Today I found out that Tanya Blair had passed away. The first thing that struck me was the fact that it had happened 11 days ago and I was just now hearing about it. I mean, Tanya was a big deal back in the day! She had contributed so much to the Dallas fashion and modeling market! How could nobody know?
Tanya launched many successful modeling careers as well as friendships. Without fail, every time a model walked into her agency and there was already another model there, Tanya would ask “have you two met? Why don’t you introduce yourselves?”. Then she would just sit back with a little smile on her face and watch and listen to the entire (a lot of times awkward) exchange. Earlier today I was reflecting on, because of Tanya, how many friends I made who are still very close and important people in my life, many of them whom I introduced myself to per her firm encouragement. There are too many to list all of them but I will say that my bridesmaids (one of whom is now my business partner) and my husband (introduced to me by another one of my bridesmaids) are included on the list.
Tanya was also known for some of her very unique characteristics. Here are some of the ones I remember the most:
She always wore a headband.
Even though she was already nearly 6 feet tall she liked to wear 3-4 inch black patent pumps.
She knew her super long Cadillac was always fully in the parking spot when the front bumper bumped the brick wall.
If you came in to the agency after 6:00pm you were always offered a beer.
Tanya was very fond of saying “one never knows”. I never really knew what she was getting at when she threw that out although I still use that line today.
She would always have a tear or two roll down her cheek when she was talking about something happy.
If two models were in the agency hanging around she would make up some scene (as if she was a director) and then put the models on the spot and make them act it out, in front of everyone. Maybe that was her sneaky way of discouraging lingering in the agency.
If you ever saw her face turning from pink to red you knew it was not good.
In the mid 90s, after nearly 25 years in business, Tanya shut down her agency. There were some people who parted ways with her on bad terms and some people who did not. I wish I had been one of the people in the latter group. She had repped me as a model beginning in the mid 80s and then when I stopped traveling and decided to permanently live in Dallas she gave me an opportunity to work in her agency. At first it was just to answer phones but once when she saw the way I handled an overly aggressive telemarketer she thought I could be a good booker. I guess I could say I do what I do today in huge part because of her. I never got to properly thank her. I wish I could now. "One never knows."