Friday, November 5, 2010

Coming Full Circle

I began modeling back in the late 1970s, when was a college student. At that time, I was attending CEUCA (Centro Estudios Universitario Colombo-Americano) in Bogota, Colombia in an off campus program, which lasted one year. I was on the cover of LAURA and did various TV commericals. The experience of living in an emerging country such as Colombia, and seeing the disparity of rich to poor, was one of the reasons that prompted me to go into the Peace Corps, after graduating from The College of Wooster.

Once joining the Peace Corps, from 1980-1983, I lived in the sub-saharan bush of Morocco, North Africa, in a small Berber village called Goulmima, and taught English as a foreign language (TEFL) to high school students. This experience led me on to obtain an MBA at the University of San Francisco, USF, and eventually have positions in international marketing with a number of financial instituions, where I traveled to places such as Argentina, Uruguay and the Cayman Islands.

I now feel as if I have come full circle. And I am able to use all of these experiences to work for an organization such as MODELS MAD (Models Making a Difference), MAA (Models Against Addictions) and Super Role MODELS. Please, won't you share your story with us and let us know how you are helping in your community and the world.

We want to initiate a movement and you can be part of it!! Our first goal is to enlist 1,000 models that will create a powerful marketing tool in which we reach the media and various other charitable and fund raising organizations such as MAA (Models Against Addictions)

Who is your Role Model? Who Inspires You?

Who inspires YOU?

Just as writers tend to read a lot of books and cooks and cookery writers read and try a lot of recipes, any one who stands behind a cause or charitable organization was probably inspired by someone.

The person who inspires me, is Asia Janina Dyrkacz. She is the reason I am working with her on MAA Models Against Addiction, the non-for profit organization that she created and founded. And, she is the reason, I co-founded Super Role MODELS with her.

Asia was born and raised in Poland. She received certification from the Fashion Institute of Technology (NYC) for Image Consulting and Feng Shui Design. She has been featured on the Discovery Health Channel and was named one of 100 Women making a Difference by Today's Chicago Woman magazine.

She has been featured as a model in Marie Claire, Oprah Magazine and More Magazine!. She has appeared in runway shows for Hermes in Paris, and national Target commercials. In 2005, her son was diagnosed with a bipolar illness. After caring for him for 2 years, she decided to look for alternative treatments. She went to India looking for holistic options and at the same time experienced Vipassana--silent meditation and did her own self-healing. She recently visited the Yogi Bhajan Ashram in New Mexico and practiced Kundalini Yoga with meditation. Asia received a scholarship from ACNY (Alcoholism Council of of New York) and is currently studying for the CASAC Certificate Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor).

The website for MAA (Models Against Addictions) is

Looking forward to hearing about who inspires you...

Models Making a Difference

Are you a model who is involved in a charitable cause or organization? Are you interested in something else besides modeling in which you are a "role model" and give back to your community? Please share with us how you are involved?

Drew Barrymore --World Food Programme

Ann Bissell Luke said...

Good Houskeeping Magazine Sept. 2010

Why I Give: Drew Barrymore
Barrymore has been an Ambassador Against Hunger for the World Food Programme ( since 2007 and in 2008 she donated $1million to the program, which reached just over 102 million people in 78 countries with food assistance that year. Why she gives so generously: "I have seen with my own eyes what a simple cup of nutritious portidge can ;make in children's lives. It helps them learn and stay healthy, and sets them on track for a bright future. I urge everyone--everywhere--to help hungry children, and make hunger history.

Yodit Tibebu Show at La Pomme In Garment

Paul Richard said...

Last night at the Yodit Tibebu show at La Pomme in Garment I had the pleasure of meeting Ann and finding out about Models Making a Difference.

I must say that last night, Ann inspired me. Her vivacious enthusiasm for the project and outgoing fun personality made the evening a true event to remember.

The fashion world is foreign to me, last night was my first visit. It was luck to have met a guide like Ann early on.

Cindy Day Cohen--True Inspiration

Cindy Day Cohen inspires me.

The following excerpts were taken from CMH (Columbus Metro Hub) magazine, Nov/Dec 2009 by Jon Theiss.

Cindy Day Cohen grew up dreaming about becoming a supermodel, but she didn't know she'd realize that dream at the unlikely age of 39. After valuting over obstacles that would crush the spirits of most waif-like 20-something wannabe models, the recently crowned winner of the second season of TV Land's She's Got the Look (a reality competition for models over age 35), is still reeling about her sudden step into the limelight.

She grew up in Delaware, Ohio, became a single mother at age 20, and moved to Los Angeles 10 years later. Once in L.A. a bad relationship landed her flat broke in a homeless shelter for women and their children.

Determined to turn it all around, she worked to provide for herself and her son and slowly became acquainted with the business of real estate.

"A lot of people stay in the same position. People saw me go from my lowest point to my highest point, so I decided to write about it", she explains. The Life of your Dreams in 30 Days or Less! The Ordinary Person's Guide to Extraordinary Abundance is the fruit of this decision.

Life coach, published author, committed mother --with cover girl aspirations? "Why not?", she thought.

When her son left home to attend college, Day Cohen was 39 and resolved to make headway into the fashion industry. "I knew I was not the prime age for modeling--but I kept that dream within me."

In a twist of fate, she stumbled across the season finale of "She's Got the Look". Surprised to know there was a reality show competition for women over 35, she thought, "Why didn't anyone tell me about this? This was supposed to happen to me!"

"I never really thought about what would happen if I far as the money, I'll put it to good use," she says about her $100,000 winnings. "I want to donate a portion of it to some type of women's and children's organization, because I was in that position. I know what that life is like."

Despite bouts of bad luck and staggering life experiences. Day Cohen's ability to pull herself up by her bootstraps--or high heels rather--has led her to the life of her dreams. She's Got the Look awarded her a monetary prize, a contract with Wilhelmina Models and and a cover and photospread for Self magazine. She has since appeared in multiple publications in various capacities.

Naomi Campbell--Haiti Relief Effort

Naomi Campbell inspires me.

Excerpts from Business Week, The Associated Press, February 4, 2010.

Naomi Campbell plans fashion show for Haiti relief
by: Samantha Critchell

Naomi Campbell called on the fashion world to do its part for the Haiti relief effort -- and the fashion world answered: There will be a charity catwalk show pairing top models and designers at New York Fashion Week.

Campbell organized the first Fashion for Relief event at he Byrant Park tents in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and has since taken it to Tanzania and Mumbai, India. The return to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on Feb. 12th comes at the right time, Campbell said.

"Everyone else is trying to help Haiti, and we wanted to do our part on the fashion side of things," Campbell said in a telephone interview from Paris. "The response has been overwhelming. No one has said "no"--which means a lot because it's such a busy time with designers preparing their fall collections".

The event is still coming together, but Campbell said she had called upon her friends, including Christy Turlington and the Duchess of York, asking them to participate. Celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe is putting together the looks, and designer Marc Jacobs has already created a special Louis Vuitton handbag, one of many items that will go on sale on the Net-a-Porter Web site March 15, with proceeds going to the organization CARE.

The 39-year old, who rarely walks the runway nowadays, will be one of the models. She hasn't retired from the catwalk, she said, although she saves most of her appearances for charity shows.