Racer X: Kelly, how did you get started?
Kelly Louch: I was sent to South Africa [where her husband, John, is from] on a contract with Mattel Toys to be Barbie there, but when I was pregnant with my first baby – Madison – I started working as a booker. I enjoyed being a booker more than I enjoyed being a model, because whether I was big (meaning “pregnant”) or not, I was still making an income, and I was making a small amount of money from a lot of sources instead of just the bigger chunk of what I was doing. I enjoyed being behind the scenes more, and the stability of it. I worked at the agency for three years and loved it, then came back to America and worked for a really good agency in Orange County for four years, and then branched out on my own when we moved inland from Laguna to Murrieta. I was encouraged by some of my clients that were involved in moto to do that, because I couldn’t get the agency to take extreme sports seriously. And it was frustrating because I had clients that were paying good rates, like Oakley and Racer X, and people like that. I was encouraged to go out on my own, so I did. When I was on maternity leave with Evan, I opened up my agency, and that was six and a half years ago.
How did you come up with the name, The Connection?
The McCassys named me that because they always referred to me as “The Connection” like, “Hey, do you want to get into that club? Call The Connection.” So that became my nickname, and that’s what I chose. It was just a term they used that became my nickname, probably like “The Situation”.
What’s the hardest part?
Being able to handle so many personalities and so many people. I look at John, and he just deals with Davi, and everything has to do with Davi, and one day when he was stressing and wasn’t taking me seriously, I said, “John, you’ve got one Davi, and I’ve got like 30 of them just today.” I’ve got about 300 girls on my books, and a good, core group of about 24 do the bulk of the work, and that’s just the girls. I’m dealing with such a large group all the time, because most weekends I have events in six different states, so every time you see me at an event, there are probably four or five other events where there are models working, do I’m dealing with the girls, and with the clients, all the time.
But that’s why it ultimately works, because you are one person that everyone can go to who manages all this stuff...
Yeah, and I’m always multitasking, so I can’t do just one thing, I have to do a lot of things. I have three kids, though, so it kind of goes with the territory. They’re like, “How do you see what I’m doing behind you right now? How do you know that?” And the girls I work with, it’s the same thing, because I have a lot of good friends in a lot of places, so I tap into that, and I’m also omnipresent (laughs) as far as that goes. That’s why, when I’m at an event, I can always look at things and know what’s going on, like TV angles and things like that. That’s why I think it’s more of a boutique agency, because I don’t just provide the talent, but I also provide the service that goes above and beyond, handling wardrobe, travel, their grooming, and with that comes a lot of things, whether that means dealing with somebody who maybe put on weight, or gotten boobies, or things like that. During Christmas, it’s total boob time. Every year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, I have seven to ten girls who do that. It’s like, “Guess what I did!” I’m like, “You got boobs.” “How’d you know?” “Because this is when everyone does that!”
It’s funny, because you’re talking about them as if you own a pet shop or something. “I have to take care of grooming, make sure they’re presentable to the public...”
Well, they are a bunch of bitches sometimes. (Laughs) People tell John how lucky he is all the time to have all of these models hanging around the house all of the time. Just today, there were a bunch of them here trying on outfits before they flew up to the Olympics, and they’re always here for dinner and things like that, and they say how lucky John is, and he usually says, “Spend a couple weekends with Kelly and you’ll see differently, because the flip side is that usually the more beautiful they are, the more insecure they are, or the more high-maintenance they are, and we’ve had some pretty crazy things go on which, if people could see everything that goes on, my kids probably wouldn’t be able to get a playdate. That’s also why I’ve turned down a couple reality shows, too, because I don’t want anyone to see this madness.
I think I figured out the whole, “The prettier you are, the more insecure you are,” and I think it’s one of those classic “chicken or the egg” scenarios. People see the end result of this beautiful girl and think, “How can she be so insecure?” But I think they’re beautiful purely because they’re insecure! They get one blemish, and they freak out and work on it until it’s gone. That’s why they’re so pretty!
Either that, or people are just blinded by their beauty, so people take more crap from a beautiful girl, and they know it. I reward loyalty and hard workers, and I’m always helping the others to improve, but I don’t reward prima donna behavior or that sort of thing. Models come and go, but clients don’t, so I have a great group of models who I consider close friends as well, and I’d like to think that they do a good job because they don’t want to disappoint, and they want to be paid to be at these amazing events.
How do you determine who goes to which events?
When the girls apply, I have them fill out a form to tell me what sports they enjoy, and what they’re involved in, because I certainly don’t want to send someone to the UFC and find out that they can’t stand violence or something. If someone isn’t a fan of MotoGP, or doesn’t know anything about it anyway, it would be really sad if they ended up as an umbrella girl for Valentino Rossi, when maybe they would prefer to be at NASCAR the entire time.
Do you ever feel like a madam? Because outside of the sex part, that sounds very much like what you do!
(Laughs) Every day!
It’s like, “Are you kidding me? Why do I have a million hot girls running around, and I’m paying them to service clients...” It’s just funny.
It is. It’s a legal form of being a madam, but I do make a very strong point about never saying, “Hey, you should go to this, because there are going to be tons of cute guys there, and you might meet somebody.” I don’t want that whatsoever. That’s something that has gone on in our industry before, where the girls would go looking for a factory ride – literally – and I don’t want that. Riders do tend to date models, though, so I can’t prevent it all the time, but I certainly discourage it.
It could be a match made in heaven, because top riders sometimes can be just like hot chicks. And it’s not a bad thing, but ultimately, top riders need to be worried about themselves all the time, and their life sort of revolves around them and their racing, and that’s how hot chicks are a lot of the time, too. Then again, two people like that together... Maybe that’s not so good in the long run.
Definitely. John and I are definitely very much in the same boat, dealing with people who are used to being hand-held who have insecurities and egos... One time, [Stephen] Astephan [an agent at WMG] were talking about this, and he pointed out that it’s kind of the same thing, except that his contracts just had several more zeroes at the end of them.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
Well, I’d definitely like to expand the “stable” as my mom calls it...
Oh god! No. (Laughs) I’ve got some exciting things coming up for the summer, so I’d definitely like to get some new faces involved, so any girls who are 5’7” (minimum, without shoes), the ideal age being between 19 and 24, and who are willing to travel and in all markets, you’d be surprised what I’ve gotten lined up. So please email me at Kelly@theconnectioncg.com if you’re interested and you think you’re capable of doing this.