Overnight sensation Ted Williams to be the voice of Baltimore Fashion Week

Homeless Ohio man will lend voice to four-day event in August

March 08, 2011|By John-John Williams IV, The Baltimore Sun

Ted Williams, the homeless Ohio man who became an overnight sensation earlier this year, will be bringing his "golden voice" to Charm City in August when he serves as announcer for Baltimore Fashion Week, the event's executive director, Sharan Nixon, confirmed.

Williams signed a contract Tuesday morning that results in him live announcing designers each day of the four-day event. In addition, Williams will do radio spots and attend promotional events associated with Baltimore Fashion Week, which runs Aug. 18-21.

"When we finally found his information, and his agent said he wanted to come, I just started crying because I couldn't believe it," Nixon said. "Having someone of his magnitude say they are willing to be a part of my event is just fabulous."

Williams achieved instant celebrity in January after the Columbus Dispatch posted on its website a video interview of him where he demonstrated his voice by doing a mock radio announcement. The video hit YouTube and went viral — making him a household name. He has recorded voice-overs for various national brands and he's been offered a job announcing at games for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Williams has also had his share of troubles, including being detained in Los Angeles by police after an altercation with his daughter, and a brief stay in rehab for alcohol abuse after appearing on "Dr. Phil."

Nixon said she is not concerned that Williams' personal troubles will affect his appearance at her event.

"His agent has assured me that he will be fine," she said. "There won't be any problems. Everybody has their problems in life. It is not my place to wonder if he is going to handle himself accordingly as a special guest of Baltimore Fashion Week."

Williams is excited to attend Baltimore Fashion Week, according to his agent, Alfred Battle.

"We have not been in the Baltimore area," said Battle, who has known Williams for the past 25 years. "Surely there are some people who have been touched and affected by his story in that area. We want to make a personal appearance by those people."

Battle stressed that Williams would be ready for his trip to Baltimore. In fact, Williams is scheduled to begin taping a reality television show "Second Chance At Life," which will chronicle his life as well as allow him to give other homeless people a chance at redemption, according to Battle.

"Ted is doing wonderful," Battle said. "He is living in a sober living environment in Los Angeles. He's doing a good job with it, too."

The addition of Williams is the latest in an attempt to elevate the event's image, according to Nixon.

In January, Nixon announced that she was moving the event back to Baltimore after holding it at the Sheraton Baltimore North in Towson. The new site — a parcel of land near the Morgan Stanley building in Harbor East — will provide Nixon with the type of location she envisioned when she first launched the event, she said.

She also announced that in addition to moving to the Harbor East location, the event would feature a 16,000-square-foot tent similar to the ones used at the famed Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York.

Nixon also recruited Toria Turner, a former Wilhelmina model who recently moved back to Baltimore after living in London, to be the event's runway coach.

Nixon is currently in negotiations to sign national designers such as Levi's, Michael Kors and Lucky Brand Jeans. She said she has also reached out to a number of high-end boutiques in the Baltimore region, as well as Hennes & Mauritz, commonly known as H&M, which is scheduled to open its first Baltimore City location this spring.

Nixon recently signed a sponsorship agreement with the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) that would result in at least one bus being wrapped with Baltimore Fashion Week advertisements.

"It is very important that everything is elevated this year," Nixon said. "From the location to the actual guests that come, everything has to be at a new level."

john-john.williams@baltsun.com

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