Putting their hopes on parade Young models try out in Carroll

February 08, 1993|By Bill Talbott | Bill Talbott,Staff Writer

There were 216 of them, and they all wanted to be models.

The Cranberry Mall Model Search yesterday attracted 4- to 60-year-olds with dreams of fame and glamour.

The first group of prospects, 4 to 8 years old, appeared before the judges, beginning at noon, wearing an assortment of clothing ranging from sweat suits to birthday party dresses to evening gowns.

Boys and girls -- the boys were outnumbered by a ratio of about 10-to-1 -- paraded before Ann Carter at the second annual contest, hoping for the opportunity to represent Cranberry Mall in the fashion shows scheduled throughout 1993.

Ms. Carter, of the Ann Carter Studios in Crofton, asked each of the little contestants for name, age and other questions to put them at ease and to see how well they could respond without parental prompting.

The first contestant in line was Ana Rodriquez, 4, who arrived with her mother, Mary Rodriquez, at 11:15 a.m. for the noon contest. She was one of 60 contestants in the youngest group and is a student at the Chipmunk School in Westminster.

Ana wore a red, white and blue dress with red, white and blue narrow ribbons at the back of her curly hair.

Next in line was Brenton Skolaski, 4 -- going on 12 in his manners, smile and poise -- who is a student at Wesley Freedom Pre-School and a resident of the Eldersburg area.

His mother, Sharon Skolaski, had dressed him in dark trousers, a white shirt and a white and purple buttoned sweater. A broad smile, all his own, helped earn him one of the winning spots in his age group.

Only one of the youngest contestants wore a hat, a straw with a dress reminiscent of days gone by. She became a favorite of the large group of onlookers who came to view the show.

Twelve of the 60 were chosen by Ms. Carter to return to the mall for seven free training sessions and then become part of the team to be used in fashion assignments, including "freeze modeling, mannequin modeling, informal and runway modeling" at the mall.

All of the contestants will act as public relations and good-will ambassadors for the mall, participating in as any as 12 shows throughout the year. They can also perform advertising assignments.

A winner can stay in for only one year and cannot be a contestant the following year.

That's why Jenna Janocha, 5, a winner in 1992, was standing on the sidelines watching her 8-year-old sister, Jill, parade across the stage for an opportunity to be one of the 1993 winners.

Vikki Janocha, mother of the two little students at Mechanicsville Elementary School, said the winners receive professional modeling training and must perform at least six times per year.

In the next group, contestants were 9 to 13 years old, and many showed the maturity of second-time contestants who tried out last year.

Again the females outnumbered the males by a large margin.

Some of the parents could be heard instructing: "Smile from this point on," or "Don't bite your lips," or "Stand up straight."

Ms. Carter, possessed of exceptional hearing while directing the contest, said she is looking for the contestant who really wants to model and is not being pushed into it by the parent. It doesn't help for the parent to stand behind me and call out instructions to the contestant, she said.

One of the winners in the 14- to 18-year-old group, Selina Oliver, 15, of Eldersburg, showed her experience when she stood on the platform and as she strolled toward the judge. She said she studies modeling in Mount Airy and does some modeling at the Francis Scott Key Mall in Frederick.

Ms. Oliver said she plans to attend North Carolina State College and hopes to continue her modeling career.

Another contestant, Jeannetta Inouye, 17, of Westminster, said, "I want the experience of modeling and would like to do some fashion modeling, go to college and get into TV broadcasting or maybe be a police officer like my father."

Her stepfather, Harold Nixon, a sergeant with the Baltimore Police Department, had come along to provide support and stood nearby.

In addition to the 12 winners in the 4-to-8-year-old category, Ms. Carter chose 10 winners 9 to 13 years old; 11 in the 14-to-18 group; and eight each in the 19-to-25 category and the 26-years-and-older group.

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