‘Remodeled’s’ Paul Fisher: I Want to Create Role Models, Not Just Models

Paul Fisher Remodeled
Scott Alan Humbert/The CW

Modeling agent Paul Fisher has a reputation as a bit of a hothead, often screaming at small-town agency staffers and up-and-coming stars on his CW show, Remodeled. But the businessman insists his actions are all born out of love.

“We’re creating role models, not just models,” he tells PEOPLE. “I think that it’s one of the hardest businesses in the world for young kids to be involved in.” And though his show, which he calls a “docu-series,” is all about finding the next hot catwalker, Fisher says he often tries to discourage young kids from getting into the industry in the first place. “I don’t think any kid should model, with one exception: if the kid can kill it,” he explains.

On Remodeled, Fisher — formerly an agent to Naomi Campbell and Stephanie Seymour — visits agencies in towns across the country and whips them into shape, then helps them take a local kid and turn him or her into a pro … all in a matter of weeks. “I try to make an agency in a small town like Rapid City look and feel like a New York City agency,” he explains.

But he’s careful in his approach; Fisher himself keeps drug counselors, healthcare providers, body image experts and parenting experts on his payroll, and sets serious standards for the young adults he represents. “I think that our industry is putting out the most disgusting images into the world, and kids are looking at these images, thinking they themselves are not pretty,” he says. “Our industry has to take responsibility for the images we’re putting out there.”

To that end, he credits designers like Diane von Furstenberg and Donna Karan with encouraging models to stay healthy (and in some cases, not walk the runways until they hit 16). “They care about the kids, the kinds of images that their campaigns are putting out there,” he says.

And he hopes that some of the fashion industry’s up-and-comers — young beauties like Arizona Muse, Karlie Kloss and Lara Stone — take their jobs as role models to heart. “Some of these ladies are giving back in a strong way,” he shares. “But I have nieces who look up to some of these models. I want them to have a healthy perception of what beautiful means.” Catch the season finale of Remodeled tonight, Wednesday Feb. 21, at 9 p.m. ET.

–Kate Hogan