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Catfight erupts between rival modelling agencies, Next and Ford


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I thought it was an interesting read:

NEXT Management has its claws out for the Ford Modelling Agency, accusing the rival agency in a lawsuit of illegally poaching three of its immigrant models

The New York Post said both agencies represent supermodels across the world. Ford Modelling Agency was established in 1946 and clients have included Bar Refaeli, Chanel Iman and Elle MacPherson.

Next Model Management boasts that it's one of the largest model networks in the world with clients that include Petra Nemcova, Miranda Kerr and Emma Heming.

"Ford, which is no longer owned by the Ford family, has been taken over by Russian nationals who totally ignore the American legal system and rule of law" with their "campaign to raid Next's businesses", the modelling superpower charged in papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Next's indignation is somewhat surprising. Ford has sued the agency three times in recent years for stealing several of their models, including up-and-comer Kendra Spears.

Spears "is an all-American beauty who many have described as 'the next Cindy Crawford'," and "one of the most important young models to emerge on the fashion scene in years," said the Ford suit, which was still pending.

Next, however, maintained that Ford crossed the line by snatching their models, Polish pretties Anna Aleksandra Cywinska and Anna Marie Jagodzinska and exotic Estonian Karmen Pedaru.

The suit said Next president Joel Wilkenfeld had personally petitioned the INS to allow the three to work in the US, and that all three were under contract with the company.

The suit also named former Next booker Agneiszka Ponarski, who it said ignored the six-month non-compete clause in her contract and started working for Ford while she "was still operating out of Next's offices".

It was Ponarski who orchestrated the models' defection along with Ford general counsel Doreen Small, who "as an attorney ... knew this behavior was illegal and inappropriate and nevertheless induced and arranged for the model defendants to breach their contracts with Next".

Ms Small was named as a defendant in the case as well, with Next seeking unspecified punitive damages from her.

Other defendants include the models' "mother-agents" in Europe, who "in a new height of gall, knowing as the mother agents they were going to move their models Jagodzinska, Cywinska and Pedaru, from Next to Ford, requested and received from Next an advance on mother-agent commissions" this past February.

The suit said Ford's conduct had caused Next "great financial harm". It seeks unspecified money damages, including the models' commissions, and for Ford to "cease and desist acting illegally and improperly by enticing and luring models under written contract and being represented by Next to switch to Ford".

A rep for Ford declined to comment.

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