I am so thrilled to announce that the Charisma+2 agency has arrived at a major milestone. Starting out as an agency for only girls, I didn’t realize that so many great guys would want to join and be in demand by game clients. You can read about how it all began in Gamesauce Page.54, but the one line version is this: Charisma+2 was built to empower gamer girls to be their best selves through education in numerous disciplines, application of goal oriented actions, and encouragement so that they could realize and achieve their dreams by becoming dependable, self-actualized, and self-motivated women.
Now that the image of the Charisma+2 girl has been set, it is time to hand the models the reigns. I will still represent the girls as a whole and individually to clients, but they will now be able to edit, update, and write up their entire profile pages. They will be able to link and promote items they are selling, post their video accounts, and blog to their hearts’ content. Think of it as C+2 City: Mini Mall of Models. Some girls are taking charge of different areas or expanding their roles so be on the look out for updates. You will be able to find hundreds of models, who they are, what games they play, items they sell, what’s new in their lives, and their upcoming appearances.
Charisma+2 guys are also able to do the same, but their image has always been easier to mold. Being professional, responsible, and great looking was not a tough task. When solidifying an image for the C+2 girls, I had far more obstacles.
Why people would assume that gamer models were “escorts” and mainstream promo models weren’t still boggles my mind and is rather offensive. At times I felt like I was re-enacting an updated version of the old 40’s movie the Harvey Girls. Nevertheless, the image is solid. Charisma+2 girls are professional, personable, beautiful in a wide variety of ways, and are avid gamers. They are sexy but not slutty, cute but also smart, fun but very reliable. With literally hundreds of models and only a handful of terminations, I could not be more proud of the Charisma+2 models. I only wish there were enough gigs for all of them to be hired. I’m working on that!
I had set out to find a way to help others like me (you can read here http://charismaplus2.com/you-are-great-by-yvonna/ the types of girls attracted to C+2) to feel as happy as I did my very first day in the industry meeting Miyamoto and working for Nintendo at E3 in 2005. Some hardcore developers still don’t feel that marketing is considered as being in the industry. For C+2 it definitely is, since game markets are our focus. Also bear in mind, game devs, in general, are not the best at marketing themselves. Even if they make the most awesome game in history, if no one is there to market it, it will fade by the wayside unnoticed, despite the genius input. That is where we, as gamer models, demo product specialists, and spokespersons, fit in superbly!
I am thrilled to say that almost all the girls chosen to work a convention find themselves with experiences and opportunities they would have never otherwise had. Some lead to more gigs, others to becoming mainstream models, while others end up becoming game developers themselves. Girls who never get chosen to work a convention or be an in-game talent, still walk away with an enormous boost to their self-esteem by just becoming aware of the fact that they are prettier, smarter, and more valuable than they thought they were beforehand. There are countless girls that submitted potentially attractive photos with that meek, unsure look in their eyes that spelled no confidence, near defeat, and frequently fear of the public’s unapproved. The time period varies, but with a few photo tips, encouragement and support, almost every girl eventually finds herself in a place of taking outstanding, bold, confident, and beautiful photos feeling better about herself all around as a person. It is why I don’t get too ruffled about swimsuit shots or something a bit edgy or risqué if tastefully or artistically done. Some of these girls have been shamed or crushed for so long that to see them realize their own beauty is simply joyous. I get emails from girls saying that they had felt ugly almost all their life and now feel proud and excited because now they feel pretty.
I wish I could accept every single girl that applies to Charisma+2! In fact, it is because I truly do see people for their inner beauty that I have silent partners that must give final approval to who I bring on board. It is a question of marketability as opposed to being pretty enough. I have a few girls on the fringes but most are what I will call typically requested model types because I get calls for that. It would be cruel to bring on someone that I knew would not be marketable. It is also why I am so thrilled to have Charisma+2 friends and fans that we affectionately call C+2 fam.
Meeting other girls with similar struggles also is a great side benefit. I have quoted her often, but one of my fondest memories was when our outstanding official game news highlight and blogger, Mary said something to the effect that all the C+2 girls are “so nice to me! I never expected them to be, as pretty as they are, to be nicer than even other people I have met”.
The C+2 magazine has also evolved with a growing appreciation from developers and fans alike. Recently Chance Thomas, http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0858613/ composer for many great titles like Avatar, LOTR, Xmen, and Marvel Ultimate Alliance), said about the Official C+2 blog post (http://charismaplus2.com/hope-and-inspiration/) written by Mary, “WOW! This is an absolutely fantastic post. So well written, perfect layout. It needed a woman’s touch! I’m very impressed. And grateful. Thank you“.
Being able to write for a great game site after my first gig at E3, I wanted to provide that same opportunity for girls to grow their skills and even chances at a new lease on life. Many girls, like Mary, did not even know they would like writing. So when I started the C+2 magazine, I wanted the girls to really write seriously. I soon fought tooth and nail just to get content of any kind from them. Everyone is so busy! It was tough.
