Friday, February 10, 2012

Dark Side of The Beauty Business

Grant Dwyer with Jennifer Hawkins (centre)
GRANT DWYER is well spoken young entrepreneur who often does business the old gentlemanly way-on a handshake.

Running a medium sized model and promotional agency from chic premises in Double Bay, he has had countless successes. Dwyer has a unique eye for spotting talent amongst the dozens of young aspiring models who walk through his door.

Jamie Foxx
In just the past few years, many of the careers launched by Dwyer have become household  names.

Model Ashlea Talbot,  teenage water skiing champion Lauryn Eagle, Celebrity Apprentice winner Jesinta Campbell, TV presenter Rachael Finch and the most successful Miss Universe ever Jennifer Hawkins.

Donald Trump's Miss Universe contest was languishing in the doldrums until Dwyer spotted the young Newcastle demonstration model Hawkins and persuaded her to enter the quest. A panel of judges that included fashion photographers, journalists and the Oscar winning actor Jamie Foxx all concurred with Dwyer's choice and sent Hawkins off to the 2004 quest in Ecuador.    

Lauryn Eagle
When Hawkins took the Miss Universe crown the contest became a major media event that astonished even the jaded Trump who couldn't believe his luck. Dwyer organised a home coming tour that would have been the envy of any chart topping pop group. Hundreds of fans rushed Hawkins. TV and newspaper cameras followed her every move over a two week tour of Australia culminating in the famous fashion slip in Sydney that catapulted Hawkins back onto front pages and TV screens around the world .

Rachael Finch
Now a legal stoush has broken out over one of Dwyer's top discoveries Rachael Finch

On Wednesday in the Downing Street Local Court Finch's current manager Deborah Miller was ordered to pay Dwyer $9406 after  Dwyer said he brokered a deal for Finch to appear as a celebrity ambassador for the McHappy Day fundraiser, which raises money for Ronald McDonald House Charities, after learning the beauty once worked for the fast food chain.

The rewards enjoyed by Dwyer's discoveries can be considerable. Even though Finch only came fourth in the 2009 Miss Universe contest in the Bahamas, Dwyer was already negotiating deals before she had returned to Sydney including a $45,000 make-up deal and a Disney promotion for $36,000.

As for Jennifer Hawkins, as the face of Myer department stores and with her own range of swimwear, Hawkins is estimated to earn up to $5M a year.