"Introducing an emerging designer creating captivating leather fashions."
IKEMEN #30: JORGE URENA
IKEMEN (ē´k´mɛn): Japanese Slang
"REALLY, REALLY, RIDICULOUSLY GOOD LOOKING PEOPLE"
Name: JORGE URENA
Occupation: MANAGER @WILHELMINA
1. Where are you from?
I was born in Dominican Republic and moved to Miami when I was about 10 years old.
2. How long have you been in NYC?
Four and half years
3. What brings you to NY?
I’ve been at Wilhelmina for 11years and they transferred me to the NY office so Wilhelmina brought me here.
4. When did you start working in Wilhelmina?
5. What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
I would have to say that the most challenging part is…although there are a couple , the main one is crushing certain people’s dreams of becoming a model- letting them know that the industry is not necessarily as welcoming to everyone because of the rules that have been set through the years as far as having a certain height or body measurements, things like that. Also wanting success for the models more than they want it for themselves.
6. What get you most excited about your job?
I like my job because it’s not an everyday job that you do same thing over and over; it’s very creative and you get to meet different people from all walks of life. It’s exciting because each model has a different path in the modeling industry and each client is different as well so it never gets boring. I also like traveling and this job has taken me all over the world.
So are you traveling a lot?
I’m basically doing more management right now but I used to travel a lot when I was doing scouting and development. I would look for Men, Women and Curve for all the offices (Miami, LA and NY, now Chicago and London as well) but every now and then still I do certain trips if the scouting team needs me to. I remember that there was one month a year back where I was traveling all month… I came back for one day to switch all my clothes, repack, paid the rent and left. One day in a whole month. Just going straight back to back, city to city and then you live in hotel to hotel. I realize that side of the business gets very tiring. I have so much respects for models and scouts who do this full time.
7. What are some of your interests outside of work?
I haven’t officially started training yet but this year I’m going to be running the NY marathons with the Children’s Cancer and Blood Foundation. I used to be involved a lot of charity work when I was younger especially with Relay For Life (Cancer Societies). I am very excited to kill one bird with two stones and check off the NY Marathon off my bucket list while doing charity. Also, I am working on going back to learn French.
So do you work out every day?
I didn’t before. I am not into lifting… I prefer Cardio. This past year I started to do a lot of stuffs like as SLT, Barre Method, and Flywheel. After trying all those things I went to a kick boxing and has been hooked ever since. I go 3 to 4 times a week when I can. It is my favorite because I get to do full of body work out. Also the fact that you can punch a bag and get all your stress and frustrations that sometimes comes with living in the city helps!
8. Where is your favorite place in NY?
Washington Square Park!!
I love people watching, it’s my favorite thing everywhere I go which kind of goes hand in hand with my career. I always call it my secret place even though all my friends like to know where I am all they time and they now know im usually there having “Me Time” . If it’s summer Fridays, whenever I feel like I want to clear my mind and sort thru my thoughts, I get a salad, I turn my phone off for 35minutes and watch people. It’s fun to just sit there by myself and looking at everything what’s going on.I don’t know why Washington Square Park relaxes me; I think this is because it was the first park I went to when I got to NY, I was lost and just realized I loved it. It was easy to get there from where I lived at the time so it just became my favorite.
9. Could you describe typical day of your life?
I try to wake up around 7:00am so I can do kick boxing at 7:45am. I get into the office between 9:30am and 10:00am then I always have my meals pre-made like I cook on Sundays I have the breakfast I bring I make sure I answer first several clients from the European and Asian markets to e-mail because their day is almost done. Then I always have a To-Do list and I am old school where everything I finish high-lighted as I go through the day. Then make sure with all the girls charts are up to date and that that nothing came in new as far as casting the night before. Usually through the day I try to have a one hour of Polaroids between 11:30am and 1:00pm because it’s good lighting. After that I heat up my lunch I bring - so I usually eat it at the office and I start arranging the books if there are any new images. In between just answering calls and emails from clients. Usually it takes up my entire day.
During Fashion Week I work morning to midnight every day. At our office our hours are supposed to be 9am to 6pm but some days we are there until 7:30pm, some days are 9:00pm, some days are 11:00pm so it’s never the same. I want to go out to more fashion events and be involved but we are usually so tired after a long day I just go home.
10. What are your strengths and weakness?
I would say I’m very passionate and hard working so whenever I get passionate about something, I don’t stop until it gets done or achieved. So I when I am passionate for about a model I push push push that model till everyone can see what I see in the model and their potential and I just don’t stop till it gets accomplished. I am dedicated and relentless.
My weakness would be... because I am very passionate person in the business side, it is hard not to take things personal because you are working with human beings we are not selling products so you do get very attached to the talents success and failures. It’s hard making sometimes separating the business and personal side.
11. What are your lifelong dreams?
I would love to eventually be the director of an agency. Maybe it’s Wilhelmina or director of own my agency. Then be married and have kids. I definitely want 2 or 4 kids; it has to be an even number because I come from having an even number in siblings and I know growing up when it comes to fights…if you are an odd number somebody always gets left out so I'm just not going to have 1 or 3 kids.
How about 6 kids?
Let’s keep them 4. It would have to be super rich to be able to keep up with 6 kids!
12. What words would describe you?
Outgoing, Caring, Loyal, and Honest.
13. What do you see yourself in five years?
I would still be in NY. Hopefully handling my own division and somehow figuring how to involve my industry in doing more charitable stuff.
Also I want to own an apartment in Manhattan. I guess it’s everyone’s dream to have their own apartment with big widows overlooking something like the park! That would be a goal.
14. What is one thing that would surprise our readers?
I am actually a BIG NERD! I love comic books and video games. I love Marvel and X-Men stuff. I used to be obsessed with Sailor Moon! Also I am a big family guy.
15. Do you have any life-essential tips for our readers?
Always believe in yourself even when others don't and always trust your gut instinct. You always have the right answers yourself.
INTERVIEWED & WRITTEN BY YU WATANABE
EDIT BY SUSAN SCHELL