Saturday, August 30, 2008

Who Is She?

So, I suppose I will start with my start. My grandmother, Millie Lewis, is my role model. She was a successful model in New York in the late 1940's. She was a business woman before it was alright to be a woman in business. She hosted several radio shows, taught at universities, and started the first modeling schools in the Southeast, five of them, in Southern strongholds Columbia, Greenville, Charleston, Albany, and Savannah when JRP was still just a New York Agency. She was in fact a "Powers Girl." She was a civil rights leader. Her schools were among the first to integrate white and black students. Millie the Model, a Marvel comic that ran from 1945 until 1973, was partially based on her.

She was smart, driven, charismatic and wickedly funny. She grew up on a farm in small town South Carolina. She wanted to be an evangelist. She married right out of high school in wartime fashion. Her first husband, a fighter pilot, died just months after they married, and her mother thought it would be distracting for her to visit a friend in New York. She was "discovered" in a diner by a photographer. She met my grandfather, a twice decorated fighter pilot, at an Air Show where she was modeling the newest fashions on the newest planes. They eventually moved back to South Carolina and married.

My grandmother and her friend Wilhelmina.

The lucrative cosmetic campaign. ;)

My grandparents in a NYC parade.