NEW YORK, Aug. 12, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Wilhelmina International, Inc. (Nasdaq:WHLM) ("Wilhelmina Models"): one of the most prominent model and talent management agencies in the world, kicked off their first annual 'XO Wilhelmina Development Week' for the agency's newest talent. Eighteen fresh faces, ages 13-20 years old, spent a week learning and experiencing what it takes to join the coveted Wilhelmina roster, which includes talent such as Robyn Lawley, Cindy Bruna, Alexandra Richards, Soo Joo Park, Sydney Sierota, Armando Cabral, Ellar Coltrane, RJ Mitte, Nick Jonas and RJ King, just to name a few.

"From the very beginning Wilhelmina Models has demonstrated its commitment to developing talent. My mother, Wilhelmina Cooper, shared her extensive experience and knowledge of the industry with those she represented and helped them achieve astounding success," explained the brand officer of the agency and daughter of Wilhelmina Models' founder, Melissa Wilhelmina Cooper.

The new faces, 16 of which are American and two who are international, were given a week of carefully curated activities that gave them real life experiences of a working model in New York.

"Development week provided our new faces with an overview of what to expect as a working model in New York. Through this five day experience, we were not only able to have our models get to know the world of modeling, but also for our team to really get to know the girls!" stated Marissa Surmenkow, who heads up the development team at the agency.

A mentor brunch kicked off the week and included a panel discussion with top models Danielle Knudson, Elizabeth Erm and Anastasia K., who gave advice on fundamental modeling basics. The activity that followed focused on Health and Wellness, Beauty, Photoshoot and Social Media lessons, and consisted of activities, such as a tour of the city by double decker bus, a FlyBarre class, nutrition counseling, hairstyling at Cutler Salon, vintage shopping, a visit to the MET exhibit: China: Through the Looking Glass, a photoshoot at Studio LIC, mock castings and discussions about the importance of social media.

"After Development Week, I don't feel that I am alone anymore. Now I know I have a team, even a family that supports and encourages me to succeed in modeling. I learned a great deal about the industry from top models, top agents, top stylists and I got to experience the heart of fashion that beats in Manhattan," Valerie S, one of Wilhelmina Models' new faces exclaimed. "I also met the other new faces, and I have made new friends that I will see at castings and at other Wilhelmina events! My favorite part was exploring the  China: Through the Looking Glass exhibit at the MET and learning about the Chinese culture and how it has influenced fashion." She continues, "This week has helped to build my confidence and my understanding of what to expect as I start out in my career as a Wilhelmina model! Thank you to Marissa and the Women's Development team for an amazing experience!" 

"Nurturing and encouraging our new talent from the very start is critical to us," says Alex Vaickus, CEO of Wilhelmina. "We don't just become their new agency, but rather their family, and for many of these models coming to New York by themselves, it is crucial to their success that they feel comfortable in the city, at the agency, and at clients, and know that they have our solid, continuing support."

  About Wilhelmina International Inc. (NASDAQ:WHLM):

Through Wilhelmina Models and its other subsidiaries, including, Wilhelmina Artist Management, Wilhelmina International, Inc. provides traditional, full-service fashion model and talent management services, specializing in the representation and management of leading models, entertainers, artists, athletes and other talent to various customers and clients, including, retailers, designers, advertising agencies and catalogue companies. Wilhelmina Models was founded in 1967 by Wilhelmina Cooper, a renowned fashion model, and is one of the oldest and largest fashion model management companies in the world. Wilhelmina Models is headquartered in New York and, since its founding, has grown to include operations located in Los Angeles, Miami and London, as well as a growing network of licensees comprising leading modelling agencies in various local markets across the U.S as well as in Thailand, Dubai, Vancouver and Tokyo.
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