Hollywood Success Story Has Local Roots

He’s probably one of the most successful male stars in Hollywood right now, and he got his start right here in the Tampa Bay area. The 32-year-old actor has been featured in comedies, such as “21 Jump Street” and “She’s the Man,” romances, like “The Vow” and “Dear John,” and action-adventures, such as “G.I. Joe” and “The Eagle.”

Channing Tatum was discovered by Model Placement Center Manager and Talent Scout Dianne Paulson just a decade ago.

Paulson and a group of models from the center were attending a fashion show at a high -end nightclub in Ybor City. The models were practicing onstage when a young man with blonde hair approached the stage and began showing off his runway skills. He caught Dianne’s eye, so she asked the club owner about this mysterious young man. Hey, he’s kind of cute, Dianne thought.

“Who is that guy,” Dianne questioned the club owner as she motioned toward the young man.

“He comes here all the time,” the club owner said. “And he likes to practice onstage.”

Dianne signaled the young man over to her and struck up a conversation. She asked him what he wanted to do.

“Modeling or acting…or both,” Channing replied. Dianne was so impressed with his look that she gave him her card and said that she will see what she can do for him.

Ten years later, Channing is a bona fide star and was named People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” for 2012.

“He’s worked hard for it,” Dianne said. Dianne knows how the business works from both sides of the runway. Dianne has been involved with the entertainment industry for 20 years. She was a former model with Elite Model Management, and then did makeup for the stars for years after that. She became the manager of the Model Placement Center in Safety Harbor 11 years ago.

Every now and again, Channing will send his regards to the center even though he’s a busy star. Dianne said he usually sends his salutations for the holidays, like when he wished her a Happy Thanksgiving last year.

The Model Placement Center has other success stories for its young, talented models and actors. Logan Minutolo started as a baby and has established himself as a popular T.V. commercial actor and print advertisement model at just four years old.

Justin Davis started at 8 years old and has been featured in photo shoots all over the world. He is now 11 and has a contract with Wilhelmina Models in New York. Dianne joked that Justin got into the business simply because he wanted to buy an iPhone. Now, she continued, he can retire.

Mary Jo Wold has a contract with Model Management Group in New York and has been featured in the reality T.V. show “I Know My Kid’s a Star” with host Danny Bonaduce. She has successfully landed other T.V. roles in “Cashmere Mafia” and “Babylon Fields.”

To learn more about the Model Placement Center at 126 3rd Ave. N. in Safety Harbor or if you’re interested in applying to be a model, visit the website at www.mpcmodels.com or call 727-791-7764.

By Rachael Sena