Anyone who's had the privilege of knowing Harriet Dobin knows that at 67 years old, she hasn't slowed down one iota. When she told me in 2017 that she was retiring from the Mandell JCC, I knew it wouldn't last long.
And it didn't.
This fall, she called from Philadelphia, where she moved to be closer to children and grandchildren. "Are you sitting down?" she asked. I was. "You know I've had some crazy ideas in the past, and I have a new one. I want to be a model. What do you think?"
She's attractive, has great hair, and an energetic, outgoing personality. She's all spirit and spunk. "I think that's great."
"Good, because I'm coming up and you're going to take the pictures for my portfolio."
She wouldn't hear that I wasn't really a fashion photographer. "You're the one."
Again, if you know Harriet, you know there's NO arguing once the idea train has left the station.
In her 'former' life, Harriet was well known in Greater Hartford as a PR person extraordinaire. She was the first person I called in July 2008 for advice when I was considering taking a buyout from the Hartford Courant and starting my own business. She was the first person who hired me for an assignment when I went freelance, and through her I worked for the Jewish Federation and the Mandell Jewish Community Center, shooting everything from summer camps to annual meetings, once climbing a ladder onto a hot tar roof in 100 degree weather to get a shot of a crowded pool at the JCC Swim and Tennis Club. I loved her energy, her mile long shot list, and her go-go-go spirit.
Flash forward to November 2017. We had a great two hours in my Easthampton MA studio as she changed from a cocktail dress to exercise clothes to jeans and a red top. She looked great in everything.
She made a promo card and hit the streets of Philadelphia. Reception: warm. It was Thanksgiving Week and she was signed by the Reinhard Agency as a lifestyle model. Gigs: hair and health products on QVC. The need for older women as models was growing she was told. After all, she is 67, looks 47, and acts 27.
And then BOOM.
Since the start of 2018 her reinvented career has taken off. A TV, social media and website campaign for a national home remodeler is on the air. Regional commercials for pharmaceutical and health care clients are in the can. She makes regular appearances on the international retail powerhouse QVC for well-known beauty, hair, makeup and skin care products. She recently signed with a new agent in New York City, Traci Luthy at Bona Fide Artists and has booked numerous castings for major brands. Regular auditions and call backs in Philly are a way of life now.
It's funny how things work out. Back in 2008, Harriet was instrumental in helping me take a risk and move into a second career, and in 2018 I got to return the favor, and play a small part in helping her reinvent herself.
GO HARRIET!!!! Break down barriers and show us all about aging with grace, beauty and fun!!!