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  • Karen Edmond

Echo News TV Black History Spotlight Star! Is on Tony Jones of T.J. Modeling New York NY

Updated: May 26, 2022

Fashion model extraordinaire and entrepreneur Tony Jones of T. J. Modeling Agency, located in New York, N.Y., took some time out of his bustling schedule to share some nuggets of wisdom on how a small-town guy from Long Branch, NJ, wound up modeling for clients such as Prada, Gucci, Hermès, Vogue, etc., etc., etc.! This exciting interview will motivate you and give you an inside look at the modeling industry. Plus, inspire you on how you can achieve your dreams too! So let's begin.

https://www.tjscouting.com/

Echo:

Could you tell me about yourself and describe your background in brief?

Tony Jones:

I’m the owner of T.J. Scouting Agency and am one of those people who enjoy work. My agency is known for producing quality shoots, models, and having a great work ethic. Fashion clients like Prada, Gucci, Hermès, Vogue, etc. know me and the quality of work I've produced currently and in the past. And I have a good reputation that the fashion industry internationally acknowledges. So although I love what I do, there's a lot of networking that goes on.


Echo:

Who inspired you to be a model and entrepreneur?

Tony Jones:

When I was in high school, I saw a G.Q. magazine and thought to myself, "I'd love to do that." After that, Miko Stewart, a good friend, and schoolmate motivated me to pursue my dream of being a model—just like those Black men on the G.Q. Magazine that I looked at in 1979. I began modeling in my junior and senior year of high school locally with a friend who developed a modeling troop by the name of Stephanie Crothers. She was a person who loved to produce local fashion utilizing African American models—and inspiring me, along with 12 other young people, that we could be fashion models. Afterward, in 1982 my friend Miko approached me again and said, "do you really want to be a professional model?" To which I replied, "yes." And at that time, she took me to New York and got me signed with Claire Modeling Agency in Manhattan.


(Editors note: In a previous version, we named Renauld White the first Black male model for G.Q. magazine. This was incorrect. Urs Althaus of Switzerland was the first Black male model for G.Q. Magazine 1977. Renauld White was the first African-American male model for G.Q. 1979. This article has been updated to reflect that. We thank our readers for the clarification.)




Echo:

What do you do to maintain your physical appearance?

(Tony Jones pictured with fashion model Lais- who’s younger?)

Tony Jones:

The steps I take have always been by working out at the gym. And watching what I eat. I made sure I ate the right foods and drank plenty of water. Plus, I used coconut oil & avocado cream on my body so that my skin would stay smooth and healthy.


Echo:

How do models hold uncomfortable poses for extended periods?

Tony Jones:

Modeling is akin to acting. So as you transform yourself for a shoot theme, you imitate and transition yourself to being the theme the client wants you to be. Modeling is a form of art. A perfect example of models who could transform their modeling for a client into artwork would be Donyale Luna and Naomi Sims.

(Pictured below Models: Naomi Sims, Donyale Luna, Beverly Johnson, Amanda Tree, & Iman)

Echo:

How do you build good working relationships with your team of models?


(Tony Jones pictured below to left on the set of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel - Center Wife Eve Jones, actress Angie Harmon & actress Valerie - & right fashion model Karlie Kloss)


Tony Jones:

You build a good relationship with your team of models by allowing them to trust you. As a modeling scout/coach, I look out for my team of models' mental health. The modeling industry can be demanding plus hectic at the same time. A good modeling coach must empathize, encourage, and motivate your models by building a relationship of trust and loyalty with them because many of these models are new to the field. There are, on average approximately 500 new, popular models coming into the industry each year. You have to motivate your team into knowing that they are beautiful, competent, and able to join the field of established plus up and coming models leading the industry today.


(Below is Tony Jones is Pictured with a few of his models)

Echo:

Have you ever experienced photographers making unacceptable comments towards you or your team of models during photo-shoots?

Tony Jones:

It does happen in the industry, but it hadn't occurred to me. Most photographers can be upset with the stylist because the stylist does not always have what the client wants per the photo-shoot's theme. I have always had a strong persona, so I found that most photographers had respected me when I was a model. But there have been times when I had to jump on a plane. And confront a photographer for harassing one of my models.

Echo:

What was the most challenging photo-shoot you have ever done? And how did you handle it?

Tony Jones:

As a model, the most challenging model shoot I had was with a photographer named Tien. It was for a German Magazine. I was shooting for a designer belt company, and they tied me up with designer belts in my underwear. And then I had to stand on top of a boulder! The shoot was for German Vogue.

Echo:

What’s the importance of a portfolio?

Tony Jones:

To excel in the modeling field, you must do the shoots. That builds your portfolio to obtain higher-paying jobs such as in advertising & catalog contracts. A model could earn $10,000 to $50,0000 a day for advertising contract work. Catalog modeling could be paid as high as $2,000 -$3,000 per day.


TJ Scouting Models: (I've seen them in major fashion ads.)


Echo:

How do you deal with pressure or stressful situations?

Tony Jones:

Going to the gym helps. Meditation and yoga can be helpful. And it's always good to eat healthy because when you feed your body good stuff with plenty of water, your body in turn provides the strength for you to persevere.

(Tony Jones pictured with super-model Tyson Beckford)

Echo:

What's the biggest thing that's changed since your childhood?

Tony Jones:

The biggest thing that changed since my childhood is my attitude towards life. I focused on myself and what was best for me unashamedly. Traveling and living a European lifestyle provided me the confidence to be okay with my life goals and aspirations. This perspective empowered me to grow as a model and as a person.


(Tony Jones pictured at The Cannes Film Festival in France Promo Documentary of his life’s Story for Bloomberg TV.)

Echo:

What was the most important thing your parents taught you?


(Pictured below are some of Tony Jones's family : Grandfather Jones, Mother Nancy Shaw-Jones, Sisters Leslie, Donna, and Brother Kevee when they were younger 1970's)


Tony Jones:

My mom Nancy Shaw taught me to be a good person and treat people with respect. And to persevere in anything that I wanted to do.

(Tony Jones of TJ Scouting as a child in the summer during the 70's with lifelong friends

Gary Williams & Evelyn Wilkerson)

Echo:

What's something that you want future generations to know?

Tony Jones:

Never listen to people when it comes to your dreams. Follow your dreams because dreams do come true. It's all in what you choose to do with your life.

Echo:

What is something you learned later in life?

Tony Jones:

We all have our journey in life, and what we choose in life is what our life will be. People tend to allow fear to dictate their future, especially in modeling. God hasn't given us a spirit of fear, and you have to shut fear down because it blocks your blessing.

(Tony Jones pictured with movie star and friend Kristin Dunst)


Echo:

That sounds like you walk by faith and not by sight. Did you grow up attending church?

Tony Jones:

Ha-Ha! You know I did. My mother, Nancy was a loving Christian woman. I grew up attending Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church in Atlantic Highlands, N.J. I remember your grandfather and the words of wisdom that Rev Brittingham spoke. Believing in yourself plus having the experience of a loving family, community, and church in your life as a child empowers you to face the world and accomplish your dreams.



(Pictured above historic Quinn Chapel Church A.M.E. 107 Prospect Ave Atlantic Highlands NJ 07716 est 1852 https://docsouth.unc.edu/church/wright/wright.html )

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In closing, all I can say is wow! What a wonderful testimony that both young and old can learn from today. And with that said, this is why Mr. Tony Jones of T.J. Modeling Scouting Agency of N.Y., NY is the relaunched Echo's Black History Spotlight Star for Feb 2022.

Please enjoy Kirk Franklin Black History Tiny Desk Home Concert!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRwId2RfmfA



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