers.
I was nervous during my first shoot, but I remember that I feel in love with my on-screen family. It was a two-day shoot and they became like my second family by the end of the day. There were 42 takes, but I was ready for more,” Samantha said.
Since then MMA has lead her to many other projects including: A Brainetics DVD where she was featured as a contestant on a children's math-focused game show. She was the cover model for two two editions of Naomi Zucker's book series, “Write On, Callie Jones” and “Callie's Rules”. She and her mom were featured in a shoot for the Taylor Gifts catalog. She also recently shot a national advertisement for the Sylvan Learning Center.
Likeability factor
Interacting with so many different types of people has made me more social. I'm a lot more outgoing and ready to try new things. I've gained that outlook from this industry,” Samantha said.
During our interview Samantha never complimented herself. Instead, she consistently acknowledged the supportive role that her family, friends, and her association with Model Management Agency – MMA has played in her life's success.
I've been fortunate to have interviewed many different types of individuals over the years. Some have been Hall of Fame athletes, others have achieved notoriety in business, or in the creative arts. One of the many similarities that I believe Samantha shares with those high-achievers is that she isn't simply pursuing work. She is studying her craft so that her talent can fully develop. This process will not end, but is likely to evolve during a limitless future.
Don't take anything personally and don't give up. You never know what's going to be right around the corner, Samantha fittingly concluded.
Sean O'Brien is based in the Philadelphia region and has written professionally for over two decades. You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB.

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