NEW YORK — Frances Grill, who in 1980 founded Click Model Management, a New York agency that gained attention for the diversity of its models in a less inclusive era, died Thursday at her Manhattan home. She was 90 years old.
Since its inception, Click has refused to be limited by conventional standards of what a model should look like. Over the years, he has portrayed white models (Elle Macpherson, model-actress Isabella Rossellini and Uma Thurman), black models (Gail O’Neill and singer-actress Whitney Houston), transgender model Teri Toye and the model Attila Von Somogyi.
Macpherson, who began working with Ms. Grill as a teenager, said in an interview on Monday that Ms. Grill “wasn’t interested in the cookie-cutter talent.”
“It wasn’t really what people looked like — she was interested in who they were and what they stood for,” she said. “In a world where being homogeneous was where – especially as a teenager – you wanted to be, she celebrated differences.”
Puerto Rican-born Talisa Soto Bratt became a Click model around the same time as Macpherson, after other agencies turned her down. “In 1982, diversity didn’t exist in magazines or in the fashion industry,” she said Monday. “It was completely driven by ‘blond blue eyes.’ Of course, Frances — her whole vision was, ‘Look at the world, look at how diverse it is. We have to represent that.
“Frances and her click were more than an agency to me,” Rossellini, her first model client, wrote in an email Monday. “She was my mentor who taught me the work ethic” as well as how to “manage a career and enjoy every second of it”.