The sun had just barely set over the Manhattan skyline, but at 8 p.m. on Monday The Blond was in full-on party mode to celebrate Wilhelmina Models’ 50th Anniversary. With a DJ blasting Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” — the week’s now ubiquitous anthem — a crowd of the talent agency’s supporters filled the SoHo hotel’s stylish second floor lounge.
Australian singer Betty Who, joined by two friends from her days at the Berklee College of Music in Boston excitedly waved the pink fur cuffs of her Alice + Olivia top as she entered the darkened room. “I try to make friends [at places like this] because I’m kind of still shocked that I get invited,” she said. “I can’t believe they let me in.”
Standing alongside throngs of leggy models, the 6-foot-2-inch musician was in good company. “If I have learned anything about New York and L.A. it’s that everybody feels as out of place as you do at any party — even if you’re the most important person there. I try to show up and feel really confident and know everybody is feeling the same way I am.”
Wilhelmina chief executive office Bill Wackermann sunk into a plush banquette and reflected on the company’s history. “We’re publishing a book in November with Rizzoli called ‘Defining Beauty: 50 Years of Wilhelmina,'” he revealed. “We’re going through the archives to search all of the talent that’s come through the doors over 50 years and it’s so beyond incredible.”
Rattling off Wilhelmina alums including Beyoncé, Jessica Lange and Whitney Houston, Wackermann was as hopeful as the party’s other guests for an appearance by rapper Nicki Minaj, who signed with the talent agency in March of this year. “We all serve at the court of Ms. Minaj,” he remarked. (Although expected, Minaj didn’t make it.)
But Wackermann was quick to point out that it is all 3,000 clients of Wilhelmina that make the agency special. “We’re proud to move everyone’s career forward,” he added.
Model Roosmarijn de Kok said walking in Oscar de la Renta’s Monday afternoon show made her “feel like a princess.” The Dutch-born beauty has been with the agency for four years and is preparing to walk in Victoria’s Secret’s fall show. Her best advice to the up-and-coming models in the room? “Put in a lot of work because it’s worth it. If you work hard you get what you deserve.”
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