"We need more Latinos." That's the call one Minnesota talent agency is making loud and clear. The reason why is pretty simple math.
Latinos are a growing population in our communities, but they are underrepresented in TV ads and movies. That means Latinos are now the largest and fastest growing minority group in the country.
The 2010 US Census reports there are 250,300 Latinos in Minnesota. In Minneapolis alone, you'll find 40,000 people who self-identify as Latino. In St. Paul, there are 27,300 Latinos. As this population grows, talent agents say so does the demand for faces that represent that growth -- and growth means jobs.
Katie Dosen, a children's director at Caryn Model & Talent Management, faces a challenge. Dosen's Latino talent roster simply does not match up to her client requests for more Latinos.
"They were just looking for Hispanic girls, ages 14-18," she said. "So, in high school -- and it was for Josten's. They do a lot of catalogue work."
The agency is now aiming to fill the growing demand for Latino models, actors and commercial talent.
"It's one of those categories we can always use more in. As far as -- for this packet, when they were asking for Latino people -- we could only send probably 8-10 women," Dosen explained. "Normally, if they were asking for Caucasian girls in High School we would have more of a variety for them," nodded Dosen.
Deb Charloff, vice president of Caryn Model & Talent Management , says, "It definitely is more difficult to find Latino talent in this market. So, anyone that wants to send in their pictures, we'd definitely welcome them to send in their pictures and their information so we can try to get them on upcoming jobs."
Charloff said she also strategizes to fit her clients' needs.
"Sometimes what we do is ask if people can bring their mom to the audition. Can you bring your grandma?" she said
The agency seeks both young and old. In scouring the market, Charloff said she found some luck in locating Latino talent like Colombian model and actress Paola Cardenas and film talent Andres Parra.
"I think there is a small group of Latin people working in the industry," noted Cardenas.
Both Cardenas and Parra say casting calls are a breeze, but they would like to see more companies scouting in Minnesota.
"We would like to be really busy," smiled Parra. "I would love to see more calls for Latino talent because I want to take that market away from Chicago, Miami, New York, LA because there are good people here."
As Charloff encourages more Latino talent to step forward, Cardenas affirms more talent will take the pressure off their agent's hands, and instead put a welcome challenge into theirs.
"Maybe that will bring more jobs in town if we have more people to compete with. Well it would mean competition but this is what the modeling industry is," smiled Cardenas. "I really love the industry here in town in Minneapolis, everybody is really nice, there is not that diva or kind of attitude here everybody is really down to Earth and they really treat you well."
Commercial ad work is not consistent, but it pays up to $150 an hour. If Caryn Model & Talent Management believes you are a good fit, they will invite you in for an appointment. If chosen as talent, Charloff tells FOX 9 a photo shoot that includes a make-up artist and web hosting will be required. The fee for this service is $300.
Charloff encourages interested talent to send a photo with contact information on the back to Caryn Model & Talent Management.