Press Office

Natasha Van Diemen

This article was originally published in the Cape Argus in 1999

She is 1.8m tall, beautiful and always immaculately dressed. It seems she was born for the catwalk.

Natasha van Diemen, 22, always dreamed of opening a modelling agency which would recruit models from black and coloured communities, models who did not always have the opportunities in this white dominated and extremely competitive world.

Ms Van Diemen grew up in abject poverty in Grassy Park- to this day they don’t have hot water in their modest house. She began her working life as a factory worker.

Last April she decided to make her dream a reality and took the plunge. With no money except her meagre savings, she opened Outlook Models Agency.

Ms van Diemen soon discovered that is was not easy to enter this market and faced an uphill battle to survive. “But I received a lot of support from my community” she said.

“The modelling world is extremely competitive. It’s extremely difficult for a small agency to compete with the bigger ones especially with the financial muscle that the local competitors have and that they have established over many years.”

In August she launched her agency and introduced a dynamic group of new models to the public as well as the fashion and media world.

Apart from training new girls aged between 14 and 24, Outlook Models has also embarked on fundraising activities for charity organisations.

“I support fundraising for organisations because I believe in putting back my services into the community that has supported me so strongly” she said.

In January the agency participated in the SPCA Guidedog Association’s fundraising drive. It involved 80 models going around to malls and other businesses with collecting tins.

The agency also trains the models to do promotional work , connects them with casting agencies who look for potential models and trains them in grooming, how to walk , to present themselves as models and how to put together portfolios.

Ms Van Diemen is currently busy completing portfolios for 35 models.”Because the models can’t pay for their own portfolios, we organise fundraising activities to raise the necessary money. The models will have to sell tickets which will cover the cost for their own portfolios”, Ms Van Diemen said.

She also recently opened another company called Orisons Promotions which sets itself the objective of getting jobs for the models especially in a growing advertising industry.

“We provide beautiful models that can sell stuff, we train them”

“Big casting directors are looking for models for shoots, films or in adverts. They contact us and we provide the models that best suit their requirements” she said.

Ms Van Diemen has no illusions she knows it is going to take a lot of hard work and dedication to succeed.”It takes R10 000 to R15 000a month to administer and run the agencies. We are very dependent on big companies for our survival with many good people coming forward to help” she said.

Although it is still too early to predict whether this tenacious young woman is going to succeed, she certainly has the courage and vision to make it big. But she has already proven that women must dare to dream.

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