(Feb. 3, 1927-April 14, 2016). Helen Wells, born Helen Gardiner, grew up in the historic Garfield Park Neighborhood on the southside of Indianapolis. Born into a large Catholic family, she attended elementary school at Saint Catherine of Sienna and then continued to Saint Agnes all-girl Catholic High School. While still a teenager, she landed modeling jobs in the local area. She walked in L.S. AYRES AND COMPANY fashion shows in downtown Indianapolis and posed in print ads for Clabber Girl Baking powder produced by Hulman and Company in Terre Haute.

Although she experienced local success modeling, Wells put that career on hold to pursue her bachelor’s degree in business at Indiana University (IU). She met Robert O. Wells in Bloomington and after graduating from IU she came back to Indianapolis to marry him in 1948. While raising their five children, Wells was an active member of the St. Margaret’s Hospital Guild of Indianapolis (see Hospital guilds).

Wells’ return to the modeling world occurred when one of her daughters showed interest in the profession. Wells brought her daughter to a local modeling agent and landed her own job working for the owner. After several years, this agency approached her about becoming a full partner in the business. This partnership was short-lived, however, and she eventually parted ways over creative differences. Wells then decided to begin her own agency, which she could run in a way that she felt was appropriate for Midwestern talent.

Wells opened the Helen Wells Agency out of her own home on July 1, 1980. Within months of opening, she had enough business to lease office space in Carmel. Despite being one of few women in the entire talent industry, she steered her eponymous Helen Wells Agency to become the most recognizable and sought-after talent firm in the Midwest.

Wells made agent connections in all major cities, allowing actors and models with natural talent a path to success. The Helen Wells Agency was one of the first agencies to book both actors and models, making it easier for advertisers to connect with talent. Wells’s aimed to connect advertisers with the abundance of talent available in the Midwest. In an industry notorious for taking advantage of fame chasers, her strict standards of business integrity set her apart from other agents.

By 2019, the Helen Wells Talent Agency had opened up satellite agencies in Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, and one in Louisville, Kentucky. Still headquartered in Carmel, it remains the premier talent agency in the Midwest.

Revised June 2021

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