Former Victoria’s Secret model and model coordinator Pamela Masucci is the founder, CEO, and occasional model of The Beauty Within Model Management. After traveling the world as a model since the age of 14, Pamela settled in Westerly nearly twenty years ago as a semi-retired single mom looking to raise her children, but she didn’t stay still for long, building the agency from the ground up in 2004. “I decided to open up the agency because my mom told me that the modeling world is what I know best, and moms are always right,” Pam laughed.
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Motherhood plays an important factor in Pam’s approach to the agency and her models, almost as an antidote to the cutthroat and often seedy undersides of the industry. “I’m a mother. I take care of these girls. Their safety is our first priority. I want to make sure I put them in the right avenues to build their careers, and we’re a mother agency for girls that we help get into NYC,” Pam explained, citing success story Elizabeth Bennet who came to her at age 15 and by 17 was signed with Elite Model Management and a new face for Abercrombie.
The purpose of the agency is, of course, to discover local talent like Elizabeth and make them famous – Pam’s models are often featured in ads and commercials for companies like Timberland, Keds, and Foxwoods Casino, and magazines such as Rhode Island Monthly, Newport Life, and Newport Weddings. Recently, Pam and her models were able to shoot at the Versace Mansion in Miami, which is a very rare opportunity for even established models and larger agencies. “They know I have beautiful faces,” Pam explained, such as up and comer Arizona, who was discovered while at Urban Outfitters with Pam and is now signed with Next Management in Miami.
Several of Pam’s models will be featured wearing Boston couture bridal designer Candice Wu’s gowns in an upcoming British Vogue, shot at the Rhode Island Statehouse. The Beauty Within also provides models for charity fashion shows, bridal shows, numerous hair shows in Providence, and of course, spreads in the semi-annual StyleUp fashion magazine, founded by Pamela in 2017. The launch of the Spring/Summer issue and accompanying fashion show will be held on May 10th in Providence, with a portion of the proceeds going to St. Jude Children’s Research.
Nolan Wills is the graphic designer and creative director of StyleUp Magazine and came to Pam just after his high school graduation. “I started as a model and I thought I would be getting booked every day of my life and make mad money but it’s a lot of hard work and you really have to have your stuff together and be 50% of your personal brand,” he shared. “Pam is the other half, and she’s the good half.”
Nolan also addressed the common belief that fashion and modeling is a simple, superficial pursuit. “There’s a lot to the fashion industry that I never knew before I got involved and there’s so much going on when you’re creating art together as a team – it really takes what you have on the inside, your personality, and your decision making process. You have to know how to move your body, what to do with your hands – it’s really an art, like a ballerina, or hockey player, or painter. It takes practice.”
Another hot button issue that the fashion world continues to face is diversity and representation. “Geographically, we’re in a whiter part of RI, but we represent some really great women of color – Hispanic, Cape Verdean, African American, Asian, and we try to be as diverse as possible in StyleUp,” Pam explained. The current issue features a Hispanic and Eastern Indian woman on the cover. “It’s not about achieving a perfect formula on paper,” Nolan added. “There’s 7 billion people on earth and most of them aren’t white. It’s about balance and doing what’s right.”
Nolan began interning at The Beauty Within after getting a few years of modeling experience and gradually shifted his focus to graphic design as opportunities arose for him in that realm, encouraged by Pam as she started Style Up as a way to further promote her models and give them more exposure, experience, and networking opportunities.
“I make people believe in what they want to do,” Pam said. “Many of my models are in school and if I know one of them is in college for journalism, I’ll ask them to write an article for the magazine. One of my male models is also a videographer, so he’s been shooting our commercials. They’re still so young and it’s important to diversify – everything they do for me looks good on a resume.”
Nolan also spoke to Pam’s ability to pinpoint people’s strengths and encourage them to follow their curiosities in a very creative industry. “And there’s so many jobs out there,” he said. “I meet people in our line of work that do so many different things, whether in bridal, boutique, or brands. We’re such a diverse crowd of professionals.”
The agency has grown tremendously over the years, doubling in terms of clients, models, and profit in the last two years and physically moving from a basement location to a third floor corner office overlooking High Street. “The agency is only as good as its talent, it’s such an important part of who we are, and my talent is really, really good. We’re just going to keep going up and up and up.”
The growth of the agency also takes place alongside the growth of Pam’s models, which is another aspect of the job she loves. “It’s great to watch them grow up, get married, have children,” she shared. “And then some of their children wind up becoming my models as well, so the generations are coming through now. You see life – everyone’s growing right in front of you, and I really enjoy that.”
In the end, Pam believes that the name of the agency says it all, and it’s a name and a concept that she’s been working towards since long before her move to Westerly. “The industry is so different than it was twenty years ago, and the landscape has changed. Yes, you have to have the outer beauty, but people want to connect with the person behind the face, and you have to have beauty on the inside in order to be truly beautiful on the outside.”