I must admit, preparing for this interview was a bit nerve wrecking! In just a few moments, I would be interviewing Paul Fisher, one of the world’s most powerful names in the modeling industry and star of CW’s new reality series, REMODELED. Often referred to as the Simon Cowell of the modeling world, Paul Fisher has managed stars such as Naomi Campbell, Brooke Burke, Kimora Lee Simmons and much, much more. His new reality series, or docu-series as refers, focuses on his company’s approach to helping smaller, struggling agencies around the world in creating stars. If his on screen ego wasn’t enough to make me feel rather intimidated, then his brilliance sure did take part. But just moments into our interview, I lost every sense of nervousness, simply because Paul is such a genuine guy. As opposed to most agents, Paul stresses to his models the idea of giving back to the community and becoming stronger role models. He encourages them to positively change the world and never take advantage of the blessings they were given. Though he does not recommend modeling to any young teens, he has a very strong passion in making their dreams become reality. One thing I realized after this interview: The world needs more Paul Fishers!
Check out my exclusive interview with the man himself, Mr. Paul Fisher, as we discuss his company, fame, the industry, and the one person he would trade places with.
So Paul, Tell me about your show?
Well many people call it a reality show, but I like to call it a docu-series only because they’re really filming us in our everyday lives of what we do. When we were approached by Sony television and the producers at CW to do a show on my company, I had one rule and that was ‘you guys can’t tell us what to do or say.’ My company, The Network, is a community of modeling agencies from around the world. We manage modeling agencies, so we teach, train, and empower agents in small markets. Their dreams are creating stars, so we are giving them the tools, relationships, and contacts to actually create stars from smaller markets. The most important thing about my company is that we are trying to create a safe environment for young models. We have drug experts, health & wellness experts, nutrition experts, depression experts, and self-esteem experts all trying really hard to create a very safe environment. We really stress to our kids about giving back and being a part of the community. So on one hand, we are a community of modeling agencies that empower smaller markets in creating stars, and through that process, we create a safe environment for kids and preach in giving back to the community.
How do you select which agencies are right for the Network?
Well number one is they have to have a very strong desire to create a star. I’m looking for very strong, powerful women that have a desire and want to be involved with our movement to clean up the modeling industry and teach young people to be incredible role-models. We want to reach 150 agencies, and right now we’re at 50; 48 of those 50 agencies are owned by women. My staff of 22 is all women except my assistant Joseph. We are kind of like a women’s run organization, so we look for very powerful women, with commitment and a desire to become part of our movement.
Why is it you only work with women?
I say this very respectfully, I am a heterosexual man, and it’s very hard for a heterosexual guy to deal with these beautiful young girls and treat them with the respect they so rightfully deserve. If I were a parent, I would want my daughter, or son, to be in the hands of a mother, or someone who respects these kids without viewing them as sexy. And that’s why we lean much toward women because we think they will treat them with more respect, love, and tenderness.
A common mistake most agencies make?
I think the most common mistake agencies make is starting their kids at the bottom and working their way up to the big names. I have a strategy; when we find a really beautiful kid, we start from the top and work our way down to the bottom. What I mean by this is, if we feel this person is perfect for the business, then our job is to introduce that person to Vogue, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Prada, the most powerful people in the industry, and if they love the kid, then all the other smaller magazines are going to love them, so long as one of the bigger names gave them a shot. The second most common mistake is that smaller agencies don’t believe they have the power to create stars. They don’t see it, and that’s one of my jobs is to teach them that they do have the power they just have to believe.
There are so many different interpretations of that word FAME. Some affiliate it with luxury, others with popularity. How would you describe the word fame?
Wow, that’s a great question. To me, it’s a double edge sword. Fame is almost like a drug. You get this intense high and then you feel a bit of a low afterwards because it’s so darn high. It messes with your mind, making you want more and more and if you don’t get it, it trips you out. It really does play tricks on your mind and you never know how long it will last. I think it is a really hard thing, especially for these young teens, but if you have that fame and understand it’s just an illusion, and you use it to the betterment of the world, then I think it can become a very, very positive thing. But it’s definitely a double edge sword, that word fame.
If you could compare the modeling industry to anything, what would it be?
Sports. They both have young crews with expiration dates. Athletes, just like models, make tremendous amounts in a short period of time, and they surround themselves with ‘yes’ people, a bunch of people who kiss their ass. Models, like athletes, also spend money quickly thinking it will last forever. I’m a friend with big time sports agents and we share several stories that are similar to one another.
