“Glamour and advanced years are not mutually exclusive, and we have the models to prove it,” reads the flyer for the center’s second Holiday Fashion Gala.
Each of the fashion show’s participants was put through eight two-hour sessions of vigorous training on proper modeling technique to prepare for their runway debut.
Participating model Becci Ritter, 72, said there is a lot to master.
“When you’re up there, you’ve got to be concentrating on where do I walk, where is my mark, where to put my hands, I’ve got to smile,” she said.
Ritter also walked in the first Seymour fashion show three years ago.
“I personally enjoyed it tremendously,” Ritter said. “I thought I would be nervous, but actually it was a whole lot of fun. I was the first one to come out, and they were playing jazzy music with a great beat and the audience started to clap along.”
Ritter said her favorite part of the experience was the relationships that she built.
“The group of models were all people who really didn’t know each other, but we became very supportive and encouraging and it was just such a good bonding experience,” Ritter said.
While Ritter has walked before, all other models are participating for the first time.
Maryann Toone, 67, said she will be drawing on her extensive modeling experience as a debutante and participant in New York’s Miss Photogenic Contest.
“I wore a bathing suit, gown, the whole bit,” Toone said with a laugh. “I didn’t win, but it was such a good experience.”
Mary Jo Stone is the producer of the show, and took over the position after the original producer, Angie Lerner, fell ill and was unable to carry on her duties.
Stein Mart department store is donating all of the outfits, and a representative from Mary Kay cosmetics is doing makeup. Each model will walk in three separate outfits —sporty, evening wear and holiday gala — all hand-selected by Stone.
“I have stats on each model and, having worked with them, I have a pretty good idea of what would look nice on them,” Stone said.
The night will also feature a variety of other activities, as well as food donated by Bruegger’s Bagels, Food Lion and Harris Teeter.
“It’s more than just a fashion show,” said publicity chair Kathie Reeves.
Tickets will be sold for $30, and all proceeds benefit the Friends of the Seymour Senior Center for programs and services at the center.
“What the Friends do for the Seymour Center is unbelievable,” Toone said. “We’ve raised so much money and, as you can see, it is a wonderful center.”