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World’s best Asian mom
Singaporean actress Tan Kheng Hua, who played Rachel’s (Constance Wu) mother in Crazy Rich Asians, has signed with Beverly Hills-based GVA Talent Agency and Los Angeles-based Zero Gravity Management. A veteran of Singaporean stage and screen, the award-winning actress earned a bachelor of science degree from Indiana University before embarking on a career in her home country. Before her beloved role in Hollywood’s most successful romantic comedy of the decade, she was first seen by international audiences as a very different type of matriarch, the Empress Dowager in Netflix’s Marco Polo. Tan is now producing a satirical stage show in Singapore, and recently filmed HBO Asia’s adaptation of Tan Twan Eng’s The Garden of Evening Mists and U.K. Channel 4’s adaptation of Lucy Kirkwood’s Chimerica.
The name is because the content is “bite-sized,” get it?
Digital publishing company Tapas Media has signed with APA. The San Francisco-based company was founded in 2012 and has more than 2 million active monthly readers of the 50,000-plus micro-comics and novels in its library. In March it partnered with Little, Brown Books for Young Readers to co-publish Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, a graphic novel inspired by Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. In the past year Tapas has struck exclusive licensing deals with major Asian platforms including Tencent, Kakao and U17.com, as well as publishers including Hachette Book Group and Penguin Random House. Most recently, it partnered with Red Kraken to develop its first mobile puzzle game, and struck an exclusive deal to publish Love in Time, a digital comic from Maze Runner star Ki Hong Lee, Crush the Skull writer/actor Chris Dinh and James Chen. Tapas continues to be managed by THE|MACHINE.
“We are excited to sign with APA, a formidable and iconic force in the entertainment community,” Tapas founder and CEO Chang Kim said in a statement. “This is yet another important milestone for Tapas as we look to expand and build new opportunities for our community of storytellers and some of the most top-performing content and IP on our platform.”
Added Editor-in-Chief Michael Son in a statement, “We’ve been strategically and methodically building out our abilities in the original content space with our creator community in mind; adding APA to our representation team alongside our management team at THE|MACHINE affords us the ability to pursue even more exciting and ambitious projects, as well as brings new opportunities to our creator community.”
United Entertainment Group has hired Michael Nuzzo as senior vp and executive creative director. The 18-year veteran spent the last seven years at digital marketing agency 360i, where he led the Oreo team’s Super Bowl Dunk in the Dark moment and also masterminded projects including HBO’s “Roast Joffrey” and “Catch Drogon,” A&E’s Reading for Roots and Toyota’s Muppet-fueled Super Bowl program. He also previously worked at Razorfish and Modem & Draft.
“UEG is home to industry experts who drive the cultural zeitgeist, and Michael is no exception,” founder and CEO Jarrod Moses said in a statement. “Michael has been working on the frontlines of brand creativity for almost two decades, and we are excited to have him at the helm of our creative team, responsible for helping clients create cultural gravitas and business impact.”
Said Nuzzo in a statement, “Throughout my career, I have been lucky to have many opportunities to bring stories to life for brands that are shaping the future of their industries —and ours. I’m excited to be joining the UEG team, where together we’ll continue to grow our creative team and bring to life the best work for our brands.”
Finance and entertainment company Los Angeles Media Fund has teamed with sports agents Daniel Poneman, EJ Kusnyer and Jelani Floyd and industry veteran Mike Naiditch to form Beyond Athlete Management.
The Los Angeles-based sports agency, which also has offices in Chicago and Houston, launches with 20 basketball clients, including the Detroit Pistons’ Glenn Robinson, the Indiana Pacers’ Ben Moore and the Golden State Warriors’ Alfonzo McKinnie, in addition to Denver Broncos rookie wideout Courtland Sutton.