Eventually we had a great group of girls, writing regularly on topics that would specifically pertain to female gamers. Not only would we write game impressions, but also do make-up tutorials, as long standing columnist Leigh-Ann does with her game character inspired make up videos, Madeline with cosplay hints, Jesse with F3G (fitness for female gamers) that was spearheaded by fitness model Alex, and pragmatic things about modeling and acting in the game industry from the very successful Cynthia, and even some clever and delicious baking game inspired goodies from Kayla’s L337Sweets column in addition to fabulous game reviews from the female perspective. This doesn’t even account for some girls who specialize in a particular series, like Kat with the Gears games.
We were finally full of enough regular contributors, that I could find an editor. I desperately needed help with that load that was already a full time job but was getting fuller. After the great work of a few editors, we are where we are today.
Every month, we have more journalists in our gamer modeling group than we can print. The deadlines for the flip magazine were nigh impossible to maintain. So we now have a new format in the works (due 4th week of January 2012) where all the C+2 girls and guys, and even some C+2 fam and friends can write to their hearts content. The best formatted and viewed pieces will end up in our fabulous flip magazine that will be photoshopped, organized, and laid out by the assistant content manager, our archiving goddess, Isis
From the beginnings of the agency to today, I established 3 rules of Dos and Don’t’s at Charisma+2 that remain in tact and help promote the kind of agency we have. No jerks, no drama, and no attitudes. Of course, there are things that fall under these headings, but it is simple. We currently have over 250 models and literally only a handful have ever been terminated. Of those that were let go, some have used what they learned at C+2 to build a better career than they would have without the agency and some still remain quite close. Why such a low termination rate? The models want to be professional because they care a great deal about what the clients’ think. They are essentially working for their heroes. Also, It is because the girls and guys want to support each other. Each person knows that every member has something to offer and no one is better than the next. Superiority and entitlement inclinations are not permitted. Then again, those types don’t want to be in this sort of agency anyway.
It is in part because of these ground rules that we do a great deal of charity work. It is my pleasure to announce that Kristal “Trix” will be the Charities Manager. Having rallied a group of the models “Girls of War” for an online tourney/playdate benefitting Gamers Outreach and hosted by Kona’s Korner this year already, Trix is well on her way of taking many charities under her wing. In addition to the long standing C+2 favorite charities of Operation Supply Drop, Non-Pareil Institute, Child’s Play, Genesis Women’s Outreach and other domestic violence centers for women and children, Trix is asking for those models involved in any SPCA type organizations to get ahold of her (trix@CharismaPlus2.com) and send pics. Not mentioning all of the non-profits we support, we also have our monthly contributions to The Society of Women Who Love Shoes who give shoes to battered women starting to get back into the work force. Somehow, that organization just seemed a natural fit.
So as you can see the time has come.
I have been a friend with girls that moved from high school into college, bought their first car, got in a wreck, got dumped, got engaged, got separated, got fired, got a job! I truly do love my C+2 guys and girls. But clearly, the network has been built with a good foundation that is strong enough that I no longer have to do all duties personally. There are so many wonderful and talented girls and guys in the agency that want to take the reigns. So, as the girls start the process of loading their profiles (and the web guys help ensure it’s delivery online), I will make an announcement to open up the Charisma+2 site to be a sort of C+2 City: a mini mall of models, if you will, as a platform to dive off into their own ventures! We already have some well-established businesswomen like Yuffie with Head Kandi, but there are so many more clever ideas brewing among the talent. I’ve thought up ideas I don’t have time to pursue while guiding those with notions to make them into business plans. I have been encouraging one cutie pie in selling her hand customized controllers, another on a clothing lines for gamers, another to do a cosplay craft line, while others in game inspired baked goods for a cook book. C+2 has so many incredibly talented girls and guys. In any case, it is my desire that each model feel the safe environment I started with in ’06, remains a great launching point to try that clever, unique idea whether it is game jewelry, calendars, room décor, costumes, or whatever the dream is. The only limit is imagination and willingness to do what is needed to get to the goal.
As for the Charisma+2 girls, it has been a long road. I cannot adequately express my gratitude for those of you who have been here so long. I have watched you all grow into beautiful models, but even more importantly beautiful people, so gracious, self confident, and loving. You C+2 guys are awesome in every way, always have been. I can always depend on you and am very proud to do so. With these changes, we will still be able to keep some congruency because the site to an outsider will look more or less the same. You will still be able to be hired and chosen individually or as a group by city. I will still negotiate the model deals, but they will be able to update as quickly as they receive new photos, videos, or news to blog. I believe this is an all around win.
C+2 friends and fam, it will likely take a bit of time for the models to get their own profiles updated since they will each have to back up their own info first, but it is now set in motion, so keep checking back… And wait until you see the new plans for the magazine!