Who is Norwayne Anderson? He's hoping you'll want to find out. In fact, he's counting on it. "That's why my slogan is 'Wouldn't you like to know?' Wouldn't you like to know what I'm doing? Wouldn't you like to know where I'm at? Wouldn't you like to know who I'm representing? Wouldn't you like to know who I am? Because that's what I want is for people to take a moment to get to know me. That's all I'm asking for."
You may already know two of his discoveries, Milan Krouzil and Robyn Sinclair, find themselves in the Models.com list of Top 50 male models. Another of his men, Andrew Stetson, is currently featured in the worldwide Calvin Klein Euphoria campaign. If there's one thing Anderson is very well known for, it's his talent for spotting men.
Anderson was a male model himself, but stepped away from that when he "realized as a black man in this business it wasn't working out." His experience though, convinced him he could guide others toward success, so he started promoting his own select roster. He found work with a local agency, broke ties with them, got backing for his own venture but parted ways with those investors as well when they didn't see eye to eye.
He flew to Chicago to introduce his faces to the top Midwest agencies, but nothing came of that. So he travelled to New York, and "every agency I went into said 'no, no, no, no, no... not interested.' But I pulled composite cards to get an understanding of the faces that were working, what agencies are working with who, and what they were looking for." He also listened to anyone that would take the time to speak with him and returned to Toronto with a new outlook.
He released his entire roster and started anew.
Now looking at faces in a different way, Anderson set about Toronto's streets and nightclubs looking to put new faces in front of clients... but not Toronto's clients. "My focus has always been on New York, always been on Milan, always been on Paris, always been on London. The clients here, they say 'I don't know who you are.' But if you go to Tokyo or Germany they all know who I am.
"I learned enough about the international markets that I didn't have to focus on Toronto. There were so many strong agencies here that we didn't need another one. The only way to get myself going was to look outside."
Norwayne Anderson Models (NAM) was soon consistently delivering winners like Amanda Mallet who was spotted when she was just 13. Recalls Anderson, "She was the first girl I had that IMG flew in to meet, and they signed her on the spot."
Milan Krouzil, then just 17, landed Burberry and Lagerfeld campaigns, and the cover of L'Uomo Vogue; and a string of other models were circling the globe under Anderson's management... from his kitchen.
"I loved what I did, and I didn't mind having everybody coming to my home. I would be sitting in my home, at my kitchen table, and I would be having people from Milan, from New York, from Paris coming into my home, sitting there watching television with me while I cooked my meal."