Beautiful, gracious, warm and talented are just a few words to describe Jennifer Michelle. This runway model is expanding her horizons to now include television host of the “Everyday Runway” segment on WCCB News Rising. I wanted to sit down and chat with her to talk fashion, modeling and of course get a preview of what we can expect when we tune into “Everyday Runway”
As I walk up to the outdoor patio at Dean and Deluca, Jennifer’s alluring presence is noticeable. After a very warm greeting, we begin our conversation…
Me: So, how did the opportunity to do “Everyday Runway” come about?
Jennifer: I did a Top Model segment for News Rising and it went very well. After the show was over, I wanted to call the producers and pitch doing something more long term. As I was literally getting ready to pick up the phone, I got a call from them saying they loved what I did on the show and would I be interested in doing a fashion segment on a regular basis.
Me. Wow! That’s awesome! I missed the Top Model segment that you did. So, tell me, what did you do? Did you give tips? Did you pick a girl from Charlotte to model?
Jennifer: The staff for News Rising did their own Top Model competition. When I got there, Derek James, who has the biggest personality in the world, said “I gotta put my shoes on, then I’ll really be ready.” I thought he meant change from the men’s shoes he had on to another pair of men’s shoes. So, we start the segment. We were tying in America’s Next Top Model because it started that same night. Derek and Tera (the hosts) asked some general modeling questions. Then, they say “We’re ready to start the competition. You tell us who is better and if we do anything wrong, let us know.” Tera went first, and I gave her my critique. When it was Derek’s turn, he took off his shoes and put on Tera’s heels and did the walk! I didn’t know he was going to do that! That just made it even better! It was funny! Then Tom Arnold showed up. It was a great time. (View the segment HERE)
Me: I love how things just fall into place! You did the Top Model segment and now it’s turned into something greater.
Jennifer: It really did! Honestly, it’s turned into me being on TV, for starters, every other week. Right now, every other Tuesday. The response has been great! I have gotten emails from stylists, models, boutiques, designers. I am only doing it every other Tuesday. So, by the time I give everyone a chance to be on the show, I have segments planned all the way into next year.
Me: Good! There is nothing like this show in our area. We have Charlotte Fashion Week and some of the morning shows may do a style segment every now and again, but nothing that happens every week or every other week. So, I think that’s why everyone in Charlotte who is interested in fashion is thinking, “Ok, this is something we can get down with”
Jennifer: Oh the pressure!
Me: You are going to do fine!
Jennifer: You know how celebrities go through this phase where they want people to like them. I can see what they mean by that now. Even though I have never been a person who cares about whether somebody likes me or not, I want everybody to enjoy the show. I want it to be something that regardless of who you are, you can take something away from it. I don’t want people to when they think of the show and when they think of me, to think that it’s just about my look. Even when I do my model training sessions and plan events with churches, non-profits and community events, the first thing I always tell everybody is don’t think of me as the norm; don’t think that you are supposed to come in and be like me. I want every woman I work with to understand that they are beautiful. Your beauty will transcend and if you just get the confidence, you can be just as bad as I am! I want people to enjoy the experience and enjoy life. Confidence is key with me. You have to be confident in who you are and even if you are not, you better pretend! In my postings and in my tweets, people are thinking that “Everyday Runway” means I am looking for models. No, I am looking for the everyday woman. For example, I am looking for the mother who has been in a rut and can’t figure out what to do with their look.
Me: Yes, I love that idea of getting everyday people. We are accustomed to seeing models and sometimes, if you don’t have the confidence, it’s hard to imagine yourself being fabulous in your own way. I am excited for the show!
Jennifer: My goal and my purpose is to make sure regardless of who you are, you are fabulous! I want to be that person who says that regardless if you are 5’10” or 5’5″ you can still be fabulous. Size 2 or size 22…you are still fabulous! That’s the great thing about the show!
Me: I think the other exciting part about the show is that people like myself and others who are in the fashion industry in Charlotte, love living here or are in the city for whatever reason, but want to express their fashion voice. Some people think to be in the fashion industry, you have to be in New York or LA and that’s why I like that you are doing the segment here. You are giving so many people the opportunity to show off whatever talent they have right here where they live. They don’t have to feel like they are not a part of the fashion conversation because they love in Charlotte. We have talented people that are right here and you are bringing them all together! I am so happy about that!
Jennifer: Honestly, it’s and humbling experience for me. My friends have always told me that I am the one that connected us all. I feel like we all have a common thread somewhere and as long as we can come together, I am going to have a good time! Everyone that I am working with for the show I have told them, “I just want you to remember, we are here to have fun!” I want to educate, but I also want us to have fun in the process. It will be a lot of laughing! I have people coming on the show to talk about what to wear for game day, what to wear for date night, thrifting and 9 to Fine.
Me: I like that…9 to Fine!
Jennifer: Yes, 9 to Fine! I might have a certain outfit on, but I am going to take my blazer off or throw on a scarf, switch the accessories or change the lipstick. I want to make the show a place where everyone can learn something.
Me: You have a lot of great topics coming up! So, I want to switch gears and talk just a bit about Fashion Week Brooklyn. Until I did my research on you and your background, I had honestly never heard of it, but it sounds like the most fun ever. It just seems like there are so many talented designers from around the world.
Jennifer: I got goose bumps! I loved Fashion Week Brooklyn. That was probably the best experience I have ever had. It required that I go though every single aspect of what a model has to deal with. With the castings, you literally walk into a room with 100 other women and the designers scan the room and select the ones that they like the best. When I got there, I thought to myself, “If I can walk 3 or 4 shows, I’m good.” I ended up walking for 14 people! Everyday except for the last day, I walked for 3-4 designers. It was great! There were international and domestic designers. I loved it!
Me: It looked super interesting! Being a blogger, I watch the international shows online. But, it seems like to me, you get all that brought to you. Just looking at the line up from the last show, it got me thinking of all the places around the globe you would have to visit to see those designers. Each person from their different county has a different perspective on beauty and that is going to show in their designs. There were some countries I saw on the list that don’t have a traditional fashion week, but those designers still get to showcase their work. Do you think you will participate again?
Jennifer: Absolutely! Again, I would do it because of the producer and because it represents fashion from all over the world. I got to model for Jovani Couture which was such an amazing experience!
Me: I have to check out this Fashion Week Brooklyn! It sounds wildly interesting!
Jennifer: You should! I think you will enjoy it!
Me: Thank you Thank you Thank you so much for doing the interview!
Jennifer: Thank you for interviewing me!
You can catch Jennifer’s segment on Tuesday’s during the 8 o’clock hour on WCCB News Rising.
To learn about Jennifer Michelle, please visit her website: jmichellemtam.com/
Jennifer Michelle, Host of Everyday Runway