Is the ability to spot young talent an inherited gene or the result of years of hard work and experience? For Wendi Green, head of the youth theatrical department at Abrams Artists Agency, it’s definitely the former.
“It’s a gift you’re born with,” she says. “Growing up, my dad always told me, ‘You’re born to sell,’ and I always loved kids and making them happy, so it’s a natural passion for me. I get so much joy out of changing their lives and watching them scream when they get a job.”
Born in New York, Green grew up in Los Angeles, got her bachelor’s degree in child psychology and development from Cal State Northridge, then worked on a cruise ship as the kids’ cruise director. After a stint at a literary agency, she began working as a talent agent.
“The company didn’t want a youth department, but all the clients I brought in were young. I couldn’t help it,” she says. “So I decided to go to Abrams — it was my first choice simply because they were under ‘A’ in the book — and after six meetings, I sold myself and the idea of a kids department.”
Green started off with “just me and 10 clients,” and now it’s grown to two other agents and assistants. In the past 12 years, Green, who discovered Katie Holmes, Frankie Muniz and Seann William Scott, has made Abrams an industry leader. She currently represents Madeline Carroll (“Swing Vote”), Angus T. Jones (“Two and a Half Men”), Adam Gregory (“90210”) and Nathan Gamble (“Dark Knight,” “Babel”).
“Twelve years ago, none of the agencies wanted to deal with kids, but that’s all changed,” she says. “That’s made my job a lot more competitive, but more fun, too. I still have the same passion for finding that magic. It’s all my gut, and I never doubt my gut.”
Recent breakthrough: Client Madeline Carroll, 12, landed the lead in “Swing Vote” opposite Kevin Costner. “The critics all went crazy for Madeline. I wish I could drag everyone to the theater to see her.”
Role model: “Angus T. Jones has been on ‘Two and a Half Men’ for five years. During that time I have watched him grow into a caring, down-to-earth, professional young man.”
Next: “Every day is another exciting opportunity to break a new star.”