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Amnesty International

Mode Models

Page Three

Julia DUnstall
Julia Dunstall
Regarding his own business record, Kelly Streit claims to be open to scrutiny. "If you're going to be in this industry you need to let people have a look at your work and take the criticism. You need to take the warm-fuzzies along with the cold-pricklies. You need to be able to shoulder that and if you can't you're in the wrong business."

He gets his defences up though, when he talks about the jabs others have taken at him, citing a perception he lures models away from other agencies. "Well find one that we've taken," he challenges, "because I don't know who they are."

"People think we're filthy rich and do all these thing, but we're not. I make a good living but I'm not filthy rich. You have to be somewhat ruthless and operate a little differently than I operate to get rich. The perception is that we are like that, but we're not. All the big stars in our agency - every one of them - we've found." (Of the three Mode models I've interviewed for modelresource, Heather Marks and Marla Boehr both came from model searches organized by Streit, while 20-year-old Julia Dunstall is someone Mode had been keeping tabs on since she was 12).

Marla Boehr
Marla Boehr
"We have a lot of models that come to us from other agencies that are unhappy because they aren't doing well, but if they're on contract we don't go there."

Streit doesn't pretend to be without faults however. He admits to occassionally losing his temper when someone messes up on the runway. He knows he rubbed a lot of people the wrong way in the past - something he has worked hard to address over the past ten years. "It certainly doesn't mean you're going to be perfect, because no one is, but it means that when you make a mistake you'll be the first to rectify it, and hopefully in the right way. And that's something that people may not know about me, because they tend to see the mistakes or when I'm being really boisterous or obnoxious. But if I know I really hurt someone I'll be the first to apologize and try to make good - that's something people don't see."

Another side of Streit a lot of people, especially outside Calgary, don't see, is his charitable side. He is responsible for the creation of Artrageous, an incredibly successful fundraising event for the Alberta College of Art and Design (where he sits on the Board of Directors). In the past he has also been in charge of fundraising for Calgary Opera, sat on the board for Junior Acheivement, and raised much-needed money for the Glenbow Museum.

"That's important to me because our industry doesn't have the best reputation. The perception it's all take, take, take, and praying on the vanities of youth. When you can break that mold you don't have to feel that's who you are."