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Five Questions with Ann Marie Stonecypher

Produced by Alyssa Raymond, Melanie Kendall, Sarah Lamar

SYRACUSE, NY

Alyssa Raymond:  You say the modeling business is not so glamorous.  Why not?

Ann Marie Stonecypher

Ann Marie Stonecypher

Ann Marie Stonecypher:  Ummm….because its really just like any other business. Its a marketing business.  And what I am doing is I am just marketing people.  Somebody calls and they want a model and I send a model.  Its just like ordering pizza or ordering anything else except its people.  So its not really glamy glamy and its Upstate New York so its not runway shows and things like that.  It might just be an ad for a little business to business flyer that no one is going to see but some industrial clients.

Raymond:  When people think of modeling…you usually think of high fashion and extremely skinny and tall females…this is not what your agency is about…why not?  And why might this be a good thing for Central New York?

Stonecypher:  Well to the question why not.  Umm because it is Upstate and we tailor our business to our clients that are here.  And because there’s no Victoria’s Secret or Calvin Klein here we tailor our business to the clients that are here.  The furniture stores.  The industrial clients.  And clients like that so they’re not going to higher long legged 16-year-old girls to be in their ad.  They’re going to hire a 35-year-old that might look like a doctor or a nurse or something like that.  So those are the type of people that I have to have in my business so thats really nice because those people have the opportunity to model.  And its just sideline.  Its not anything they’re going to make their daily bread from.  But its just a nice little extra bit of money.  I call it their shoe shopping, Turning Stone money not their pay their electric bill money.

Raymond:  So why is that a good thing for Central New York?

Stonecypher:  Because it is just another little level of income.  Just a little extra something.  Ummm…you know its not millions of dollars but you know its helping families with a little something extra.  I had a woman for years and years and years that the money that she made with me every year was their vacation money.  Her family of four every year went to Florida and went to the theme parks on the money that she made with my company every year.  That always made me feel great.

Raymond:  The modeling industry has a reputation of causing eating disorders. What are you doing about that and how effective is it? Can you give us examples?

Stonecypher:  We have never ever told any body to lose weight for a job.  The way that someone comes to me is the way I’ve taken them.  I’ve never said well I would take you except you need to lose weight.  Because we are not a fashion market or a catalogue type of market there is no pressure that everyone has to fit a certain size.  Ummm because mostly what we are doing is business to business type of things.  Editorial type of things there’s no one set look.  Ummm…I am very much a proponent of healthy eating and healthy looking people.  I do charity work for Ophelia’s Place, which is a center that helps people with eating disorders.  And we work on their fashion show every year.  They are very good friends to AMS Models and vice versa.  but ya we have never told anyone that they needed to lose weight.  Absolutely not.  We are proponents of healthy living not skinny.  Absolutely not.

Raymond:  Why do you think the modeling industry should exist?  What do you think it brings to society?

Stonecypher:  Ummm its really just another segment of advertising.  And it definitely just helps people brand their product.  If you’re going to sell…like we have a client that has a line of pajamas and if you want to brand that line you’re gonna pick your models that kinda have a look that represents your style.  And if you can pick those models yourself and have the look that you want you’re establishing your brand.  And you’re helping promote the look that you want.  And the same with any type of company, whether its a certain widget you’re selling and you want that widget exposed to the world by certain types of people holding it.  The people looking at the ad are going to identify with the people holding it.  Its all part of advertising.  And if you use models versus stock photos you don’t have to worry about your picture or your brand being diluted and being seen in other places.  And people say, oh wow that photo looks like a photo I saw in someone else’s ad.  You get to choose the model.  You get to choose exactly the look that you want and the people you want.  And we have every ethnicity that there is and we have every age group.  So you really get to pick and choose how you want your add too look.

Raymond:  You are in your sixth year as a breast cancer survivor. What has the experience taught you?

Stonecypher:  Well umm I think that everything we are death teaches us something and if it doesn’t then we need to look at it a little harder or listen a little harder.  Umm…and its taught me that life is so precious and everyday is a gift.  And ummm…sometimes you just need to turn it around and pay it forward and I’m just so happy to be here for my children and the people I love.  Umm…and my way of paying it forward is that I have a pink ribbon circle reminder.  And I send it out to over a 100 women every month to remind them to do their self exams because its still important.  And ummm…I talk to other survivors to try to give them encouragement and tell them that they will get to the other side and this is all the treatments and how awful it is and losing your hair and all that stuff.  Its temporary and you’ll get to the other side and you’ll be back.  And you know I’m just so grateful to still be on the planet and get a second shot at being alive.  I try not to sweat the small stuff because I know I was given a second chance so it really taught me so much really.

Raymond:  Thank you so much Ann Marie

Stonecypher:  You’re welcome.

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