BY Brandon Voss
January 15 2010 7:50 AM ET
The fashion industry elite knows Sean Patterson best as the president of Wilhelmina Models, one of the largest, most successful model and talent management agencies in the world. Reality television fans may know him better from VH1’s The Agency, TV Land’s She’s Got the Look, and guest appearances on America’s Next Top Model. But Advocate readers also know him as the lucky guy Fergie recently fingered as her “gay BFF.” Joining a panel of judges that includes Candy Spelling, poker pro Vanessa Rousso, and Melody Thornton from the Pussycat Dolls, Patterson now gives away cash to the most deserving dreamers on Bank of Hollywood, a new game show from executive producer Ryan Seacrest, which airs Mondays on E! Patterson speaks exclusively to Advocate.com about his high-profile pals, his Andy Cohen-ish self-promotion, and his recent decisions to deny funds to LGBT hopefuls.
Advocate.com: What makes you qualified to be on the Bank of Hollywood judging panel?
Sean Patterson: When Ryan Seacrest and the other producers offered me a spot on the panel, they were looking for someone to be a grim dose of reality that only an agent can deliver. They wanted me to be the guy who says, “Look, it’s all nice and flowery what you’re saying right now, but this is the way life really works.” As an agent, people are constantly pitching me things, and we’re also pitching our talent to clients, so I can smell when something’s fishy. Basically, I was there to make sure nobody ripped us off.
In the first episode you chose not to give a drag queen, Latrice Royale, the money to compete in the 2010 Miss Gay USA at Large pageant. Even so, I was happy that there was at least one gay person up there weighing in on the decision.
Before I worked at Wilhelmina, when I was at NYU, I was a club promoter. And now I work in a very gay industry, so I have lots of friends who have had the same uphill battles and who have gone through the same sort of discrimination that Latrice has gone through. So that was a very complex decision for me, because as much as I wanted to make a statement by helping somebody who was an amazing gay performer, there was some baggage that came along with Latrice — she’d gone to jail and had some other things in her past that I thought were a little questionable. We had the ability to do so much good with the money, but it wasn’t infinite, so we had to be careful to only give it away to the most deserving people.
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