HOLE IN TWO: Playboy magazine has yet to stage a photo shoot in Gina Hole’s Sugar Studios. But, indirectly, that’s how the state-of-the-art 3,400-square-foot facility got its name. Longtime fashion-and-film makeup artist Hole remains pals with fellow West Van high grad Kimberley Conrad, the 1989 Playmate of the Year who later married Playboy founder-publisher Hugh Hefner. “And Kim texted me around the clock with possible names,” said Hole, who wanted one to match New York super-studio Milk and the Smashbox facilities in that city and Los Angeles.
Nor did she want just a name. “I always knew Vancouver needed a high-end studio for celebrity shoots and suchlike,” said Hole, who left the L.A.-based Celestine Agency in 2002 and, two years later, founded They Representation Inc. here to handle stylists, photographers and other fashion-biz professionals. Still, “In Vancouver, we were always working at the C and B level, and I wanted to move it to the A level I was accustomed to in L.A.”
The opportunity came in 2009, when Larco-owned Maple Leaf Property Management developed a Powell-off-Woodland property. Hole leased a 3,400-square-foot module with an at-grade loading bay and 30-foot trussed ceilings that can accommodate large-set lighting.
After designing and installing $150,000-worth of improvements, Hole opened in February. “Right off, there was more business than I ever expected,” she said, meaning clients like Fox Television, Interview magazine and the Kensie, Mac & Jac and Roots Canada clothing concerns. International photographers like Geoff Barrenger and Mark Segal shot in the 2,000-squarefoot main studio that rents for $800 daily. Others, like her own agency’s Dexter Quinto, flew back from global gigs to take assignments here. Many brought extensive lighting kits, and ended up shooting solely under the natural light that floods Sugar’s $500-per-day, 900-square-foot secondary studio.
Many know Hole’s restaurateur-father Ken. He and lawyer Walley Lightbody founded the original Cellar jazz club, with wife Christine Hole as resident “pizza queen.” As for that West Van High grad class, it included now-stellar artist Graham Gilmore, filmmaker Tony Pantages, fellow photo agent Nancy Grant, Blo Blow Dry Bar founder Judy Brooks, and Hole’s future (and now former) husband Bill Sheppard, who owns the dbc Sound post-production firm. She’s presently wed to moviebiz special-effects coordinator ( Rise of the Apes) Tony Lazarowich.
Despite Sugar Studios’ and They’s international reach, Hole seldom travels to promote them. “I was waiting to buy bread at Cobs bakery recently,” the Deep Cove resident said, “and made a deal on my BlackBerry to sell some Dexter Quinto photographs of [Smithers-born actress] Gina Holden to European NBC’s Syfy Channel. You’ve gotta love technology.”