Essentials of a Fitness & Lifestyle Talent
"I definitely grew up with a little bit of a tom boy side..." said Karen Osborn, Director of Booking for Sports + Lifestyle Unlimited - Los Angeles. Osborn was a 3-sport athlete in high school playing volleyball, basketball and softball and was named Female Athlete of the year as a senior at Westside Christian High School in Portland, Oregon. She was set to play college basketball her freshman year until injuries in pre-season derailed her career. "Fortunately, I also had a little bit of a girly side and a love for the entertainment industry." After attending cosmetology school in Portland and securing her license, she moved to LA, knowing that LA was the entertainment capital of the world. After a short stint as a makeup artist for various movies, TV and commercial sets, she attended the UCLA extension credit program in broadcast journalism. She landed a freelance job with Aaron Spelling Television's Sunset Beach, in the business affairs department where she was involved in the contract negotiating process and later served as a Jr. Publicist. Osborn then worked freelance with various publicity firms and with ABC Disney and USA Networks in business affairs focusing on contract negotiations.
After 9/11, Osborn returned to Portland to be closer to her family in January 2002. She was introduced to Sports + Lifestyle Unlimited as a talent. "Molly Weiss was my agent and got me several bookings including a Nike running campaign. At the same time I was also producing and hosting a local sports show." Osborn was later brought on to be part of the Sports + Lifestyle Unlimited team as a booking agent. It wasn't long after that, the wheels were in motion for a return to Southern California. The Los Angeles office was launched in 2007 with Osborn charged with managing the LA market. "Our bookings are very diverse - we do a little bit of everything across both the sports and lifestyle segments, ranging from traditional print and commercial bookings to fulfilling film and TV requests like providing talent for American Gladiators. We represent Monica Carlson, who is one of the nation's top sports & lifestyle models. The NBC show's producers were looking for real athletes with personality and on camera appeal. Monica and a few others were chosen as contenders. Monica ended up winning Season 1, and in Season 2, she was hired as the Gladiator "Jet". We now also represent former professional dancer, Tenley Molzahn, a fan favorite and America's Sweetheart from ABC's hit shows The Bachelor and Bachelor Pad."
In 2008, Osborn pitched a USO tour and accompanied three American Gladiators - Jet, Rocket and Venom to Bahrain and Djibouti. Then in 2009 she accompanied three more Gladiators, Siren, Militia and Justice - to Kuwait and Iraq on another USO tour meeting and thanking U.S. military members and getting to fly in a Blackhawk helicopter, a Chinook and a C130.
In addition to her work with SLU, Osborn is the founder of Kusewera - a non-profit whose mission is to enrich the lives of children in orphanages in Malawi and around the world through active and creative play. Osborn has led several humanitarian trips to Malawi, Africa, and will continue that quest each year. SLU is a big supporter of her foundation"
What individuals think fitness and lifestyle imagery is and what agencies KNOW what fitness and lifestyle photos are, can be 2 completely different things entirely. Since agencies are the entities with ties to work opportunities, it is their opinion that counts. Karen Osborn, Los Angeles Booking Director for Sports and Lifestyle Unlimited (SLU), presents a clear criterion as to what is evaluated for a potential talent.