What broker wouldn't love being on the cover of Barron's? Well, Joseph Koralik of A.G. Edwards can say he's been there, done that. Only thing is, though, he wasn't a broker yet.
A former professional model, Koralik had his likeness reproduced by an artist for a story about cigar stocks. And just a few weeks later, he made a transition. "The issue came out the exact same time that I started in the business," Koralik says.
Quite an entrance.
Koralik was pretty good at making big splashes during his 15-year career as a model, too. He worked regularly for many high-profile clients. He loaned his looks to clothing retailers from Sears to Saks Fifth Avenue. He did print advertising campaigns for brands from Quaker Oats to Kawasaki. He appeared in several television commercials and as a runway model on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and "Donahue."
While Koralik's looks were God-given, he learned how to use them from Walter Holmes, an English clothing designer he worked for in Chicago. "He taught me to be extremely professional. Walter said, `Do your bookings and shoots, say thank you, and leave. If someone suggests you go get a drink, just go home.'"
That doesn't mean Koralik's modeling career was boring - quite the contrary. "It was the life of Reilly," he says. "I traveled to unique places and got treated very well wherever I went."
He did location shoots aboard luxury cruise liners, on Caribbean islands, in Hawaii and throughout Europe. One job even took him to the exotic Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Africa.
Modeling wasn't all about sashaying onto a set and smiling, Koralik says. He exercised vigorously to maintain his appearance and studied an acting technique to help him appear natural in even the most contrived situations.
Eventually, however, he became uneasy with the modeling business. "I saw things that I didn't want to be around," he says. So he sought a new challenge in brokerage since it fulfilled his interest in helping people. Koralik had originally planned to be a doctor.
In fact, the premed major at University of Saint Francis in Joliet, Ill., was set for medical school when a buddy on his baseball team suggested modeling instead. So shortly after graduation, the one-time All-American baseball player tried out his all-American face in front of the camera. It clicked.
Today, Koralik still applies modeling's lessons about professionalism first and personal elan. "Modeling taught me to live my life with my own individual style," he says. "I brought that over into this business. I'm a financial consultant with a little different style. I'm compassionate. I'll talk and talk to clients so we have a human connection."
The Del Mar, Calif.-based rep still squeezes in a modeling job or two on weekends. "There is a demand for men my age," says the 41-year-old. "And I've been so seasoned in the business that I could do it in my sleep."