The closing of Irene Marie Models in February
was a milestone moment in the steady decline of Miami's modeling industry. Other agencies have since scaled back, and the amount of money the industry has brought to the area has dwindled from about $40 million in 2002 to $12 million last year, reports the Canadian Press
The economic recession is partially to blame, but so are stricter permit requirements in Miami Beach, increased airfare and luggage scrutiny, the decline of magazines, dwindling ad budgets, and higher hotel prices. Basically, at a time when clients have less money to spend, the cost of staging a photo shot on the Beach has climbed.
The direct economic impact is troubling, but moreover it could have a serious affect on the models and bottle culture in South Beach. The modeling agencies rose at the same time South Beach turned into a flashy vacation mecca. The allure of seeing some of the world's most beautiful woman at work was always part of the appeal for winter visitors, not to mention the chance of meeting one out in a nightclub (which still battle for their patronage).
If the models and their agencies keep dwindling, is Miami Beach in for a serious culture shock? I mean, who are they going to fill their VIP rooms with? Normal people? What is this, Fort Lauderdale?