Larson Hunt: On Becoming a Model

Model Larson Hunt wears Linen scarf by KVaughn Summer 2024
Larson Hunt. Photo: Tony Ward Copyright 2024

Text by Larson Hunt, Copyright 2024

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On Becoming a Model

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In my mind, I was tagging along with my dad for a photoshoot. Why? The sole reason was that he needed help carrying his equipment up over five flights of stairs. To think this would be the start of the string of events sparking my love for the worlds of art and fashion was all too fun to ponder. The shoot for my dad  took place at the James Oliver Gallery, in Philadelphia. I was doing my small part away from the cameras. That was until the director, K.Vaughn, wanted to shoot me for an up and coming collection of scarves. This started my relationship with K.Vaughn. He was already good friends with my dad, they embarked on the project of renovating  his atelier/ home. Once again, I tagged along. I got a unique window into the life of the creative mind of K.Vaughn. My respect and admiration for him and the art he surrounded himself with grew. 

It wasn’t too long until he called me in for another photoshoot, and another, and so on. It wasn’t just photoshoots that I helped with either. He requested me for his exclusive bistro parties, sudden pop up shops, and the occasional hang out. At this point, I considered him my fashion uncle. KV hit me up for a photoshoot at the Rittenhouse Grill, and told me he’s bringing in another photographer. It was Tony Ward. 

I could tell that Tony was more than just a photographer. He’s a man that has the collective creativity of thousands of minds. KV would go on to book two shoots at Tony’s  studio. It was during those shoots that I got to know Tony and hear his stories. Over the course of several conversations, I was able to understand some of his philosophies. Tony understands that life is a gift full of struggles, and triumphs. Furthermore he (Tony) teaches that over time life reveals that you need your struggles to be directed towards the triumphs you dream of. This is reflected in his confidence about his work. He knows that his triumphs are the works of art he produces, and the people he decides to invite into his life. With all of these wonderful lessons and experiences I’ve absorbed, my inspiration to continue this absurd string of good fortune has been further strengthened. I can tell it will lead me to places I’d never imagine, but I feel as though I already belong.

 

Milton White: Linen is HOT!!!


Text by Milton White, Copyright 2024

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Linen is HOT!!!

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Photographs and Video Clip by Ted Kawalerski, Copyright 2024

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The photographers, models, creative director and assistants gathered on the grounds at Tony Ward’s studio for what became a great collaboration of talent. 
 
Each of us being inspired to bring life to the product…Kvaughn Scarves.
 
***Love, Unabridged – Prose and Poetry by Zachary Starr.But where does inspiration come from? Some say that it is born from the depths of our souls, a wellspring of creativity that flows endlessly within us. Others believe it to be a gift from the universe, bestowed upon those who are open to receiving its divine wisdom.***
 
I have been a muse for Kvaughn Scarves for many years, always wanting more to show off Kevin’s gift of finding fabrics and patterns that turns heads not only at special events, but also everyday wear.
 
The Parisian scenes and settings in the TWS studio are provided by TW. The outdoor scenes are also exceptional, provided by the enclave and grounds at TWS.
 
Though we had planned to shoot until 2pm, we wrapped an hour earlier. We were on fire! The flow of energy throughout each setting kept us all on top of our game. 
 
Matt Sampson, aka the sneaker guy, brought colors that completed the look for each scene.
 
Larson Hunt, model extraordinaire, was playful on the tire swing, blow up pool and for a finale, he got hosed down in linen.
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KV (Kvaughn), always creative, wore his scarves with style and flare, as only he can.
 
I, myself, was simply there…natural.
 
The photographers, TW, Ted Kawalerski (who visited from New York), AlbFor and Isiah, and the assistants Brian Hunt and Tony Colagreco gave their all in making the magic happen.
 
Afterwards, we sat down around food, drinks, good music and conversation.
 
Sunday was a day to unwind, regroup and refresh our vision for the next shoot. KV, Brian Hunt and TW joined me at my cabana poolside for a dip in the pool. Cocktails, lunch, music and conversation (which lead to a little brainstorming) defeating our purpose for the time together, but we did return to relaxing with drinks. Then a final dip before saying farewell to until we meet again.
 
