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World Modeling Closes Today

SHERMAN OAKS – World Modeling Talent Agency, a stalwart of the adult-film industry, will close its doors this week, owner Jim South [pictured] confirmed Monday.

Approaching his 31st year in the business, South said he’d become burned out by the daily grind and needed some time off. He’s placed the company up for sale and will cease daily operations Wednesday, though he said he’d keep his phone line active as he ponders his future.

“I’ve been working since I was 13 and I’m kind of a workaholic, so I don’t know how long I could be gone,” he said.

South built a reputation as an honest agent willing to give young actors their start in an often murky industry. Working with his son, Jim Jr., he managed more than 150 clients and served as an entry point to a business that operates largely out of the mainstream.

Tom Hymes, publisher of the industry trade magazine XBiz, which first broke the news of the closure, said World Modeling had an unparalleled business reputation. As a journalist with a long tenure covering the industry, he said that though he discouraged would-be performers from going into adult entertainment, he referred them to World Modeling if they insisted.

Hymes said. “In this business, if you’re not taking care of people, there’s so many ways for the word to get out. They actually cared to take care of people in an industry where there’s a lot of risk.”

Though many of the performers on South’s talent list have representation by multiple agencies, Chelsea Zinn, a Northridge-based actress, said he’d be missed. She described him as a visionary who’d never let greed corrupt his business practices and called him a rare, trustworthy operator.

“There’s a lot of bottom feeders in this business, but I never felt that way about Jim,” Zinn said. “He’d send me on things where I felt like I was too old, but he’d always say, `C’mon, baby, you can act.’ If you treated him right, he’d do right by you. They really broke the mold when they made Jim.”

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