Wilhelmina Sues Three Models Over Defection to Women Management's Sister Company

Ronald Epps_Janis Ancens_Split - Getty - H 2019
John Lamparski/WireImage; Kirstin Sinclair/Getty Images

The management group filed complaints this week claiming three models were tapped by a sister company of Women Management, which on Tuesday accused another agency of poaching in a lawsuit.

The model wars continue.

On Tuesday, Men Women N.Y. Model Management sued several of its former employees and a competitor, Elite Model Management, for breach of contract. Elite allegedly launched a “conspiracy designed to destroy" Women Management by poaching 16 managers and 55 models, including Behati Prinsloo Levine (Adam Levine’s wife), and costing the agency $22 million. 

It turns out that at the same time, on Monday and Tuesday, another competitor, Wilhelmina Models Inc., filed complaints against three male models for breach of contract for leaving Wilhelmina and moving to The Society Management, a division of the parent company of Women Management. (Their parent company is Elite World, no affiliation with Elite Model Management.)

While Elite World CEO Julia Haart claimed that Elite Model Management’s "unlawful conspiracy … jeopardizes our business,” her Society branch is also facing similar accusations.

The three models that allegedly left Wilhelmina for The Society — Janis Ancens, Reid Prebenda and Ronald Epps — are accused of violating contracts that tied them to the agency until at least January, July and December 2020, respectively.

Epps told Wilhelmina around Aug. 1 that he was seeking representation elsewhere despite the contract, according to court papers. Prebenda told Wilhelmina around July 29 he had "signed elsewhere," and his Models.com profile indicates he is repped by The Society. Around July 22, Ancens told the company he “does not want to continue with Wilhelmina anymore" and his Models.com profile has been updated as well.

"Wilhelmina takes its contractual obligations seriously and will defend aggressively," a company spokesperson said to The Hollywood Reporter. "The Society Management is publicly promoting Wilhelmina talent as their own. It is a clear case of breach of contract and solicitation and in violation of a court order."

THR has reached out to The Society for comment.