EC Direct Models will consist of a mix of performers who live in the region as well as some West Coast-based talent that will travel to Florida for extended work trips.
“It had been in my mind for a couple of years because obviously the Florida market share of the industry as a whole has been increasing for several years. It’s hard to know exactly what that is, but if once it was 10 percent, then probably now it’s 20 percent,” Hay told XBIZ.
The London native Hay, who founded Direct Models 10 years ago, teamed up with veteran agent Joe Max to launch EC Direct. Max has run Blue Max Models out of New York for the past seven years and will be the point man in Miami.
“He and I had been talking about doing sort of a joint venture for several years," Hay said. "And when Joe was here in July — I invited him to work in LA Direct’s office for two weeks as a boot camp, which is not easy — he passed with flying colors. After that I said now we’re serious about getting this started."
Max said he has been doing steady business with Hay for more than six years, sending various models to both coasts, including dozens to the South Florida area.
“We’ve been talking a lot about it, that we really should have an office down there because we could probably do a lot more work, so we kind of put our heads together,” Max said. “Then it became a logistical thing about who’s going to be there and who’s going to run it and who are we comfortable with handling things there. And we decided that it had to be either him or I."
The Miami division has its own website at ECDirectModels.com, and the office is located at 1210 Washington Ave. in Miami Beach, 33137.
“We are deliberately located in South Beach because we just wanted to be in the heart of Miami,” Hay said. “That’s really where all the girls are and where all the fun is.”
Max added, “We’re in a phenomenal location at Washington and 12th, exactly right in the middle of South Beach. … The beach is a block away.”
EC Direct Models enjoyed a busy opening week Sept. 22-29 with L.A.-based Brooklyn Lee and Alexa Nicole joining New York-based Rayna Lee in South Florida, where each of the girls performed in five different productions. The girls also hosted a party at Automatic Slims in Miami Beach.
On Oct. 23, EC Direct Models will celebrate its grand opening with a party at Pangaea nightclub at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla., where popular L.A. performer Alanah Rae will host the festivities. Meanwhile, L.A.-based Amy Brooke, Lylith Lavey and Jenna Presley will join Rae in South Beach starting on Oct. 20.
“We found that the Florida producers loved having our girls there,” Hay said. “A significant portion of the talent in Florida is relatively amateur in comparison to L.A. They’re constantly finding new girls.”
The owner explained that it actually was LA Direct Models’ presence earlier this year at the Exxxotica Expo in Miami that helped him finalize his decision to expand.
“We have a great relationship with that show and now we’re exhibiting at all their shows,” Hay continued. “We exhibited in L.A. in July and we’ll be exhibiting in N.Y. in November. When we were there in May for Miami, quite a number of South Florida producers came up to our booth and sort of said, ‘It would be great if you had a presence down here. We could really make use of the service that LA Direct provides in our market. There’s a real need here.’”
He added, “It’s just a modest beginning, but we’re pleased to have the opportunity to have a footprint down there."