A few years back we held an open call in Saint Louis while Jeff was in Europe and a beautiful girl attended who sparked our interest. She looked like a pretty girl in her initial appearance and at first glance, I thought, “Maybe she could be a commercial girl for Chicago.” As I took a closer look, imagined her trimmed down, makeup off, her skin cleared up, and some development taking place, I imagined something quite different, something really special and unique. I spoke candidly about what my vision was, asked if she was on board, and we decided mutually to see where this could take us. Within a few months I heard back from her, and she toldme she just didn’t have the dedication and thought she didn’t really have what it takes. I left the door open and told her to let me know if she ever changed her mind.

Fast forward to April 2013, at another open call at our daughters salon in Brentwood. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, the line wrapped outside the building when we arrived, and we opened the doors as the salon filled with people. As we went down the long list of people, a girl walked up and handed us her open call form, her hands were shaking, and she had a sweet spirit about her. I looked up and did a double take, “Wow, I didn’t even recognize you!” Standing before us was a beautiful refined version of her former self. She was stunning, confident, and ready to go! She shared with us she was on the brink of signing with a local agency in Saint Louis who didn’t have the same requirements that we do. She said she looked around the room at the other models at that agency and decided that if she was going to model she wanted to do it at the top level. She set sail on her personal self improvement course, following us on social media for inspiration, determined to come back and see what we thought. Instantly we were so excited!  We called to arrange a test and she shot for ALIVE magazine here in Saint Louis. We helped her shop and get ready, she stayed on course with healthy eating and exercise, and we arranged a new skin care regimen…within about a month and a half she was off to Paris, and by September 2013, she was walking in her first show season in New York and Europe.

Dakota is a very dedicated, disciplined, competitive (in the best sense of the word), and at the same time, sweet, kind, and sincere. We have no doubt she will have a long and lucrative career and will inspire many young women from all ethnicities to embrace their heritage and what makes them unique.

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