Skip to main content
(Source: WAFF 48 News)
Cara Taylor (Source: Onyx Model Management)
Cara Taylor (Source: Onyx Model Management)

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) – A Huntsville company is helping bring some of the world’s hottest models to the catwalk!

Brittney Flanders and Janna Park started Onyx Model Management a few years ago and have already recruited some of the most in-demand faces in the industry. On Tuesday at their office on Bob Wallace Avenue, they explained how they got started.

“We’re known as a parent agency, which is basically a model manager. We find local talent and then place them in bigger markets like New York, LA, Paris, Milan, London,” Flanders explained. “She’s a photographer and I was getting into modeling, but I’m not big enough. We just became friends and started finding people we liked to take pictures with and I was running the creation.”

“Then we just started placing girls,” Park said. “We put them in markets like Atlanta and with other parent agencies that we knew and we thought, why aren’t we doing this for a living? We love it so much and we have our eye on it, so Onyx was born.”

One of the models they recruited was Cara Taylor, a student at Grissom High School.

“We found her on Instagram, a volleyball player from Grissom. It’s just been a whirlwind,” Flanders said. “She’s probably in the top five percentile of supermodels and it’s crazy, that girl from Huntsville!”

Through many efforts, including phone calls and trips to New York, Janna and Brittney established close contacts with several of New York’s top modeling agencies. Onyx sent Cara’s digital photographs to all the major agencies and she was offered an immediate contract.

Since then, Cara has become one of the top models in the industry, modeling in Paris, Milan, London and New York. She opened the show for Chanel, Fendi and Alexander Wang. Models.com ranked her in the top 50 worldwide. Last season, she came in second place for best campaigns according to Models.com. She was just behind Bella Hadid, who came in first place, and ahead of both Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner.

Cara is only 17 years old and she has been on the cover of many magazines including Italian Vogue, Vogue China, Self Service, ID and Sunday Style. She’s been the face of brands like Coach, YSL, Max Mara and Michael Kors, and has just wrapped filming her second Versace campaign.

“I started out pretty big. My first show was Alexander Wang, which was a big show in New York. Later that same season, I did Prada and they cut my hair in a bob and I did it. kept since,” Cara said.

She has traveled the world and seizes every opportunity that comes her way.

“My career has kind of grown and it’s just crazy and surreal that it all happened so fast. I never would have thought in a million years this would have been my life,” Cara added. “But it’s crazy to be able to do that much as a high school kid. It’s crazy.”

Onyx Model Management has recruited a number of models from the South East and now eleven of them have been signed to major agencies.

“Some of them are from Huntsville High School, Grissom High School. We also expand into Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, but most of our role models are from Alabama and the area,” Flanders said.

Huntsville High graduate Natassja Tidball walked for brands like Tory Burch, Christopher Kane, Marni and Vivienne Westwood her first season, as well as doing lookbooks for Marc Jacobs and W Magazine.

Josie Redmond, a 19-year-old from Knoxville, also saw her career launched by Onyx. She moved to Los Angeles full time and works regularly for PacSun and Forever 21.

Jaleen Oliver, a young man from Gadsden, has graced the pages of Vogue Mexico and Vogue Italian, and has just walked Dolce and Gabbana.

A few months ago, Onyx held a fashion show in Huntsville and invited major agencies to come see their new models. Flanders and Park run their business like a family. They care about their models and it’s the personal approach that allows such success in the industry.

“Fashion week is coming up and we’re going to have even more girls making their debuts in the region. So keep an eye out for that if you’re into fashion, check out the fashion channel in September,” Flanders said.

The women are proud of their successful business as major modeling agencies continue to come to them for their talent and beauty, including Cara Taylor who catapulted herself into the world of high fashion.

“It’s amazing to feel like you’re helping these girls’ dreams come true. It’s one of the best feelings in the world,” Park said.

“It was a dream come true. When we place them we start jumping up and down and screaming. And we know they’re going to have this fantastic journey ahead of them and travel and meet these fantastic people and we get to go with them. It’s amazing,” added Flanders.

Copyright 2018 WAFF. All rights reserved.