NYC Modeling Agency Recruits Seven LPGA Pros

We’re all more than used to the beauty shots and calendars from Natalie Gulbis, but per the L.A. TIMES, a division of the Wilhelmina Modeling Agency in New York now wants to play “Pygmalion” for seven LPGA Tour golfers you’ve likely not heard of and turn them into headline-grabbers for how they look off the course along with how they play on it.

Kim Hall

Golfers Kim Hall (pictured above), Stacy Prammanasudh, Anna Grzebien, Minni Blomqvist, Sandra Gal, Joanna Head, and Mikaela Parmlid are now the “Wilhelmina 7.” It’s the project of Dieter Esch, who somehow managed to discover that people will likely pay more attention to athletes on the way up if they’re good-looking. Who would have thought?

“There was simply not enough pizazz on the LPGA Tour,” [Esch] said. “The players had no representation to speak of, no advertisements to speak of. It’s a crime, so Wilhelmina is taking it upon itself to change that.”

“I wanted them to look attractive, I wanted them to look sexy,” Esch said. “And that category can’t only be Natalie Gulbis and Paula Creamer. “What I hope for the Wilhelmina 7, I hope that they get exposure beyond golf. It’s about style and fashion too. I want people to come out to the golf course and say, ‘What are they wearing this weekend?’ ”

The LPGA has had its own attempts to sell itself through the beauty of some of its athletes — the piece goes through a bit of calendars in the 1970s and a former commissioner’s “Five Points of Celebrity” proposal. But when the female golfer with the biggest endorsement income is Michelle Wie, who has it on pure novelty alone right now, how much good will the muscle of a massive fashion agency do?

At least Hall seems to have a sensible head about the whole thing, saying none of the Seven “wants to be a [Anna] Kournikova.” But is there a value to the sport in trying to market its “cute ones”, as she put it? And does that value overshadow their performing well on the Tour?

Hall’s husband Casey is gung-ho about the whole thing, though:

When she is on the road, Hall said Casey likes to look at her pictures on the Internet, and has found it best to be talking on the phone with her at the same time.

“He has a whole new perspective of his wife,” Esch said.

I’m sure he does.