Brenda Wong and I first met when she was director of the Fashion Design program at The Art Institute of Vancouver. I had recently developed a new column for the magazine I co-owned called Behind The Scenes. In it we featured professionals with many years experience in the industry – a passing on of knowledge for those just entering the field. I showed up for that first lunch just to hear her story and find out a bit about her journey. I was not disappointed. From stunt woman, to agency owner, to education management and more – this was someone with serious experience to share.
Over the years we have run into each other here and there at events and I am always impressed with her welcoming smile and warm manner. Wong is the first to ask how you’re doing and she actually listens to the answer – a rare talent at a crowded, noisy event. When we again bumped into each other at Vancouver Fashion Week and had a quick, super brief catch-up, I knew I needed to feature her story again in this 8Q column.
It’s long past time for us to connect again over a one-on-one lunch, but in the meantime this walk down memory lane for me will have to suffice. I hope you enjoy her story as much as I do.
8Q Spotlight Brenda Wong
What is your current career(s) – paid and unpaid?
I have been a model and talent agent for 20 plus years. I represent professional models for international contract placement (and local work) and professional performers (actors) for TV commercials, television, film and multi media. I volunteer to raise funds for the kids in the Eastside. My “take” is my living, my “give” is the rent I pay for my fabulous life!
Can you share an interesting thing (or two) about your journey to reach this moment?
Well, Marilyn, I’m two-faced. Half my career has been in entertainment the other half is in educational management. I have been very fortunate, I do whatever I want and when the nay-sayers told me I couldn’t, I turned those words into I CAN and I WILL. After all, the best revenge is my own sweet success!
I started in the entertainment industry introducing the Tom Jones Comedy Show at the Panorama Film Studios in West Vancouver, where now stands condominiums! I am grateful to John Scott, Stunts Coordinator, who started me in stunts for TV and Film. The first chance I had to become an agent, I took it! Safer sitting at a desk/office than hitting the ground! I met you when I was the Academic Director of Fashion Programs at The Art Institute of Vancouver (my other face!).
What 3 things would you like people to know about you to give them a sense of who you really are?
- I’m a shy – out going – person
- I ride a Harley
- I think cars and bikes are like purses and shoes
Highest moment so far?
The success of my model and talent agency business and the success of my fashion students.
What are you working on right now? In the next 6 months?
I am always working on my agency business, but would love to get back into educational management. I miss working with students and faculty.
Who and/or what inspires you?
I take inspiration from positive, energetic, productive people. The people at my gym, Sweat Co (voted #1 by the Georgia Straight) keep me physically fit and mindfully sharp! Great team of trainers, thanks to Maureen Wilson.
How do you personally define success?
Success to me is not about money, it’s measured by how I “touch” others. I truly feel rewarded when I can help others in my industries (entertainment and educational management). The more I give the more I get. I find passion drives success and when this happens the money always comes. My biggest test is how happy I am with money and how happy I am without money – I’m happy both ways.
Advice for someone wanting to embrace this career?
For women, go and get the highest education possible. Then go after your passion. Make action for yourself and build your life. Never put yourself down, after all, someone else will do this for you. Remember, Rosa Parks, the seamstress who sat down on the bus so the rest of us can stand up?! If the first choice does not work out, strike out a second path. Sometimes it’s the second path that is the hit!
- Facebook: Modelco Vancouver Management
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brendalwong?fref=ts
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- Twitter: @brendalwong
Please Note: the staff at METRO LIVING ZINE are fans of Brenda Wong and her many accomplishments. Brenda Wong has no personal or professional affiliation with the METRO LIVING ZINE Talent Agency. The METRO LIVING ZINE staff hold Brenda Wong in high regard.
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