Howard Magazine - Page 26 - Mother Agent (3)

Howard Magazine
- Page 26
Mother Agent (3)
15 years ago. She’s hired Cima models, ages 17-35, for runway jobs at upscale venues such as the Washington Marriott Wardman Park and the now-closed Harriet Kassman Boutique.

“Gigi’s models have a level of professionalism and professional ethics that is superior to dozens of other agencies I’ve worked with,” she says. “She is the only person I’ll go to.”

Dresner produces an annual fashion show fundraiser for the Rene Moawad Foundation, most recently at D.C.’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel. She says Soto always provides solutions to last-minute changes calmly in highpressure situations.

“She’s very easygoing and that’s very important in this business,” Dresner says. Brion McCarthy, a Baltimore photographer, has hired dozens of Cima models in their 20s and 30s for campaigns as diverse as Black and Decker, DeWalt, Jill Andrews Gowns and 180s.

He describes Soto as a “huge-hearted human being” who raises her young models “wisely and healthily.”

“Gigi is rare; she’s out there supporting these people like a mom,” McCarthy says. Just ask Lydia Garten, whose 21-year-old daughter, Angela, was discovered by Soto five years ago. Angela now regularly travels to gigs in New York City through Elite and has modeled for Este Lauder.

“Gigi is a like a sister to me, and she looks after Angela as if Angela were one of her own children,” Lydia Garten says.

That kind of support has proven valuable for model/actor Andrew Evans, 33, who says he quickly learned by commuting to New York City for auditions how easy it is to feel lost in the crowd. Signing with Cima has been much better for his career; he’s gotten a lot more work through the boutique agency.

“Gigi doesn’t sugar-coat anything and tells you exactly what you need to hear, and she fights for her people,” he says.

Evans recently wrapped up filming in a South Indian indie film, “Aniyankunjinum Thannaalaayathu,” with Bob Paff, a communications expert and media specialist in his 50s who also works as a model, actor and voice-over artist. Paff, who has appeared in his own local TV and radio segments, says he generally doesn’t audition for the gigs Soto sends him to, which speaks to the level of respect she’s earned in the industry.

“Every job with Gigi is really special,” he