Who's that on stage? The Oscar babes

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LOS ANGELES — They’ve held more Oscars than Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson combined, but they never give a speech or take the golden guy home. They aren’t nominees, they’re trophy presenters. The statuesque beauties who accompany Oscar and his winners on and off stage are actually models for hire.

These trophy handlers enjoy a privileged perspective on the Academy Awards, watching from a backstage seat when they aren’t facing the star-studded crowd. The show’s global exposure, plus its audience full of Hollywood heavyweights, make working as a trophy girl the modeling gig of a lifetime.

‘‘It’s one of the coolest jobs I ever had,’’ said Danielle Yu, 22, who presented Oscars at last year’s Academy Awards. ‘‘It was such a surreal experience.’’

Seeing Nicholson and Nicole Kidman up close was a pinch-me moment for Yu, a fashion-design student who brought her books to rehearsals and studied during down time.

Carol Scott, vice president of CESD talent agency, has been helping find Oscar’s trophy models for decades.

She usually gets a request for models’ photos from Academy Awards director Lou Horvitz about six weeks before the show. Horvitz finds his models from the dozens of pictures she sends.

One year, he even found a wife.

‘‘I said, very jokingly, I’ll send you one you’ll marry,’’ Scott said, recalling a telephone conversation with the veteran director 12 years ago.

Scott sent Steffanee Leaming, whom Horvitz hired and later married.

‘‘They always send a Christmas card every year,’’ Scott said with a smile.

Trophy models typically change from show to show, but some are repeat presenters. Renee Gentry carried Oscars at five Academy Awards ceremonies in the late 1990s.

‘‘It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,’’ she said. ‘‘I’ve met everyone I ever wanted to meet.’’

Gentry went on to present trophies at the Emmys, Golden Globes, People’s Choice Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, BET Awards and NAACP Image Awards. She now works as a stand-in during rehearsals for the Academy Awards.

‘‘The Oscars led to it all,’’ she said.


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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on February 21, 2007 3:36 PM.

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