Sutherland Models


Laura Virdo
Laura Virdo

One of those "challenges" is Laura Virdo, the quirky, wise-cracking booker that runs the men's board and the talent division. With Virdo, you never know immediately whether she's joking, and if she is, whether you're the punch line. It's disconcerting and fun at the same time.

In the five years she's been at Sutherland, Virdo has made enormous strides in developing the men's division. "When I first started I had five working guys. Now I have about 50.

"The good part is of that 50," she continues, "35 are in town and they're working."

Because of Virdo's dual role directing both the talent and the male models, searching for new faces has taken a back seat. "Scouting in the beginning was a big priority for me but we also have a great school where we get a lot of new faces. Or I'll meet somebody on the street, or in a mall.

Eric Travis

"My personal scouting doesn't happen as often as it used to, because I don't have time to develop every single one. I find a guy and that's the guy I develop and spend my time on. Instead of developing ten or twenty guys and hoping for the best, I'll develop one and get the best."

You get the sense talking to Virdo, that she has come to terms with certain restrictions that come with her schedule. "It's an exciting career when you say it," she confides. "Doing it is a different story. We're in the office from 9 to 5. We're not off at parties with celebrities. We're not. We're here in the office working the phones, dealing with contracts everyday. But when someone asks you what you do for a living, their eyes light up because it's such a glamourous business. It does become tedious at times.

Francis Cadieux
Francis Cadieux

"It's not 'Jerry MacGuire' either. We're not flying around signing million dollar contracts. There ARE parties and you get to meet great people, but for the most part it's a job. You have to be mentally ready every day."

I asked her if she ever gets so frustrated that she considers quitting. "Everyday," she says with a look of exasperation. "Usually around 9:15 in the morning when I go through the breakdowns for TV and calls for male models."

That's Laura's sarcasm finding its way into the interview. "Seriously," she continues, when she recognizes the perplexed look on my face, "I love my job. It's stressful, but exciting. Working with co-workers you adore is such a plus."