So what is a common mistake most models make and what should they do to resolve this?
Supermodels don’t realize that if they don’t give back to the world, their blessings will be ripped out of their hands. They must give back until it is painful, or their career will be stopped as quickly as it was started.
Tell me about your website, THENETWORKTALENT.COM.
I think this is a great site for young people wanting to be models. I say this humbly. It follows the paths of our famous models, where people can watch and live through them. If someone wants to be in this business, they need to gain as much knowledge as possible so you know which challenges are going to come to you. That’s what this site does, it educates people about the modeling industry and allows people to have an online portfolio, upload photos and build a social following. Its an exciting website for people wanting to be models.
What can people learn from watching your show?
I believe the principles of business that I’m teaching my agencies can be applicable to any business. My method is a mixture of the physical and metaphysical world. It can help any business because in the physical world, you must come early, stay late, treat people with respect, provide service, and meet the needs of your client. In the Metaphysical world its the giving back, feeling people’s pains, caring, and going beyond the 5 senses. You have to believe and you have to visualize in something, but for the right reasons. It’s all about intentions. If you want fame just to have your picture taken, you’ll get it, but then the world will take it away from you. But if you want fame or a big business to share more with the world, then I believe more blessings will come to you and your business. I believe people learn how to combine both the metaphysical and physical worlds and accommodating them by watching my show.
Why do you encourage your models to give back so much?
I found my faith 9 years ago at the Kabbalah center that changed my life. I made millions before, but I lost it all. What I learned are universal laws just like gravity. I don’t think giving back is a mistrial thing, I thinks it’s just the way the world is set up and if you give back until it is painful, then blessings will come from above. I got so many things back because of a giving thought process and I taught this to my kids and agencies. There is no doubt in my mind that this works. I have seen tangible results from this practice.
You refer to your models as your own children? Why is that?
Yes I do and it’s because their parents put their trust in me. They are telling me they trust me to be a good role model for their child, and I take that as a very serious responsibility. I feel their pain, their joy, and I just love them all so much. I want their parents to know that their kids are in good hands and I will make decisions for them as if they were my own.
What is one thing about you that would shock others to hear?
People see me on my show and they see me yelling and screaming a lot. I don’t want to say that I’m not like that, I do have issues with rage and communication skills for sure, but what they don’t see is that I go into my hotel room after filming and I cry. I cry because I have spoken to people in a way that is very disrespectful and in a way that I’m not proud. I think what most people don’t know about me is that I care. For some reason, I feel people’s pain with every fiber of my being and I want people to succeed so badly. People see the tough guy Paul Fisher on the outside, but in the inside, I care so much about my agencies. I am a sensitive man and I see the faults in me everyday and I’m trying to get better and better at it, but I’m human and I fail.
How would you spend your last day alive?
I’d spend it my sister who has been fighting cancer for 20 years, my spiritual teachers, my community at Kabbalah, and I would surround myself with people who truly, truly love me.
What is your biggest weakness?
My react of nature gets the best of me. Many times I don’t realize that it’s never the situation, it’s always my reaction to the situation. I wish I could hit the pause button and not be as reactive and understand everything comes from the creator and there is a reason for everything that happens.
If you could trade places with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
I would trade places with my spiritual teacher, Michael, only because I want the wisdom he has in his mind. He is my role model. Though he is under a lot of pressure, I would give anything to have the knowledge and the wisdom he has in his mind.
If given a second chance, would you change career paths? Why or why not?
I don’t know how to answer that! I think I was chosen to do what I’m doing, so I don’t think so. I think I was given a gift to touch young people’s lives and effect change in the world. It’s not fulfilling to me when one of my kids becomes the face of Guess. But, when that kid gets the face of Guess and that weekend she goes out and feeds the homeless, then I think I’m doing something good with my life. I never looked at myself as a good person. Now when I see my kids being good role models and caring about others, I’m just now starting to become proud of Paul Fisher. I’ve made a lot of people famous, but I was never proud of that. I’m proud that my kids are becoming role models now.
What is a motto you like to live by?
“Never desire anything for the self alone, unless it’s to share.” I try to live by that everyday because that’s who I am. I want to share more with the world. That should be tattooed on my forehead.
Be sure to check your local listings to watch Paul’s show, REMODELED, airing on The CW.