Wilhelmina, the talent management company, has launched a new firm called Aperture that will represent models and actors for TV and film, endorsements, digital and audio.
Jessie Blackhall, former talent agent at CESD, a bicoastal talent agency, has joined Aperture as director. The company has offices in both New York and Los Angeles.
For over 25 years Wilhelmina has had a Los Angeles division called LW1, a full-service talent agency that represented models and actors for film and TV, commercials, endorsements and digital. That business will now be called Aperture. Blackhall will direct that business as well and has hired Carlos Garcia, who had his own agency, as West Coast director. So far, there are six people on both coasts working at the company.
LW1 was established in 1990 when Wilhelmina Models acquired The Light Agency, a boutique talent agency in Los Angeles. Since then, LW1 has developed into one of the top commercial talent agencies in L.A. with relationships with leading commercial casting directors. Its actors have appeared in national commercials for such companies as Herbal Essence, L’Oréal, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Chevy, Dodge, Toyota, Pepsi, Coke, Dr. Pepper, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Ace Hardware, Budweiser, Dos Equis and Smirnoff.
Wilhelmina hasn’t had a department for TV commercials before. Previously, a Wilhelmina model would need to have additional representation with a talent agency if she wanted TV opportunities. Aperture, which is under the Wilhelmina umbrella, will include on its roster Wilhelmina models, as well as actors, for broadcast work. Blackhall envisions getting broadcast and endorsement deals for their roster of models and actors at companies such as Pantene, Olay and Maybelline.
Aperture will be based at 300 Park Avenue South in Manhattan in the same building as Wilhelmina. The L.A. office is already set up, and the New York office will launch in 2017.
Wilhelmina also has a celebrity division which represents talent such as Shawn Mendes, Hopper Penn and Demi Lovato.
“As we cultivate and grow our celebrity division, we see a lot of synergies with Aperture,” said Blackhall.