Shining the Light
Jess Anderson Talent and Modeling Agency
BY MARIA IANNUCCI
Breaking into a career in front of the camera is not an easy task. Many aspiring actors and models, including some of the most talented in Polk County, seek to procure the assistance of those with experience, professionalism, know-how and contacts to help make their dreams come true. For some, Lakeland’s own Jess Anderson Talent and Model Agency, Polk County’s only licensed modeling agency, has helped to bring great success to local talent.
Ever heard of movies like The Punisher? Cape Fear? My Girl? Caddyshack? Bad Boys? Ali? The Bodyguard? Were you a fan of the hit TV series Miami Vice in the 80s, or have you seen a few episodes of Burn Notice? Are you looking forward to the upcoming series, Graceland? Jess and Susan Anderson, the owners of Jess Anderson Talent and Model Agency, have been in the business for over 30 years, successfully placing their clients in these movies and TV shows, among a host of others. Besides finding their actors and models work in these media, the agency also places talent on music videos, commercials, fashion shows, catalogue ads and more.
According to their website, Jess Anderson came to Miami in 1974. “At that time Miami was becoming a major hub in the movie and modeling industry. It was not long after that when he was introduced to the industry and started to develop a life-long passion for the business. As a result of many bit parts in movies, several commercials, print work and the excitement of working on the hit TV series, Miami Vice, he become a licensed agent. He and his wife, Susan, have helped thousands of men, women and children of all ages to become successful. The main headquarters was located in South Miami for over 20 years, with a branch office in Lakeland since 1984.”
One new project with which the Andersons have been involved is a movie called “Mr. George,” a feature-length documentary based on the life of George Jenkins, local philanthropist and founder of Publix Super Markets, Inc. Luke Manley, 11, of Lakeland, landed the starring role of George Jenkins as an 11-year-old back in the 1920s. In his role as George, Luke is seen working in his parents’ general store as well as appearing in scenes of Mr. Jenkins’s former one-room schoolhouse, in church and at home. The location used for the 1920s era was the Pioneer Museum and Village in Dade City. “Mr. George” is anticipated to premiere at the Polk Theater in the spring of 2013 and was produced by NFocus of Lakeland, the local production company that brought us the locally filmed, award-winning motion picture, Endure.
Crossing over from film to television, Jess Anderson worked with Lakeland resident and college student, Katherine Lethers, to help her land a gig on the hit show, Burn Notice. “She is one of the most beautiful and nicest girls you could ever meet,” said Jess. “We booked Katherine on Burn Notice, playing in several different restaurant scenes on Miami Beach. Katherine told us that working on the set that same day was Jeffrey Donavan, the star (of the show). Donovan’s character name in the show is Michael Westen, and he spent some quality time (with Katherine). As we finished up the day of shooting, we took the shuttle van back to the parking area. ‘I can’t believe I was sitting right next to him as we were driven back to pick up our cars!’ Lethers said. Katherine told me that he was very kind to her and gave her some tips on the business. She told me that she would never forget that day for the rest of her life.”
With hundreds of happy clients over the years, Jess and Susan have supported a host of talented Polk Countians and helped them find their way into the limelight. Potential clients reviewing the agency’s website are encouraged to take the leap to “experience an image of confidence, professionalism and inner beauty. Become part of an elite group of self-motivated individuals who have a willingness to learn and a desire to be successful.”
“The Jess Anderson Talent and Modeling Agency believes that every person has something special to offer,” said Jess. “Working with thousands of models for over 30 years, we know that true beauty comes from within. As a professional agency, we continuously strive to help our models build selfworth, a cornerstone to successful modeling. (Our) models and actors come from all walks of life. We do not look for one particular type of person to market in the modeling and acting industry. Our agency wants to represent real people, like you, who portray their own unique qualities. We conduct a personal interview and evaluation with each potential model and actor to learn more about you. As an agency, we can then market you in a specific area made for your particular style. That’s why we are growing every day as an influential force in the modeling and acting industry.”
Jess Anderson Talent and Model Agency
1037 South Florida Avenue Suite 115
Lakeland | 863.688.9939