Women is...: Cherylann Siegel, Model Citizen

Cherylann Siegel, Model Citizen

what she does: Founder/owner of Siegel Represents, a Denver-based modeling agency whose models work for Versace and Calvin Klein.

born: 1961

how she got there: "I started modeling in Houston at 21 and was recruited by Elite-Chicago [a high-powered agency whose alumni include Cindy Crawford]. After having a good fling at it, I quit the modeling industry and went into hotel management. Then Elite-Chicago asked me to come back and open a new division. And that's how I became an agent."

turning point: "A girlfriend of mine from Chicago came out to Denver, and she just didn't feel the agencies here would represent her effectively. I had a four-month-old baby who was still nursing, but this was a very, very good friend, so I represented her."

the biz: Siegel's roster includes 100 or so models, who appear in everything from print ads and TV commercials to runway shows for such designers as Versace, Moschino and Calvin Klein.
what a modeling agency does: "We market people the way Palmolive markets bars of soap. From the moment we agree to represent somebody, we start developing a marketing strategy: Where is this model going to work? Is she going to be commercial, or is she going to work in high fashion? What kind of hair? You may change your mind down the road, but you start with a concept and you develop it."

what she looks for: "Usually it's the tall, gangly, kind of weird-looking girls. Their eyes will be kind of wide, their faces will be kind of chiseled. The camera loves that, because their faces pick up so many different angles."

best age to start modeling: 14 to 17

advice to those considering a modeling career: "A girl needs to have her value system and emotions in place. She should understand that this is a very superficial business. It can be a great adventure but you don't just walk in the door, have one test, and make $100,000 your first year. You may not start making money for three years."
on working with teenagers: "If I have a model who starts slacking off in her schoolwork, and modeling starts to become an excuse for poor grades, I will not call her. And I'll tell her that. I don't care how much money she's making. You can't live the rest of your life on your looks. You have to have your brain."

her greatest asset as an agent: "My ability to nurture these young girls getting into the business. I can remember what it was like when my agent told me I needed to lose five pounds. I know how it feels to go to an audition where no one even knows your name, and you're talked at, not to. Girls getting started in this industry need somebody to listen to them."

on beauty: "I believe there's nothing more sexy to a man than confidence -- the way you carry yourself. I do not think being thin makes a woman sexy; I do not think having high cheekbones makes a woman beautiful. I think it's her confidence and her ability to feel good about herself no matter what her waist size."