Saskatchewan’s Edge Agency Turns 25
Lisa Marie Schwartz often gets asked by international modelling and acting agencies about where Saskatchewan’s local talent comes from. “People will ask, ‘Saskatchewan? Where do you find them?’ and we always joke and say we just pick them out of the wheat sheaves in the field. Really though, it’s a testament to how people from Saskatchewan have a down to earth approach and the local talent that’s here.”
Lisa Marie and her husband, Gregg, are the owners of Edge Agency, which represents Saskatchewan actors and models on a local, national and international level. Now celebrating 25 years, Edge Agency represents more than 200 models and actors of all ages and backgrounds and has grown to be a globally-recognized company.
Initially a model herself, Lisa Marie worked overseas for years. At the time, Saskatchewan had modelling schools and learning opportunities, but not a management agency. Once she met Gregg and knew she wanted to stay in Saskatchewan, she saw the opportunity for something more in the province.
“When we started in 1994, I had connections overseas in the industry, and so right from the beginning I started promoting models overseas, which really opened the map for local talent to be able to move ahead,” Lisa Marie adds.
Edge’s mission is to match local models and actors of all experience levels with work in the industry. Initially this meant mainly print work in posters, billboards or newspaper advertisements, and today the scope of their work includes everything from local advertising agencies and film opportunities, to contracts in major centres like Toronto, New York, Europe and Asia. “I think it’s helped to change the landscape a bit because agencies abroad now know we exist and know that Saskatchewan is a playing industry in the market for new faces.”
A source of pride is that many of their models and actors are what Lisa Marie calls “lifers,” meaning they’ve been with Edge for years. “We have people who are still with us from when we started 25 years ago, and now we represent their children. We keep that close to our hearts and we feel that we are more like a family. We have people who have gone on to be directors, photographers, makeup artists, agents — it’s really humbling to see how it’s a full circle.”
Some of the best moments over the past 25 years have included seeing their models and actors succeed. Highlights have included when a model from Moose Jaw landed the cover of Italian Vogue, and when an Indigenous actor from Regina was cast in a mini-series directed by Steven Spielberg.
Lisa Marie still gets excited every time someone lands a job or contract and loves being able to share that news. “I’m always so proud and excited to tell models or actors the news that they were chosen. That’s the biggest high for me, because it’s such a great achievement and I know what it’s like for them, because I’ve been there.”
When asked about what she attributes to Edge’s success, Lisa Marie emphasizes that it’s a two-way street. “I truly believe it’s 50/50, based on the hard work Gregg and I put in, and the dedication that every model and actor we work with puts in. It's clients, photographers, casting agents, everyone who has believed in us and booked our talent. Whether it’s on a smaller or larger scale, everybody always comes back and says, ‘We love working with your people.’ I think that’s a testament to the quality of the people we choose to represent and the talent that Saskatchewan has.”
Photos courtesy Edge Agency