The FINANCIAL -- The modelling business in Georgia is still very new compared to in leading European countries and the USA. Georgia is represented by several agencies, but the most popular agencies are Nataly and Image Centre. According to these agencies a lot of Georgian girls have the possibility to make their careers abroad, although it depends on how traditional their thoughts are on living and working abroad.
Modelling agency Nataly is the oldest one in the market and its models remain the most famous, for example: Tako Chkheidze, Tika Patsatsia, Natia Makatsaria, and Tamuna Gabrielashvili.
“A new generation is coming now and they will be just as well accepted and received by society and designers alike,” Nata Samadalashvili, General Director of Nataly Modelling Agency, declared to The FINANCIAL.
“I have been in this business for more than 15 years. Fashion was always alive in Georgia, but it was not a commercial sphere. It is true that the modelling business has declined these previous years. This has been caused by a lack of fashion shows,” Samadalashvili added.
According to Ia Kitsmarishvili, the General Director of Image Centre, the modelling business is a bit quiet compared to previous years.
“In my opinion the most active designers in Georgia at the moment are Avto Tskvitinidze, Teona Tavartkiladze and Tamuna Ingorokhva, but even these designers don’t have the ability to hold seasonal fashion shows. On December 14, Teona Tavartkiladze had a very interesting show. Over the past few months Georgian designers have been becoming active again and this is a wonderful development,” Kitsmarishvili declared.
“Another problem is that Georgian designers give preferences to the ‘old faces’ of the business and this is an additional problem. In the international modelling business there exists such an expression “over exposure,” this term means that a model’s face has been popular for a long time and used by lots of popular designers. In such a case the model’s style and face begin to get old so the designers have to look for new faces. Model agencies exist for that purpose, to offer more and more ‘new faces.’ Unfortunately this principle is ruined in Georgia,” Kitsmarishvili added.
According to Samadalashvili, another problem is that Georgian designers generally prefer foreign models, though there are exceptions, as the popularization of Georgian model Maka Asathiani shows.
“Georgian girls have quite different physical characteristics from other nationalities. Russian ones for example have absolutely different physical characteristics and faces themselves. It is my opinion that Georgian girls have such charm and beauty that they are often referred to as black pearls and are usually adored during Russian fashion weeks,” Samadalashvili said.
“The modelling business in Georgia is still at a developing stage. It is a luxury business and is dependent on the country’s economical condition. Show business and the modelling industry are highly developed in stabilized and economically strong countries,” Kitsmarishvili said.
According to Kitsmarishvili, the modelling business will be successful in Georgia, if there would be computable fashion houses, designers would be active and create new collections to hold fashion shows four times a year.
“Photo studios must be active as well and take photos, then there must be a market to make a realization of these photos. It is an idea of creating a whole circle in the fashion industry. These are the main conditions for a stable modelling business. Today all these different aspects still have a rather unpredictable nature in Tbilisi,” Kitsmarishvili added.
According to Samadalashvili, economical situations have a great influence on the fashion business in general.
“Unfortunately Georgia is not so strong today to give a wide scope to this business, the salary of Georgian models are miserable compared to the previous years and mostly their wages are symbolic more than anything else,” Samadalashvili said.
“The salary of a model is dependent on the country where she plans to make her career, also the experience of the model is very important. The salary of a model in Georgia is miserable, but girls sent to ELITE MODEL LOOK International, have the opportunity to win contracts: the first place winner will be awarded with USD 150 000, the second place - USD 100 000 and third place - USD 70 000. The winner of ELITE MODEL LOOK Georgia 2007 is Tamta Shedania, so she will be send to ELITE MODEL LOOK International,” Kitsmarishvili said.
“Image Centre will regularly host ELITE MODEL LOOK Georgia. ELITE MODEL LOOK is an agency which discovered such popular and famous models as: Linda Evangelista, Claudia Schiffer, and Stephanie Seymour. Today Georgian girls already have the chance to make their careers abroad with the help of ELITE MODEL LOOK,” Kitsmarishvili added.
According to Samadalashvili, Georgian girls have prospects to make their careers abroad. However Georgian children are very attached to their parents according to traditional Georgian mentality.
“Parents are fearful of bad influences and so forbid their children from going abroad for modelling experiences,” Samadalashvili added.
“Sometimes Georgian girls are not ready to live abroad and this is the problem of creating a successful career in European countries and in America. Georgia is a conservative country and family traditions are very important. This is the main problem. Tamuna Nemsitsveridze will soon be sent abroad, as will Nino Likuchova, Tamta Shedania, Khatuna Skhirtladze, Khatia Khvadagiani and Tatia Kartozia. They have had offers from different countries. A lot of models have refused to go abroad for the same reason; their plans for getting married,” Kitsmarishvili said.
According to Georgian modelling agencies, the modelling business does not exist in Georgia. As there are no elementary competition circumstances in the Georgian market.
According to Image Centre, the company has no competitors on the local market as this agency is developed in various directions. Image Centre represents Elite Model Look Georgia in Georgia. The company has the experience of having organized Miss Georgia for the past 5 years. Image Centre holds the license of the two biggest competitions Miss World and Miss Universe, also Miss Tourism International and Miss Intercontinental.
“Miss Georgia is far more profitable for the agency, but only if we manage to make sponsors interested in the project. Finding sponsors in Georgia is one of the most difficult affairs. Event management is developing now and supposedly will expand soon. Miss Georgia is a long term project as it takes at least 6 months to get ready. However this project is becoming more and more popular every year.”