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Interview With a Difference Maker Version 7.1

I am pleased introduce my audience to Jackie Bertolette!

Jackie Bertolette is a photographer I met at The Cleveland Photo fest. One thing lead to another and she allowed me the gift of walking the fashion show for Ohio Fashion Week. It was an experience I won’t soon forget! But there is so much more to Jackie.

With over 30 years as a professional photographer focusing on fashion, as a graphic designer focusing on marketing and an entrepreneur focusing on retail, it was a natural progression for Jackie to launch her own fashion magazine. She is the Founder, Editor In Chief, Creative Director and Lead Fashion Photographer of Haute Ohio Magazine. Jackie is also Executive Producer of Ohio Fashion Week and manager at DMSM – Discovered! Model Scouting & Management Group. Additionally she designs her own line, RJ Luna Haute Clothier. If she was looking for more to do, she is Editorial Fashion Photographer at jacqueline j photographic arts and Co-Founder and Fashion Producer of FashionALLIANCE and Founder Great Lakes Fashion Network. And oh yeah, a busy Mom!

Given who I am and the subject matter of my blog, I am going to ask questions regarding your support of inclusion and diversity. What was the impetus for you to make this such a large part of everything you do?

The impetus for inclusion was solidified in the time that my youngest son was facing brain damage and his ultimate recovery from his illness. However, I have always felt that everyone has a worth and that regardless of the outer shell, the inner person is the most important part of the human. Whether you are black, white, poor, rich, Christian, agnostic, challenged, lgbtq, tall, petite, plus, child, mature, etc you have value and helping others find their value and love for themselves is my given purpose on this earth.

Looking at the big picture in the fashion and modeling industry over your career to date, how has the industry improved in this area? Where do you see it now? Where do you see it going?

I have been involved in the fashion/modeling/photography industry since I was 19 years old in one way or another. And while there has been a shift it has not been enough in my eyes. The main markets are still very focused on the beauty and height of the models and are not likely to be dissuaded from that point of view for some time yet. It is happening but it is very slow. Frankly, until recently, the focus for fashion has been to sell the fantasy of looking like a model. If the model doesn’t look like someone a potential consumer might want to emulate, then they lose their ideology and then a new paradigm shift arises. The good news is that the more (I like to call) “in-touch markets” understand that people no longer want to be “like someone else ”, they want to be the best they can be. Opening up the opportunities for models of all sizes, diversities, lifestyles and ages can only catapult the industry forward and capture the eyes of a new and broader demographic.

I know we discussed this over coffee recently, but for my readers, what advice would you give someone like myself (with the twin challenges of being old and transgendered) who has an interest in at least dipping her toes in the industry?

I believe that the industry is becoming more of an open opportunity for everyone and regardless of your individuality and the best way to get started is to believe in yourself. Learn as much as you can about the craft. Take modeling classes, study glamour on the internet. Practice, practice, practice your walk and posing! Then begin to attend shows, events and mixers. Be seen and introduce yourself. Tell everyone who will listen that you want to give this a try. If you are super bold, then attend a casting! They are relatively easily available via FaceBook groups. Join these groups and take the leap! You only have your dream to loose and if you don’t risk you are guaranteed to not reach your goals! Just Do IT!

Check out the entire Difference Makers series!


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