“I wanted to help other people to believe in themselves” – Ellen Wasser-Hrin
Futher information about the Model Management Agency – MMA can be found at: www.mmaagency.com
Glamor, fame and fortune are often associated with the world of modeling. With fierce competition in the industry, why do some people make it and others do not?
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Ellen Wasser-Hrin. In 1989, she founded the Model Management Agency – MMA in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. The relationships that she established and maintained have provided the talent her company represents with access to a broad array of opportunity.
Our conversation offered keen, behind-the-scenes, insight. Cue the music, it’s time to lift the curtain on the show…
Family Ties – Northeast Philadelphia
Wasser-Hrin was born in Northeast Philadelphia, went to a Catholic grade school and had dreams of working as a helper and a healer from the time she was a little girl.
Her father was from a coal mining town in the Northern part of Pennsylvania. He was one of twelve children that his Lithuanian immigrant parents had.
He originally was in the Army before he moved to Philadelphia. After doing so, he met and married Wasser-Hrin’s mother. The South Philadelphia native died of cancer in 1992.
“I really miss my mother, she was one of my best friends. But, I am grateful that I have my father. Through her passing I have been able to develop a wonderful relationship with my dad. His ethics, integrity, good nature and gentle spirit have helped to guide me and to encourage me.”
Wasser-Hrin has also remained close with her two older brothers, both of whom are engineers.
“I think because I had a secure family life, I wanted to give those blessings back. I wanted to help other people to believe in themselves.”
Striving for excellence
While at Arch Bishop Ryan High School for girls Wasser-Hrin began to develop her career her goals.
“My Catholic School background instilled discipline and a desire for excellence. During my freshman year I went to the Guidance Counselor’s office to talk about my future.”
That meeting helped her to begin formulating her college and career plans.
“I put myself through college, was a hair and makeup artist and performed for the South Street Dance Company. Through that I was hired as a fashion model because I could dance.”
She was an honors major at Temple University and graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Art degree and a minor in Psychology.
“I got a degree in Dance, with a Psychology minor, and wanted to be a dancer and Movement Therapist. I wanted to help people with the mind-body-spirit connection. Then, during my senior year in college, I broke my sternum and it took a few months to heal.”
That experience was one factor that caused her to rethink her career path.
After graduating from Temple, Wasser-Hrin was hired as a part-time teacher at a modeling center. She taught her students the basics of how to become a model. The position tapped into her natural ability to recognize and polish potential.
“That start fit my childhood dream, because it allowed me to help others. It was really exciting to work with those young people. They would give me cards and roses on their graduation day. It was very validating.”
Through the success that was achieved with many students, she was promoted to an Admissions Representative and then to Director of the center. Later, she opened a branch in Langhorne, Pennsylvania.
It was at that point that she began to place models with the highly respected Elite and Ford modeling agencies in New York City. Many agents told her that she had an incredible eye for talent.
“They told me that no one was doing what I was doing in Philadelphia and that I was creating new stars.”
Click this link: http://tinyurl.com/3mshgtb to read Part 2 of my exclusive Yahoo interview with Ellen Wasser-Hrin.
I have written professionally since 1990. Follow me on Twitter @ SeanyOB