By Cynthia McFarland • Photos By Steve Floethe
Every dream begins with an idea. Fortunately for the women in the Ocala Style Dream Makeover, the inspiration that launched the contest didn’t remain in the idea stage for long. Anne Werthmuller, owner of Premiere Model Management in Ocala, makes a living scouting, developing, and placing models with agencies. Having watched countless makeover shows on television, Anne toyed with the idea of bringing the same concept to Ocala, but in a format that would reach out to multiple people and truly make an impact.
“I love how Ocala Style portrays the real people in our community.” remarks Anne, who began seriously considering the idea of an Ocala makeover in 2005. “Once I talked to Dean [Blinkhorn] and Kathy [Johnson] at Ocala Style and then Marsha [Holloway] at Marchelle’s, we thought it would be neat to makeover four women and not just one. That would give a better representation of the women in our community.”
Over 100 entries were submitted and a selection panel narrowed these down to 20. From there the list was cut to 10 potential participants, and the final cut determined the present group of Kendrea Jackson, Sue McRee, Rebecca Novicki, Michelle Arquines, and alternate Sharon Diaz. (For the record, when the call for makeover entries went out, men were invited to participate, but none applied.)
“We chose an alternate because we wanted to make sure the women selected for the contest were serious about going the distance,” explains Anne. “Sharon was also a terrific candidate and someone we felt really wanted a life change. As it turns out, of course, all four have been totally committed to the program, but we hope that this experience has also given Sharon the inspiration to continue with her own weight loss and her goal of living a healthier lifestyle.”
As of late June, all four makeover participants were well on their way to meeting their weight loss goals as a result of dedicated workout routines and nutrition plans. Anne gets weekly progress reports on each of the women and has made it her job to serve as cheerleader, sounding board, and also as a liaison between the participants and all the sponsors involved.
Having gone through the weight loss, nutrition, and personal fitness program offered through Marchelle’s and Curves, Anne knows firsthand what the makeover participants are experiencing.
“They’re really loving how they’re losing weight and dropping sizes,” says Anne. “They’re also feeling better and more energetic. They really are making it part of their lives to work out regularly and eat healthy. We’re trying to set them up with knowledge so they can continue with this once the makeover is done.”
Lest one think the past weeks have been nothing but sit-ups and celery sticks for the participants, it hasn’t all been sweat and deprivation.
Each woman has had a hair consultation, courtesy of contest sponsor Reflexions of You and knows which direction she is taking when it comes to color and style.
The next step is to meet with each woman individually and go through her closet to help them decide what works — and what doesn’t. Envision an episode of the popular TLC show What Not to Wear, and you’ll have a very good idea of what the gals can expect when Anne starts going through their wardrobes.
“We’ll find out their personal styles and what works best for their body types,” Anne notes. “Then we’ll work with them to determine appropriate colors, outfits, and styles for their day-to-day activities.”
Clothing from Ocala area retailers will be chosen to outfit each woman for the “reveal” party, as well as to help create her own personal daily style.
Also on the agenda is working with a dentist who will determine if whitening or veneers may be needed to improve smiles. Facials and makeup consultations, compliments of Marchelle’s, are also scheduled. The women are consulting with a cosmetologist who will show them what makeup products work best for their skin and how best to apply them.
Those dramatic before and after photos are a big part of any makeover. And indeed, a professional photo shoot will take place at the end of the Dream Makeover. Not only will this entail a great hairstyle, makeup session, and stylish clothes, but each participant will learn key tricks of the trade about modeling, such as how to “work with” and pose for the camera.
Just as with their professional models, Premiere Model Management will work with each makeover participant to prepare a composite card featuring a variety of photos showing her in various clothing, settings, and moods.
Does that mean we might see Rebecca, Sue, Michelle, or Kendrea in a television commercial, print ad, catalog, or billboard sometime in the future?
“We’re definitely going to try to get them some commercial work, ” says Anne. “But just because we place someone with an agency, it’s always the model’s responsibility to follow up on leads, find castings, and stay in touch. Agencies work with a lot of models, so you have to work to keep yourself fresh in their minds.
“An individual should not invest in marketing materials until they’ve had a professional consultation,” advises Anne. “After a consultation with Premiere Model Management, a model may need to invest in marketing tools, such as portfolios or composite cards, so that potential clients know they exist.”
Anne’s knowledge and enthusiasm obviously play a large role in her work with Premiere Model Management. While Anne owns the Ocala office of Premiere Model Management, her close friend Christine Harris and Christine’s husband Scott, own the other two offices, located in New Smyrna Beach and Brandon. The first office opened in 1990.
“We’ve been best friends since high school,” recalls Anne. “We both did some modeling and we were always into fashion.”
Premiere Model Management is not a modeling school, but focuses on finding new faces, developing those models, and placing them with agencies all over the world. Premiere works with all the top modeling agencies including Ford, Elite, Wilhelmina, Next, IMG, Michele Pommier, as well as commercial agencies in Tampa, Orlando, and Miami. The office walls are covered with photos of models Premiere has placed who have gone on to successful careers.
In the world of high fashion there are definite criteria that must be met. In the commercial market, however, there is a need for models of all ages, body types, and sizes. From toddlers to retirees, commercial models cover a wide range.
“With the high fashion models, we help them develop a look and get them in front of a camera so they can build their portfolio and get work,” says Anne. “In the commercial market, we try to provide the clients with as many choices as we can. We work with a lot of new models to develop them, help them gain experience, and develop their marketing materials so they present a professional image to potential clients.
“You should never pay a modeling agency to represent you,” adds Anne. “It doesn’t work that way.”
Anne is the first to admit she has a great job, one that is satisfying, challenging, and at the same time, a lot of fun. One of the best aspects of her career is meeting people, and — just as has happened with the Dream Makeover women — they often become friends.
“None of us knew each other before, but now all the women have become friends and we’re all comfortable talking together,” says Anne. “We all went to dinner together one night and as we were talking, I realized how much the makeover program has become part of their lives. They are so dedicated. I don’t think we could have picked more perfect women!”
Premiere Model Management
1 NE 1st Ave # 101
By Cynthia McFarland • Photos By Steve Floethe