SHERMAN OAKS — World Modeling Talent Agency, a mainstay in the adult film industry, will close its doors this week, owner Jim South confirmed Monday.
Approaching his 31st year with the company, South said he had become exhausted from the daily grind and needed time off. He has put the business up for sale and will cease day-to-day operations on Wednesday, although he said he would keep his phone line active while he considers his future.
“I’ve been working since I was 13 and I’m kind of a workaholic, so I don’t know how long I could be out,” he said.
South has earned a reputation as an honest agent willing to give young actors their start in an often murky industry. Working with his son, Jim Jr., he managed over 150 clients and served as the entry point to a business that largely operates outside the mainstream.
Tom Hymes, editor of industry trade magazine XBiz, which first announced the closure, said World Modeling had an unparalleled business reputation. As a journalist with a long history in the industry, he said that while he discouraged potential artists from getting into adult entertainment, he referred them to World Modeling if they insisted.
“Their reputation precedes them,” Hymes said. “In this business, if you don’t care about people, there are so many ways to spread the word. They actually cared about taking care of people in an industry where there is a lot of risk.
Although many of the artists on South’s talent list are represented by multiple agencies, Northridge-based actress Chelsea Zinn said he will be missed. She described him as a visionary who would never let greed corrupt his business practices and called him a rare and trustworthy trader.
“There are a lot of lows in this business, but I never felt that way about Jim,” Zinn said. “He sent me on things where I felt like I was too old, but he was always like, ‘Come on, baby, you can play.’ If you treated him well, he would act well around you. They really broke the mold when they created Jim.