The Ultimate Makeover

Modeling agent Page Parkes never wore mascara in high school. But don't let that fool you.

Some of the other complaints seemed to grow from the fact that some students didn't understand that just because they were accepted into the center (about 75 percent of school applicants are turned away, says Lyngos) that didn't mean that they automatically would be accepted into the agency. And that even if they were accepted, there can never be a guarantee of work.

Soon Page was firing off a letter to the BBB, writing that she promised "our admissions staff will not pressure in any way a student to enroll" and that "the admissions staff will explain in further detail the possibility that you could get an agent and no requests from clients, resulting in no further work."

When Page speaks about this recent obstacle, she looks pained, like she might even start crying just thinking about it. She's always been "the girl in the white hat," she says. She wants people to like her.

Page devotes each Tuesday afternoon to meeting with her models.
Deron Neblett
Page devotes each Tuesday afternoon to meeting with her models.

"I'm not just a successful businessperson. I'm a girl that has earned every single bit of it through my reputation," she says. "I would say the most disappointing part of the way my whole life turned out is I never got to be rich from this industry because I've told the truth. It's a hard business to do well in and tell the truth."

Page and Rachel say they won't expand anywhere else. Twenty years in the modeling business is a long time, and they are certainly young enough to have an enjoyable retirement.

"I told Page at the age of 45 that I wouldn't be doing this anymore, and I'm 45," says Rachel.

As for Page, she's not sure what the immediate future holds. For now, she seems too invested to think of giving it up anytime soon. But she likes to say that she's not what everybody thinks. Just because she's a modeling agent doesn't mean she's lost any of that simple girl she was in high school. And just because she's a modeling agent doesn't mean she's some superficial, thoughtless person.

"I don't put a lot of value on beauty because of what I do," says Page. "This is what I do for a living. This is my job, not my life."

The walls of the Page 713 headquarters are covered with faces of people -- almost all of them beautiful. Everywhere in the building, beautiful people stare down from blown-up covers of magazines and "comp cards," postcards with Page 713 models' faces and measurements printed on them. The comp cards line the walls like birthday cards in a Hallmark store, and the hundreds of sets of eyes seem to follow visitors wherever they go. One sullen-looking Latino's comp card shuns a last name; he goes by "Salvador."

Page's office is no different. But in addition to dozens of pictures of models and friends cluttering her shelves and walls, there are several framed photographs of her husband, Bob Eveleth. Bob, co-founder of the Glamour Shots photography studio chain, met Page at a Christmas party. They've been married for five years.

Seated opposite Page's large glass desk are metal chairs whose backs have been molded into Picasso-like faces. Some people think they're clowns, says Page. Others imagine cats. Page has a large sweeping view of downtown Houston through a glass wall at the far end of her office. In the back corner is a tiny table with a miniature water fountain and a rock that reads, "I have no yesterdays, time took them away. Tomorrow may not be, but I have today."

Page's schedule is a hectic one. She spends Mondays and Tuesdays in Houston, then travels on Wednesdays and Thursdays to either Dallas or Miami. Recently Rachel suggested they had worked long enough and hard enough to take Fridays off. But Page still has to come in anyway to "touch everything," says Rachel. She tries to leave by noon.

Today is Tuesday, and Page has just finished her class with Holly, whom she is taking to lunch along with Myrna. It's pouring rain, and Page wants to go next door to Fire + Ice. It's barely 20 steps away, but Page worries aloud about getting her "nappy" hair wet, so everyone piles into her black Mercedes for the five-second ride to the restaurant. Over lunch, Page chats about her husband and his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. In fact, insists Page, she's learning to ride it with him.

"She's a very down-to-earth, basic kind of girl," says Bob later over the phone. "What you see is what you get."

In addition to riding the Harley, the two also like to go camping in a little pop-up camper with their two dogs on land that they own near Austin.

"People will say, 'Page is going camping?' " says Bob. But she loves it, he says. The cell phones still reach out there sometimes, he admits, but they sound a lot better when they're answered in such beautiful surroundings.

On Tuesday afternoons Page sets aside time to meet with her models. Some of them have been with Page for a few years, and they come in to touch base and firm up career plans. Others recently have been accepted into the agency and are meeting with Page for the first time. Even though she tries to make herself as accessible as possible, Page says, it's not uncommon for people to face a waiting list just to get time with her.

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