Cammy Kelly in her modeling days (she absolutely looks the same today!).
Today I am profiling yet another of my “superstar” models…as with all my models Cammy was always professional, delightful to be around, and, of course, gorgeous! Cammy was a total chameleon…she became the “character” of the clothes, especially when in the Bob Mackie shows, which were always “Broadway” productions. As with most of my “girls”, she hung up her modeling pumps much too soon. Cammy has gone on to a hugely successful career as a hair and make-up artist for photography for commercial print as well as personal photographs. She has always had a talent for theater, in fact, while she was pursuing an extremely successful modeling career she was also acting in local theatrical productions, most notably at the Red Orchid Theater.
Nena’s note: A photo I had taken to be used for the front of an invitation for an evening gown collection show we did as a benefit for the Architecture Foundation of Chicago. Cammy is on the magnificent staircase in the lobby of the Railway Exchange Building (aka the Santa Fe Building!) where the Architecture Foundation of Chicago makes its home. I always began these shows (we did several there…a post, of course, at a future time) and with the models coming down the staircase and would end with them placed on the stairs for a dramatic finale. Photographer unknown.
Here in Cammy’s words are her reflections on her modeling career.
“I was a model for 16 years and I traveled and had a great career! Doing runway was an especially rewarding and exciting time in my life. It taught me a lot about grace, poise, being professional and working together with everyone to have the best show possible. Runway is in the moment so you have to be able to think quick and have confidence, anything can happen, from wardrobe malfunctions (hahaha) to slippery catwalks, to having the music go out! Sometimes you just have to ad lib and make the best of every situation, because you can’t have a do-over, and that has helped me tremendously in my life. We all became a family and helped each other out. There was never a dull moment, and boy did we have are laughs.
With Jeanouche and Lauren.
Backstage with the modeling crew.
The Bob Mackie shows were so much fun, we became another character with each outfit, and he was a doll to work with! Loved the wig!! It was a very exciting time waiting for the lights to go up the music to start and the audience reaction!! It was all about giving 110% performance!!”
The Cammy drama!
NI: Can you recall the first time you worked for Saks Fifth Avenue Chicago…
“Wow that’s a good question and I can’t remember the first show..but I do remember I did an audition for you and had to walk but I don’t remember what for. All I can recall is that all of the Saks shows were very well put together and organized to the tee! You always did an impeccable job with staging, music, lighting, and there was never any backstage chaos. I opened a lot of the shows and Bob Mackie and Oscar de la Renta were always the best. Also, Jacqueline DeRibes, Richard Tyler, Bill Blass, Adolfo, James Galanos (those were the tiniest clothes I’ve ever seen, and I was tiny back then), Carolina Herrara, Carolyn Roehm, Geoffrey Beene, Michael Kors, Narciso Rodriguez, and many more.
Cammy in an embroidered lace gown.
Another runway shot.
I decide to move my career in another direction and started doing makeup and hair for photo shoots and commercials in 1997. I love working with models and collaborating with photographers, art directors, stylists and everyone else on the shoots!”
The following are notes from Cammy’s profile: http://www.factorchosenchicago.com/talent/cammy-kellly-43080?page=1
“For two decades Cammy Kelly has been a successful make-up & hair stylist, a career built upon the foundation of her many years on the other side of the camera as a successful model. Cammy brings a wealth of experience in the fashion and commercial print industry to every assignment. Cammy is currently based in Chicago but travels all over the country for shoots.
From a very young age, Cammy’s artistic talents were encouraged and developed with help from her engineer/designer father. She continued to study the arts throughout high school and as her major in college. As a fledgling mode,l she parlayed her talents in portraiture and design into an ability to create her own unique styles for the camera, building her reputation for exceptional make-up and hair design.
Cammy has created styles for such celebrities as Ellen Burstyn, John Lithgow, Nikki Hilton, Pearl Jam, David Schwimmer, Anna Nicole-Smith, Olympia Dukakis, Anna Gastyer, Beverly Johnson, Michelle Monaghan and others. Her work has appeared in many publications including Seventeen, Rolling Stone, W Magazine, Marie Claire, Lucky, Blender, Chicago Magazine, Tribune Magazine, and CS.
Her corporate clients include Lexus, Visa, Unilever, Bacardi, Wahl Group, Ulta, Sears and State Farm – as well as newscasters from ABC, NBC and CBS.
She has worked with her photographer husband, Terry David Drew, as well as Verser Englehardt, Jack Perno, David Anthony, Greg Lotus, Victor Skrebneski and Albert Watson among many others. Cammy’s career has involved extensive travel both home and abroad, in studio, and on location.”
Nena’s note: Cammy and Terry…they are the most adorable couple ever and their talents are unequaled. Terry has done several wonderful photos for me, (of me, with Cammy making me look extremely glam, and group shots with my models, I treasure each shot he has done!)
“Having been on both sides of the camera, Cammy is able to understand everyone’s vision and how all elements are involved in the final product. “I’m part of the collaboration with the photographer, client, and talent.”’
Moose and Cammy…photo by Terry David Drew.
Cammy today, what is with my models….they never age!!!!
Thank you so much, Cammy, for sharing a bit of your story with my readers. You are a true professional in every sense of the word and were a joy to work with!
All photos, with the exception of Cammy on the staircase, courtesy of Cammy Kelly.