Ben Barry

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Ben Barry
Born (1983-02-09) February 9, 1983 (age 37)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
EducationUniversity of Toronto, University of Cambridge
Notable worksFashioning Reality: A New Generation of Entrepreneurship
Notable awardsQueen's Golden Jubilee Medal, Governor General's Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case

Ben Barry (born February 9, 1983) is a Canadian entrepreneur, author, and women's health advocate.[1] He is the founder and CEO of the Ben Barry Agency, a modelling agency and consultancy known for its use of diverse models, and the author of the Canadian bestseller Fashioning Reality: A New Generation of Entrepreneurship.[2][3] His television profiles include The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, MTV, and CBC among others.[2] Barry has been featured in The Boston Globe, The Guardian, The Times of India, The Globe and Mail, and the Financial Times.[4][5][6][7] Michaëlle Jean, the Governor-General of Canada, has described his work as, "positive, determined action to undo stereotypes and redefine society's idea of beauty."[8]

Early life and career[edit]

Barry was born in Ottawa, Ontario. He attended the independent school, Elmwood School before moving on to Ashbury College,[9] and graduated from the University of Toronto, where he was a member of Trinity College, in 2005 with a BA in Women's Studies and Political Science. He later attended the University of Cambridge and completed an MPhil in Innovation, Strategy, and Organization in 2007 and a PhD with an Ogilvy Foundation research grant at Cambridge Judge Business School in 2012 .[2][10][11][12] Barry's second book, Beyond Beauty: Discovering, Challenging, and Refining Beauty, will examine perceptions of beauty across the world and will be based on his Ph.D. research.[2] He is the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Fashion Incubator, and sits on the Board of the Canadian Foundation for Women's Health.[13][14] Barry is an assistant professor of equity, inclusivity and diversity in fashion at the Ryerson University School of Fashion.[12][15] He also writes a bi-weekly small business column for The Globe and Mail, Canada's national newspaper of record.[16]

Ben Barry Agency[edit]

He began the Ben Barry Agency at the age of 14.[17] The Agency is known for its use of diverse models; those of widely different sizes, races, ages, and abilities. This is in contrast to most modelling agencies which impose strict height, weight, and age requirements.[10] The Agency played a critical role in the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty.[2][10][18] Barry has been acknowledged for his efforts to reform the fashion industry to more accurately represent women's diversity, and to end the use of a physical beauty ideal type.[17][19][20]


He is a recipient of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal and the first male recipient of the Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case.[1] Maclean's named him one of "one of twenty-five leaders of tomorrow".[2]


  1. ^ a b "2008 Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case Announced". Status of Women Canada. 2008-11-04. Retrieved 2008-11-09.[dead link]
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Ben Barry". Speakers Spotlight. Archived from the original on 17 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-09.
  3. ^ "Young model agent changing the face of fashion". CTV News. 2007-03-13. Archived from the original on 2007-03-23. Retrieved 2008-11-11.
  4. ^ Muther, Christopher (2009-04-30). "Can this 26-year-old change the shape of the fashion industry?". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 4 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
  5. ^ Walker, Peter (2009-01-10). "Young, white and super skinny? We don't buy it, women tell advertisers". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-01-11.
  6. ^ "Size zero debate fuels research". Financial Times. 2008-01-06. Retrieved 2008-01-11.
  7. ^ "Women's brand choice depends on brand ad". The Times of India. 2009-01-11. Retrieved 2009-01-11.
  8. ^ "Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean Speech on the Occasion of the Presentation of the Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case". Office of the Secretary to the Governor General. 2008-11-07. Retrieved 2008-11-09.[dead link]
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b c Morra, Bernadette (2007-03-07). "Barry slowly breaking barriers". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2008-11-11.
  11. ^ "Judge Business School: Programmes - PhD - A-Z Listing of PhD Students - Ben Barry". Judge Business School. Archived from the original on 29 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-11.
  12. ^ a b Reisz, Matthew (2012-05-24). "Super-skinny models won't supersize the profits". Retrieved 2012-12-16.
  13. ^ "Toronto Fashion Incubator Board of Directors". Toronto Fashion Incubator. Archived from the original on 2008-09-07. Retrieved 2008-11-11.
  14. ^ "Board of Directors - About Us - Canadian Foundation for Women's Health". Canadian Foundation for Women's Health. Archived from the original on 24 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-11.
  15. ^ "Ben Barry". Ryerson University. Archived from the original on 2012-09-15. Retrieved 2012-12-16.
  16. ^ "A card for all occasions". The Globe and Mail. 2008-10-25. Retrieved 2008-11-11.
  17. ^ a b "Models of all shapes and sizes". Windsor Star. 2008-10-13. Archived from the original on 2012-11-05. Retrieved 2008-11-11.
  18. ^ "Ben Barry: Modelling Agent". University of Toronto Magazine. Retrieved 2008-11-11.[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ "A New Kind of Fashion Model?". CBC News. 2007-03-17. Archived from the original on April 30, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-11.
  20. ^ "Male modelling boss a winner for advancing cause of women". Ottawa Citizen. 2008-11-06. Archived from the original on 2012-11-05. Retrieved 2008-11-11.

External links[edit]