Looking forward to our next venture!
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poolside with Milton White and fashion designer KVaughn
Poolside: KVaughn and Milton White:  Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2024

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Milton White models KVaughn scave 100% linen 2024 summer collection
Milton White. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2024

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About The Author: 
Milton White is a fashion aficionado, collector and consultant.  He is currently creative assistant to KVaughn Studio and style editor at TWS. To access additional articles by Milton White, link here: https://tonyward.com/milton-white-the-supreme-diva/
 

Kitchie Ohh: There’s Always One

Portrait of glamour model Kitchie Ohh for Tony Ward Studio
Kitchie Ohh: Photo: Victor Devilbliss, Copyright 2024

Text by Kitchie Ohh, Copyright 2024

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There’s Always One

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I have worked damn hard to get where I am, professionally. Believe me when I say there is no one harder on me than me when it comes to judging the role I play, the work I produce, and its impact on the bigger picture. Despite what anyone says to the contrary about the quality of my work, I often focus on what went ‘wrong’ and kick myself for it.  There is always a level of self-doubt, the moments of confidently feeling I know exactly what I’m doing are amazing, but even when they arrive I tend to downplay the feeling. However, my current role – it’s been over a year, I should stop calling it “new”- is slowly changing this. I have a great boss. I have a great team. And most of my colleagues are amazing.

Most. But definitely not all. There’s always one. Everyone seems to know about them; their personality issues, their comments, lack of collaboration, expectation that their way is the right way, the ONLY way. And yet, no one does anything about it. Instead, there are miles of workarounds, modifications to processes that make them a tad more complicated but increasingly more likely to get past this person with their probably unnecessary, but historically asked for anyway, approval. It’s frustrating and creates problems where there should be none, and comes complete with thinly veiled insults hurled regularly. 

My first run in with this particular brick wall, occurred very early in my role with this organization. I was asked to create a communications strategy for the year. I presented it, complete with a content calendar, and a regular series of collaboration meetings to ensure my pant was aligned with, but did not compete with, anything other outreach across the company. I take this moment to point out that this task is not outside of my skill set. It actually is exactly what I have been doing for much of my career, very successfully. It is also very much on track for the focus of my university-issued academic degree.  So, there I found myself, in this known to be difficult person’s office at a table that was too small for our group of five- them, me, my boss, and two additional colleagues. When the plan was presented, all but this person were happy to have something in place to keep things on track and on brand. I felt extremely proud of what I had put together. And then it happened. This ONE person finally chimed in, asking who would be creating content, who would be responsible for that part, because there was money in the budget for them to add someone to their team to handle it as we had no one with that qualification on staff. I was shocked. I had just presented the plan, clearly stating that this was MY role, MY team would be leading the effort, with review and input from the people at this table. Before I could open my mouth, my boss calmly looked this person in the face and stated, “no additional staff is needed as this plan was created by the extremely qualified individual already on staff, and her team. She called this meeting and is sitting directly across from you.” To say that went over terribly is an understatement. Silence fell, the meeting ended, and by the time I walked back to my office, the remaining meetings in the series were declined by this person with no explanation and no offer to reschedule. It happened, the professional equivalent of packing up toys and going home because the kids weren’t playing by your rules.  I was a mixture of feeling angry and insulted, but also proud that I didn’t have to defend myself, my boss handled it – showing full support of me and my work.

As a result of this failed collaboration attempt, it was left to me to devise a new plan that involved this person without the need for meeting with them. A precedent had been set that their input and approval was required. If we attempted to proceed without it, a flag was raised at the last minute and we, literally, had to start over.  I tried. I was not having my work derailed ever again by one person’s ego. So, everything filtered through my boss, still does. An extended time frame was factored into the original plan I created that allows this person ample time to complete their portion of the project. Though they agreed to the revised plan, I can count on one hand the number of times they actually adhered to it since that day. It’s been a year of communications, sometimes several per week, gently, and then not-so-gently reminding this person to do what they agreed to do by specific deadlines. And a near year of my having to rework timelines when those specific deadlines come and go with no response. Peppered throughout this year were plenty of other insults and not so constructive criticism. 

I have a fairly thick skin and a wild stubborn streak when it comes to people like this. I will not react as everyone else up until this point has. I will not compromise my hard work and the good I know it will do, simply because it’s easier to just give up or give in to doing everything their way. As annoying as these exhibited behaviors are, I can deal with them while advocating for myself and the job I have been tasked with doing to get it done. However, this person also has the nasty habit of speaking down to people, in a way that can only be described as bullying because they only do it to people who take it, the ones who are visibly shaken after any conversation with this person. I have watched it happen, they are sought out to be used as a kind of punching bag. I refuse to stand for this behavior in or out of the workplace, and that goes double when it happens to people on my team. I keep a running documentation of incidents. I informed my entire team, not just those who report to me, that if this person reaches out for anything they are to be referred to me for assistance. Whatever they need falls under my role. Effective immediately. It was rough going for a while, but over time I learned and still am learning ways to navigate the mess that was made long before I signed on.

