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Fashion Mon Mar 15 2010
For Harvey Star Washington, modeling is more than just fashion, make-up and strutting on the runway--it is also about giving back. At "Paparazzi," held Sunday at Navy Pier's Grand Ballroom, this fashion show producer extraordinaire treated the audience to a high-energy show that was full of glitz, glamour and giving back.
Washington, a 30-plus year veteran in the fashion and modeling industry, has seen his fair share of changes, most notably with the presence of full-figured models. A staunch advocate for "women of size," Washington feels the time has now come to embrace them. "Full-figured women are more in the forefront now, and that is something that was overdue; it's time for people to really take notice of them," he said. "Just because you're full-figured, it doesn't mean you can't feel good about who you are."
Giving back is very important to Washington; in fact, he works pro bono with new models, allowing them an opportunity to create and build a work portfolio. "I like working with women who have never had the opportunity to model," he said.
And at "Paparazzi," Washington's penchant for giving back was shown via a very special guest model, Dr. Glenda Flemister. Flemister, a doctor who is known throughout Chicagoland for her work in pulmonary education, was specially chosen by Washington to be a part of the show. "Dr. Flemister heard about my model search and filled out an application," he noted. When Washington researched the doctor and learned of her community work, he knew he wanted her on board. "She let me know that [her work] wasn't about the money--it was about helping people. She really gives back, so I thought it would be nice to honor her at the show and also have her as a guest model."
For Dr. Flemister, the experience was one she was happy to be part of. "It is so good to be honored and I am real excited about the show!" she said.
While Flemister enjoyed walking down the runway, the community was never far from her mind. As a doctor who works tirelessly in underserved areas, Flemister educates health professionals about pulmonary health. "We actually go into the neighborhoods and train health educators, who in turn relay that info to patients." In addition, Flemister manages her scholarship foundation at Joliet Junior College: "Since 1990, we have had the 'Dr. Glenda Flemister Scholarship', an annual scholarship that goes to one or two students. I feel that without an education, you're really starting yourself out at a disadvantage."
And judging the work of Harvey Star Washington and Dr. Glenda Flemister, we now see that modeling and medicine do have something in common after all: giving back.