The company came together after LAMF heads Jeffrey Soros and Simon Horsman produced Poneman’s basketball documentary Shot in the Dark. “Through this process we came to know a person who not only lives and breathes sports, particularly basketball, but who cares deeply about the well-being of his clients,” Soros and Horsman said in a joint statement. “When we met Daniel’s partners, EJ, Jelani and Mike, it became an easy decision for us to get behind such an impressive team of professionals. With the convergence of sports and other forms of entertainment over the last decade, we also see an exciting opportunity for us to be an incubator for our clients’ ambitions beyond sports. We are already preparing for a rapid expansion of Beyond.”
“Beyond is here to disrupt the standard of athlete management,” Poneman, Kusnyer, Floyd and Naiditch said in a joint statement. “We not only want our clients to get the best deals, but to have fulfilling lives during and after their athletic careers. We encourage our clients to be empowered by their windows of opportunity, capitalizing on their platform to better themselves and others. Together with Jeffrey and Simon we will offer fresh opportunities for our clients by leveraging LAMF’s existing platforms and relationships in music, film and television production. We are committed to living up to our promise of being ‘agents for good’ in the industry, helping our athletes uplift their communities in meaningful ways. We are an agency built in 2018, designed with the modern athlete in mind.”
Representation in both meanings of the word
Melrose Placed, a management company that specializes in marginalized and inspirational talent, has signed yoga instructor and body positivity advocate Jessamyn Stanley.
Melrose Placed was formed by former CESD agent Sami Housman earlier this year, and also represents deaf model, actor and advocate Nyle DiMarco. Housman has worked with the America’s Next Top Model and Dancing With the Stars winner for three years, helping him foster relationships with groups from Apple to the United Nations.
Stanley has a social media following of 500,000 and is the author of Every Body Yoga. She has worked with brands including Kotex, Amazon, ThirdLove and ESPN and advocates for body positivity, female empowerment and black and LGBTQ inclusion.
Women know tech
Metro Public Relations has hired Dana Block as senior vp digital entertainment and consumer technology. Block’s decade-plus of experience includes advising companies including Wattpad, Tongal, Hulu, Dick Clark Productions, Mitu, Jukin Media, NextVR, Pioneer Electronics and National Geographic, while she also sits on the board of Tubefilter and the Streamy Blue Ribbon panel. She previously served as vp digital entertainment at Allison + Partners and prior to that was at MPRM Public Relations.
“Dana brings a very rare, deep understanding of this space and invaluable insight into digital media and technology,” Metro president and COO Laura Michael said in a statement. “We are lucky to have her on our team to help lead Metro’s expansion into the fluid evolution of what a PR and marketing company can offer its clients. She will have a pivotal role in helping us continue successful work with companies that change the way people consume, create and connect.”
“From the beginning, Metro PR understood the changing dynamics between entertainment companies, consumers and brands,” Block said in a statement. “The agency has propelled the digital-first movement and I’m thrilled to be joining a female-led team of creative storytellers whose mission is to drive strategy and business results for an impressive portfolio of game-changing clients. With our combined passion and expertise, we can continue to grow and diversify our offerings for innovative clients moving their respective industries forward.”
Others on the dotted line
APA also has signed actress, writer and comedian Candice Guardino, who is currently touring her theatrical comedy show Italian Bred. She continues to be represented by Chris DiPetta of AMI Management.
Metro PR also has hired Emily Hessel as a senior publicist on the talent team. Hessel was at True Public Relations for 11 years, rising from receptionist to eventually senior publicist.
Bicoastal celebrity and influencer agency SHO+CO has promoted vp Chelsa Yin to partner and chief strategy officer. Yin joined the company in 2013 from leadership stints at Sunshine Sachs and Starworks Group. SHO+CO was founded in 2011 and represents more than 25 brands, including Stuart Weitzman, Kate Spade New York, Mulberry, J Brand, Victoria Beckham, the CFDA, Shiseido and Swarovski. “Chelsa has been an essential ingredient in the growth of SHO+CO year after year,” co-founder Sharon Ainsberg said in a statement. “She has an exceptional record of forecasting talent trajectories as well as building meaningful and innovative brand-talent partnerships.”
Elsewhere in Rep World:
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