There has been progress, though. Some wins, some losses, definite compromise. Shockingly, on both sides! The only constant has been me, holding myself and this person accountable. If we have to work together, then we will do so in a way that isn’t entirely mine, or theirs, it’s ours;  a mutually agreed upon, respectful, path forward. As more people sign on and join in, we see more forward momentum. As we work together to prove that through true collaboration, we can accomplish so much more, the power this person has held for so long begins to wane. The control they slowly gained over people and projects that never should have involved them is being given back to those to whom it belonged. Of all the things I’m proud of since beginning this job, this is pretty high up on the list. And we still have a long way to go. 

If there’s always that one person who makes things hard for everyone else, shouldn’t there also be that one who steps up to them? I know which one I want to be, and the one I never will. 

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Portrait of glamour model Kitchie Ohh for Tony Ward Studio
Kitchie Ohh: Photo: Victor Devilbliss, Copyright 2024

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Kitchie Ohh is a full-time professional fundraiser who has worked with a number of health and human services nonprofits in the Philadelphia area over the last 20 years. She found her passion for modeling after a pinup-style photoshoot in 2013. Since then, she has worked with many talented photographers, stylists, hair and makeup artists in a variety of styles. She has been featured in- and on the covers of – multiple print and digital publications. Over the years, she has branched out from pinup studio modeling to serve as a figure model for live sketching, walked a runway, and was part of two campaigns for Philadelphia designer K. Vaughn.

In addition to her philanthropy-focused career, she has volunteered with art, historical, and community organizations, and even the events team of a local brewery for a while, pre-pandemic.

You’re just as likely to find her whipping up something deliciously plant-based in her kitchen or knitting a sweater as you are to find her on a photography set. Her motto is “be both.” The model and the homemaker, sultry and sweet, serious and silly. All the things, all at once. To access additional articles by Kitchie Ohh, link here: https://tonyward.com/kitchie-ohh-rebuilding-my-self-esteem/

Kitchie Ohh: Rebuilding My Self-Esteem

Glamour model Kitchie Ohh in a bath tub wearing lingerie
Kitchie Ohh. Photo: Regina Marie Photography, Copyright 2024

Text by Kitchie Ohh,  Copyright 2024

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Rebuilding My Selfesteem

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As I sat down to write this I began as I always do, reflecting on how I even got to write this column. . It all started with a picture. Several pictures really. 

 A vanity project turned hobby, pinup photo shoots, began as something just for me. Dressing up, having full hair and makeup, pretending for a few hours while someone captures those moments. What’s not to love? Those sessions were a large part of rebuilding my self-esteem. They helped me find myself and my voice. This was especially true when I began having photosets published in magazines. I never did it for the attention. Contrary to popular belief there is NO money in it. It was validation. I was good enough to be included and felt good enough to even try. 

Exploring this interest over the last decade or so also introduced me to some incredibly interesting and talented people. Photographers, makeup and hair artists, clothing and accessory designers, musicians, performers, and of course other models. For all the similarities that made our paths cross in the first place, there were countless differences that made us unique. 

Initially, I felt incredibly welcomed into this community of retro-loving people. There were invitations to events, public and private, all the time. There were social groups that used common interests to benefit charitable causes. My professional fundraiser heart was so happy, I dove in headfirst. My skills and professional experience allowed me to lean in where I could be helpful with fundraising, social media, organization, volunteer management, anything and everything. It felt great. Until it didn’t.

Despite all outward claims of being welcoming and celebrating diversity in the scene, there was so much judgment, so many cliques, and far too much backstabbing where there should have been support. I speak in past tense due to removing myself from this social scene, but I cannot imagine much has changed since.

I found that, more often than not, inclusion came with a price. IF your uniqueness made you useful to someone or a group, you were included. If not, some other reason would be conjured as to why you weren’t included or invited. I also discovered that as much as you might hear words of encouragement to be yourself and not make comparisons, that wasn’t the standard practice. There was constant comparing and contrasting, not so quiet and not at all kind judgment of why one person’s appearance wasn’t as good as another’s, how their expression of themselves was inappropriate or not authentic. Be yourself, but in the way WE say is correct, or risk the potentially damaging repercussions. It’s not a competition, but I am way better than you. It was never said aloud, but generally understood, and felt.

In fact, one of the biggest things I grew to dislike about this part of my social history, was a blatant disregard of the ideas that “this isn’t a competition,” and “there’s no judgment here.” Yes, The Pinup Contest. I have been a contestant, judge and organizer in a few. I took home a crown once; it was a very strange feeling. 

