On Wednesday, February 20th at Cipriani on 42nd Street, 10 finalists,
representing seven states across the country and chosen from over
14,000 entries, participated in the eighth-annual, nationwide
More/ Wilhelmina 40+ Model Search final countdown and selection.
After being so very nicely treated to hors d’oeuvres and drinks, all
served by an impeccably styled staff, courtesy of the ever-great
Cipriani, guests and press sat down to watch the final runway show.
This event was important in the sense that it graced and embraced all
women over 40 years of age, an age group all too often ignored by the
industry, yet a very powerful force in what helps the fashion industry
The ten contenders represented all that makes America’s ethnic and
geographic diversity: from Shanah Luhmann to Joyce Larkin, they
radiated confidence, poise and a true and liberating sense of knowing
who they are. In a world where changes are ever so fast paced, and
where youth is privileged over anything else, these ten women
represent intelligence, elegance, refinement and accomplishment, along
with many other traits only acquired through years and a fulfilling
The equally beautiful women who walked down the runway twice sported
a day dress at first and then an evening gown. All were designed by
talented fashion designer Heidi Weisel. The dresses were very pretty
and a great fit for each and every women on the catwalk tonight. I
especially liked the gown worn by Lani Ridenhour, the woman who, in my
opinion, should have been the winner: everything about her is a
statement about how beautiful a woman over 40 can be.
The winners were selected by a panel of judges including Editor-in-Chief of More, Lesley Jane Seymour; More Beauty and Fashion Director Lois Joy Johnson; designer Heidi Weisel; Wilhelmina chairman Dieter Esch; Wilhelmina agents Gina Barone and Ginni Conquest; celebrity make-up artist Sandy Linter and hair stylist Mitch Barry.
The lady who won the prize is Chung Winstanley from Short Hills, N.J.
A bravo to her and the 9 other ladies who gave us such a nice glance
at how age can make a woman even more beautiful then when in her
youth. Or as Shanah Luhmann’s mother repeatedly told her : “Inner
beauty must be polished before outer beauty can shine.”