By Jerry Zezima
The Stamford Advocate
My mom’s the very model of the modern modeling mother. And she could soon share a runway with Heidi Klum and other model moms because she (my mother, not Heidi) began her modeling career recently at a fashion show in Stamford.
Heidi, who’s 41, has gotten a lot more exposure, mainly because she’s not shy about wearing lingerie in public. Besides, she began her career as a teenager.
My mom, who’s a bit more modest, just turned 90.
Because 90 is the new 60, which happens to be my age, my mother was asked to take part in a fashion show at Chico’s, a women’s clothing chain with a store in the Stamford Town Center mall.
“I must have good genes,” my mother said.
“Did you wear jeans?” I asked.
“No,” she replied. “I had on a pair of boysenberry slacks.”
“What about a top?” I inquired.
“I was wearing one,” my mother assured me. “In fact, I wore a couple of tops.”
“At the same time?” I wondered.
My mother sighed, because she knows I have a fashion plate in my head, and explained that first she wore a print blouse and then changed into another top with a coordinating jacket.
I was going to ask if she also wore the diamond-studded, $10-million bra that Heidi Klum famously sported on the cover of the Victoria’s Secret catalog, but I thought better of it because Chico’s doesn’t sell stuff like that and this was, after all, my mother.
“But you could,” I suggested, “be in the Chico’s catalog.”
“Yes, she could,” said store manager Terry Mrijaj, whose name is pronounced “Terry.”
“Do you know that my mother is 90?” I asked when I called to talk about the new supermodel.
“She’s amazing,” Terry stated. “She’s stylish, elegant and beautiful. Whenever she comes in, customers remark on how great she looks in our clothes. She’s a walking advertisement for the store.”
Not bad considering my mom couldn’t walk a year and a half ago, when she fell and broke her leg. But she has bounced back — she didn’t bounce when she fell — and is driving again. And now, she’s modeling.
“She’s a natural,” said Terry, adding that the fashion show, a breast cancer fundraiser, featured seven models, the youngest of whom is in her teens. My mom, not surprisingly, is the oldest.
Terry knows from experience because she was runner-up in the Miss Teen New York pageant when she was 18. “I’m 45 now, so I’m half your mom’s age,” she said. “I hope I look that good when I’m 90.”
My mother said that when she was 16 or 17, she was asked to model a sable coat at Levine & Smith, a fur shop in New York City.
“My father was so insulted — he didn’t think modeling was very reputable — that he refused to let me do it and we never went back,” my mother remembered. “So I went into nursing.”
“Those white uniforms weren’t too stylish,” I noted.
“No, they weren’t,” my mother agreed. “I wear better clothes now.”
They include the fringe skirt and black top she wore to a family birthday bash.
“How does it feel to be 90?” I asked.
“Pretty good,” she said. “I don’t feel like it and I don’t act like it.”
“And,” added my wife, Sue, who shares her birthday with my mother but is, of course, considerably younger, “you don’t look like it.”
Sue should know because she could be a model herself.
My mother’s next gig will be another fashion show at Chico’s.
“I know your mom will be a hit again,” said Terry. “She’s a star.”
Let’s see if Heidi Klum can say that when she’s 90.
Copyright 2014 by Jerry Zezima