I soon realized why. In an environment where you’re told everyone is welcomed and there’s no judgement or comparison, one of the biggest entertainment outlets is to literally make a contest out of comparing people to one another and awarding prizes to the best. There were always nerves and self-conscious comments expressed by contestants, myself and my friends included. Inevitably, those feelings and comments got reinforced if/when someone else was deemed the winner. There was also the all-too-common occurrence that the winner was not genuinely congratulated. Instead there were whispered accusations about how or why they won and other nasty things said that made those who didn’t win feel better about the loss.  In which case, there really was not a winner.  

Looking back, there was absolutely nothing award-winning about my responses or appearance on the day I won that contest. I was simply familiar to the organizer. I had never entered any previous contest with them but by simply having attended other events, I was the best choice. It wasn’t exactly fair. Having made that realization, I never entered another contest and was extra careful to check my biases when judging the few I was involved with after. 

It’s been several years since I’ve even considered myself a member of this community. Sure, there are individuals with whom I maintain friendships, but I no longer seek out events and contests with the crowd at large that pit women against one another. No disrespect to those who still put on the shows, attend and participate in the contests; they are just no longer for me. I’m a much happier person when I’m more concerned with showing up as the best version of myself and less so with actively trying to prove I’m better than anyone else. Because I’m not. 

I ended up right back where it all began; doing things just for me. Blog contributions help me get thoughts out of my head, and maybe put an idea in someone else’s that changes their perspective; or at the very least allows them to kill a few minutes. I haven’t taken new photos in quite some time, but maybe I need to…just for me. 

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Kitchie Ohh is a full-time professional fundraiser who has worked with a number of health and human services nonprofits in the Philadelphia area over the last 20 years. She found her passion for modeling after a pinup-style photoshoot in 2013. Since then, she has worked with many talented photographers, stylists, hair and makeup artists in a variety of styles. She has been featured in- and on the covers of – multiple print and digital publications. Over the years, she has branched out from pinup studio modeling to serve as a figure model for live sketching, walked a runway, and was part of two campaigns for Philadelphia designer K. Vaughn.

In addition to her philanthropy-focused career, she has volunteered with art, historical, and community organizations, and even the events team of a local brewery for a while, pre-pandemic.

You’re just as likely to find her whipping up something deliciously plant-based in her kitchen or knitting a sweater as you are to find her on a photography set. Her motto is “be both.” The model and the homemaker, sultry and sweet, serious and silly. All the things, all at once. To access additional articles by Kitchie Ohh, link here: https://tonyward.com/kitchie-ohh-place-my-job-is-to-help/

Tracey Olkus: The Latest Vixen

 

Text by Tracey Olkus, Copyright 2024

Photography and Set Design: Tony Ward, Copyright 2024

Styling and Creative Direction: KVaughn

Lighting Assistant: Anthony Colagreco

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THE LATEST VIXEN

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I have had the honor of working with Tony Ward only a few times over the last couple decades-most recently with Ellen Tiberino for The Vixen Series. So when Tony asked if I would be a part of this project, I thought he meant behind the scenes doing hair and makeup.  I was shocked when I realized that he wanted to photograph ME.  I’m never in front of the camera. I don’t even take selfies.
 
I love creating Vixens and encouraging Vixens,  but I had never thought of myself as a Vixen. I think of a Vixen as a woman who breaks from tradition, supersedes expectations and takes control of her destiny. She exudes confidence and sexuality.  She IS fire!  Well, part of that is definitely me.  I have been an entrepreneur most of my life. I have never had the patience to wait around for things to happen.  I have been told that I’m outspoken. And I only know how to do things in my own weird ways. I’m a sexual being through and through but I have never considered myself to be sexy.  When I told Tony this, he assured me that I was in good hands. And THAT I believed. I stepped out of my comfort zone and let him take the lead.  And it was a wild ride!
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Portrait of hair stylist Tracey Olkus wearing black sheer dress on night out in Paris
Tracey Olkus. The Vixens Series. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2024

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

For almost two decades, Tracey Olkus  has been transforming faces and elevating styles from her private studio in Philadelphia. Specializing in everything from everyday glam to commercial shoots to TV and film. 

 
Tracey’s artistic interests extend beyond the chair. With a passion for costuming, she crafts bespoke headdress designs available through commissioned works.  
 
As the curator of The Performance Salon, Tracey provides a platform for emerging and established artists to showcase their talents in an intimate setting. From musicians, to thespians, writers to chefs, The Performance Salon has become a hub for artistic expression with performances that leave audiences mesmerized.
 
But Tracey’s interests go beyond her professional pursuits . A dedicated patron of the arts and the finer things in life, she enjoys hosting extravagant dinner parties and whimsical camping trips…often simultaneously.
 
When it is time to escape, Tracey can be found exploring the world, talking to strangers, and collecting stories from every corner of the globe. And along the way, she is most happy to have has amassed an eclectic collection of friends that share her passion for the extraordinary.