Here at Bettina Management, we recently celebrated our 25th birthday! We sat down with our director, Bettina Petrone, to find out more about her journey and what her goals are now for the agency.
How did you start out in the industry?
I started in the industry when I was 17 and I entered a beauty quest. I won the competition and one of the prizes was a modelling course with Suzanne Johnston, from there I joined an agency and started my career as a professional model.
As well as being a professional model myself, I was also a dancing teacher. A lot of my students would always be asking me things about modelling, like how to walk, how to put on make-up and generally just wanting advice. So I decided to run modelling classes as well, which grew and grew and turned into Bettina Modelling and Deportment School.
While I was working as a model, my clients found out about my modelling school and asked if any of my kids would be interested in doing some work. So it started by helping out some of my clients with their campaigns, and like anything else, it just grew so I decided to start the agency.
In the beginning, I was interviewing new talent and working from my home office in Moonee Ponds, as we got bigger we moved to the Docklands and a few girls came on board to help me with the bookings and running the agency. And well, the rest, as they say, is history!
Every job we got was exciting, they were all firsts for us so it was a very enjoyable time for the kids and the agency. Our first campaign was for Run Scotty Run, a kids clothing label, so to see one of our kids in print was a fantastic moment.
The agency grew very quickly and we eventually opened up agencies interstate to keep up with the demand over there. We also started booking a whole new range of jobs, not just catalogues and print but TV commercials, feature films, TV series and all kinds of work. It was wonderful to see our kids were now not just models but mini-actors too.
What were your goals with the agency?
When we first set out it was just to keep up with client demand, I enjoyed helping out my clients and providing them with quality child talent. But once we really got going, our goals were also to help our kids grow as little professionals and find more new talent. We loved helping kids break into the industry and see their skills and confidence grow.
I loved working in the industry as a model myself, so getting to share that experience with young talent was a real joy for me and I love to see how we have continued that today.
The industry has changed a lot with the introduction of technology. We started out with printed comp cards for each child, which could take weeks to create (and become outdated quite quickly, as kids grow so fast!). When a client would request a child, we would have to pack the comp cards into the post and wait for the client to receive them and send them back before they could be sent to another client.
We now have a sophisticated online database for our talent and access to all the industry casting platforms, which means we can submit each child to multiple clients every day (and no more trips to the post office!). The whole process has become a lot smoother and opened up so many more opportunities, as jobs can now turn over a lot quicker.
What has been a highlight for you since the agency began?
It has all been a great experience. I have loved seeing the agency go from strength to strength and continue to grow.
We have worked on some amazing campaigns from iconic TV commercials to Hollywood blockbusters and our kids have flown all over the world to work on campaigns. All of these moments have been highlights for us so it is hard to pick just one!
Ultimately, seeing the great team that we have built across Australia and the continued success of our talent is something I take great joy in.
What are your goals for the agency now?
Our goals for the agency now are to maintain our status as Australia’s top children’s talent agency. We want to continue to build and maintain our client relationships so we can attract the best talent. We will also continue to be the industry leader in educating and informing parents on how the industry really works.
Watch our interview with Bettina here>>