It is with great pleasure to announce an enormous landmark within the Second Life modeling industry, Maniera Model Management.

Maniera is one of the most hard-working, close-knit professional agencies led by Second Life fashion pinnacle Topaz Joubert and Sami Kutanaga as the agency’s CEOs. Maniera boasts as a successful model agency and academy as well as monthly magazine led by the Maniera Talent Group consisting of models, photographers and writers amongst other wonderful talents.

One of the most unique facets of Maniera’s magazine is that it showcases each and every competition which Maniera manifests, namely the latest PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) Photo Competition, Miss Pacific Heights, Maniera Men of Style to name a few. Models within the agency are largely given the opportunity to participate in print modeling for the magazine, including the opportunity to appear as a Cover Model (BlackBarbie Bravin, Apollo Call).

We interviewed Topaz Joubert in her capacity as the agency’s CEO and asked her to share her confessions. Enjoy!

Q: There are contests within the SL modelling industry which are gender specific, namely Miss Virtual World, Mr Virtual World, House of Beningborough amongst others.
What are your perceptions on gender specific contests within the modelling industry?

TJ: Well, Most contest cater to women but gradually we are seeing more aim just for men though not many. That was one of the motivators for Maniera to host the Men of Style Contest. To have a contest just focusing on men. Men from various areas in SL. Not only just in the fashion industry but in other industries.
And I think both of you (Mikey and Rico) would agree that it was a success. (smiles).

Is it important that a model carry the same gender in SL as they do in RL?

TJ: For me Sl is a place where you can be anything you want….. a dragon, goat..whatever. So for me, It’s not an issue. Some of (not mentioning any names)the best female avatars I have seen are actually men in RL.

Does this affect the industry in general?
TJ: Well , I guess in some ways it does , but that depends on the agency and what their philosophy is. I would like to think Maniera just focuses on the person and what type of model they are instead of what gender they are .

Q: What attributes must a model possess in order to gain admission into your agency?

Is a potential candidate for your agency required to undertake training specifically with your model academy?

There is a general perception amongst models that some agencies only hire those who have established a reputable name for themselves, whether it be with a top-tier agency or otherwise. Is this important to you? Model training aside, are you willing to take a chance on a model who is new to the industry?

TJ: Our philosophy at Maniera is that we do not train models but develop them. If we see potential in a model, something special, We will take them under our wing and develop their skills. I personally do not pay attention to top model tags, I pay attention to the person. If they have drive, integrity and a desire to work to their potential, that impresses me. We do mostly print so I look for truly unique looks, faces, shapes and if they have their own unique style.

Many of our models were new to the industry. At the beginning of the agency, both Sami Kutunaga and myself made the decision that we wanted to take a hands on approach to develop models. Give advice on careers, shapes , runway skills…. the whole package. It’s more then having a pretty avatar because at the end of the day, it’s a business and we help the models look at it that way. I have worked with a few and we have worked on a “business plan”. You have to look at it that way, set goals, time lines and believe it or not it can still be fun.

We would like to sincerely thank Topaz Joubert for all she has done on behalf on Maniera and further thank her for allowing us to interview her. It is an absolute pleasure to work alongside Topaz and also to know and respect this great lady as a fine colleague and friend. As always, your comments are encouraged! Long live Maniera 🙂