So Cassi van den Dungen lost Australia’s Next Top Model’s 2009 crown, turned down contracts with Priscillas and Elite New York and threatened to go back to Sunbury to focus on her boyfriend’s bricklaying business. But it seems she has not given up on her modelling dream. Van den Dungen has rejoined the agency that discovered her at the age of five and repped her as a child model: Melbourne’s Tanya Powell Model Agency. Never heard of it? Tanya Powell is one of many low-profile Australian agencies that often springboard models in the smaller markets, only to then send them on to sign with larger local agencies, namely Chic Management, Priscillas, Chadwicks and Vivens. And some question the wisdom of van den Dungen’s decision to turn her back on offers from bigger players with proven track records of managing international careers.
This is certainly the case with the modelwatchers on online forums The Fashion Spot and vogue.com.au and indeed, Priscillas itself.
Unaware that van den Dungen had returned to Tanya Powell when frockwriter called this afternoon for comment, Priscillas booker Lizzi Leighton-Clark noted, "It's a shame that she's not willing to pursue a modelling cereer that goes beyond Melbourne, because obviously she has the potential to be an amazing model".
Modelling is not just about having a pretty face and long legs. It is about attitude, work ethic, momentum and, moreover, the right management.
According to Tanya Powell manager Rosetta Stefano, Tanya Powell does not have any models under contract. The agency's biggest womens' name is Cassie Gardner, in addition to television personalities Paul O’Brien, Tania Zaetta and Laura Csortan.
With Gardner's wider career now being managed by Viviens in Sydney and IMG in New York, one would hope that all is not lost for van den Dungen. And both van den Dungen and Tanya Powell should take on board the fact that, since van den Dungen is evidently not under any kind of non-compete agreement with the management agency affiliated with ANTM, ie Priscillas, every other major Australian agency that is headquartered in Sydney would be very keen to sign her up immediately.
The essential difference here however is the fact that while an unknown Gardner went from a small agency to bigger agencies, van den Dungen made a name for herself in a high-profile television competition, had offers from big agencies, but has chosen to go in the reverse direction.
Van den Dungen is booked to shoot for Portmans on Saturday – a web campaign is all Stefano could tell frockwriter, adding that she rejoined the agency immediately after the ANTM finale.
Reports Stefano, “We’re speaking to lots of different companies. She’s definitely very keen to be a model. We are doing her comp card, she went for a casting yesterday, she’s on the way. At the moment she wants to basically do as much as she can in Melbourne. If you’ve got a good product it doesn’t matter who represents her”.