Model mentions

Super thanks to our super volunteers

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By Sarah Corbin

Shopping & Business Blogger

It's long - but worth the read.

A very special amount of patience and kindness and sense of fun goes into being a model (or the parent of a model) for WJ's Fall Fashion. Our models are all volunteers. The only reward is a sincere pat on the back "thank you" and a little recognition.

Maybe as an outsider to the whole process, it might seem easy to find folks willing to give up hours of their day to stand in one place all dressed up. But here at the WJ, we searched long and hard to find folks that would say yes. Men & young men, it seems, are particularly tricky to convince.

Scott Chakan, a local Oak Parker, who works as a Success Director for a local firm said yes to our El Platform modelling assignment after we were failing to find another man to fill those shoes. His wife, Shelley, had just started working for us as our Sales Executive for the Chicago Journal and Skyline. Maybe he felt saying yes would aid in her co-worker relationship development. We already loved her, so that shouldn't have made him feel pressured. But frankly, if that is what it took to get someone to model that wonderful coat I was going to take it! I joked with Scott as he waited patiently for hours for his photo op that we make all of our new employees spouses participate in photo shoots. It's a special kind of co-worker embrace. Makes us all one big happy family at Wednesday Journal Publications. We are, you know, one big happy family.

Many of our models are family and friends of Wednesday Journal employees. The young man originally scheduled to be our cover Homecoming date, dropped out the night before his scheduled day. In a stressful fit I ran into our editorial offices to ask Bob Uphues our Landmark editor, if he might have a son (he has a a few) that was tall and possibly wear the same size as the clothes we had on hand. In an amazing twist of luck, Bob's son Danny was EXACTLY the right size - he even fit the black loafers that were patiently awaiting. I still feel a sigh of relief that Bob just happened to be sitting at his desk when I was in a panic; and that Danny at the very very last minute was willing and said yes. I didn't care in my panic what Bob's son might look like. Honestly, we didn't know he looked just like a cover model - but he does - and now he is.

The young miss Mari who stands so perfectly next to Danny on the front is also the daughter of an employee. Lourdes Nicholls who works for Chicago Parent in Advertising was instrumental in getting Mari to the "ball" on time so to speak. Who schedules a fashion shoot highlighting homecoming on the first day of classes at the local high school? Well we did that, and it made things a bit problematic. Mari missed a practice (hopefully she wasn't reprimanded too much) and hustled over to Effigy just as the school bell rang so that we could keep the photo shoot right on time.

Juliana our model in orange also forfeited an entire day of her professional career to stand around and have her photo taken. She looks just stunning too. Our very own Carrie Bankes, Advertising Coordinator introduced us to Juliana. Juliana, an Event Coordinator, Eventivities Incorp worked this summer as the Director of the Childrens Summer Education Program at Unity Temple. She has fantastic ideas, and drives the success of so many events. We were lucky to be able to snatch her up for the day.

Corrine who is modeling the floral dress with skinny jeans has known Suze for years. As Suze says, Corrine is one of her "most stylish and loyal girl friends." She's a super busy nursing student and mom of two girls and lives right here in Oak Park. I'm not sure if Suze bribed her with a well deserved mom's night out for after the photo session - but it would be well deserved.

Sara, who highlights as a fantastic team member at Careful Peach, is a returning model from our 2011 Fall Fashion edition. She's now becoming a pro at all of this modelling business. Maybe she'll even say yes to next year. (hint hint)

Myra, President of Amity, actually runs the Amity Charity Annual Fashion Show. She was having a heck of a busy week, but she didn't drop out. And we are extremely grateful to her for her time.

Her daughter Kaitlin even ran to and from soccer practice to model our pantsuit from Sanem's. I think that outfit was made specifically for Kaitlin too - she just looks fabulous.

Sklar and Sydney are Oak Park middle schoolers. I think they, too had to miss a dance practice to participate. I happen to be lucky enough to live across the alley from these two beautiful twins. And also lucky enough that their mom (thank you Cheryl) was willing and patient enough to stand around while they had hair and makeup and waited for their photo to be taken. I just feel like they shine in the section. I'm so proud to be their neighbor!

Little kids! Essence and my son attend pre-school together. And she is extremely friendly and bubbly and seemed like the perfect choice to come on out and pose. And she was the perfect choice. Essence is now on my short list for perfect preschool models.

Vincent and Rowan are Suze's twins. They are a perfect pair and were really delighted to be a part of their mom's work for the day. Yes of course the photo with her twins with Rowan sticking his tongue out was completely un-staged. The green hat he is sporting from Modest in Forest Park - was purchased by Suze not too much later than the photo shoot. He loved it.

Ruth - well she is my daughter. I think she has a bit of a fashion bug after her last couple of photo opportunities, which is dangerous for a mom who covers "shopping" as a part of her day job. I ran right back to the Gap and got that Leopard print coat for her. She can't wait for the weather to get just a touch cooler to wear it.

Paxton is also the son of a staffer. (see we are such a family group over here) Dawn Ferencak who works in advertising at Wednesday Journal volunteered Paxton and convinced his friend Julien to model. These two look like they walked straight out of high powered kids fashion catalogue! I think the experience gave Paxton that same kind of fashion bug too - rumor is Dawn took him right to Diana Shoes to get the pair he wore for the photos.

I hope I didn't miss anyone. We all had boatloads of fun making sure the section was locally driven, fun and engaging and beautiful.

Email: Twitter: @localoakpark

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Suze Solari from  

Posted: September 16th, 2012 11:16 AM

Sarah & I could not have had a better team of 'models' for our photo shoots! All regular people and kids from our community, so professional and fun to work with. I loved & fed off their excitement and flexibility to be styled and fluffed by my sometimes probing hands. Many thanks again for all who participated!

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