September 9, 2009 Edition

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Crum has exciting,
whirlwind summer



Hollyann Crum models a gown by designer Tony Bowls at Atlanta's International Fashion Week, where she was a runway model for Bowls Aug. 17 through Aug. 24.
Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

Hollyann Crum of Walnut Ridge has had a whirlwind summer, the kind she says she dreamed of as a little girl. She went from beauty queen to a runway model in a month's time. And she will also be appearing on a reality show in January.

She competed in the Miss Arkansas 2009 pageant in Hot Springs July 12-18 as Miss South Arkansas and came home as third runner-up and overall swimsuit award winner. Her success brought her $8,800 in scholarship monies.

On August 8, she was crowned Miss White River in Batesville, a Miss Arkansas preliminary. The prize package included an $1,100 scholarship, a trip to the Miss America Pageant in January and a chance to compete in the Miss Arkansas pageant in 2010.

She currently holds the titles of Miss South Arkansas and Miss White River.

Shortly after the Miss Arkansas pageant she was invited by fashion designer Tony Bowls to model for him at market at Atlanta's International Fashion Week from Aug. 17 through Aug. 24.

"What little girl doesn't dream of an experience like this," Crum said. "I'm really so thankful for the opportunity.

She volunteered as a "Vanna White" at the Arkansas Children's Hospital Charity Ball on Aug. 14 in Little Rock, before she flew to Atlanta on Aug. 17.

Bowls is originally from Little Rock, and his collections have drawn top reviews by retailers worldwide. He has 20 years of retail experience and owned and managed his own retail outlet for the better part of 12 years. Bowls now works as a designer for Mon Cheri, a bridal and formalwear company. In addition to his pageant line, Tony Bowls for Mon Cheri, he is also the designer of Paris by Tony Bowls, Le Gala by Tony Bowls, Tony Bowls Collections and Tony Bowls Evenings.

Bowls has designed dresses for Miss America and Miss USA contestants, and his designs were featured on the first season of MTV's reality show, Tiara's Girls, as well as Barker's Beauties during CBS's "The Price is Right Million Dollar Spectacular," Bob Barker's final appearance in prime time TV. His designs were worn on "High School Musical III" and have been worn by celebrities all over the world.

"I was one of the 10 models he hired for market week," she said. "I was the only one from Arkansas and modeled beside Miss Massachusetts America, Miss Indiana America and Miss Kentucky USA (who was fourth runner-up in this year's Miss USA pageant). The other young women were professional models."

Her week as a model was a busy one, Crum said. Vendors worldwide attend market to stock their stores for the upcoming year. Eveningwear, everyday clothes, jewelry, prom and pageant wear, pretty much everything buyers want were on display.

"There were three runway shows each day, Wednesday through Sunday," she said, adding that they were her favorite part of her experience. "We each modeled five gowns from each of his collections for a total of 25 gowns apiece at every show.

"I had a mini celebrity experience. We each had a dresser, a makeup artist and a hair designer. Changes had to be completed in about three minutes, including our dresses, shoes and accessories. Our shows lasted an hour and 45 minutes."

Bowls' shows are a production, according to Crum. They include new, up-to-date music and the models do some sort of dance moves or choreography as they walk the runway. During the mornings they had rehearsals and run-throughs.

Between shows, Crum said she and the other models walked by several other designers' showrooms and the models and buyers there didn't appear to be having much fun.

"We were told we were by far the people's favorites," she said. "I had so many offers to model for other designers in the future. They wanted to know the name of my agent!

"I laughed and told them how honored I was, and then I gave them my business card."

Crum is a fulltime student at Williams Baptist College where she is pursuing a degree in English with a minor in communication arts, but said that any offers made that wouldn't interfere with her education goals would be opportunities she would love to accept. Modeling is something she loves to do, and the money is great, but she intends to pursue her education.

"I loved the fashions, and Bowls was a sweetheart to work with," Crum said. "He took care of all of us and would tell us after each show what a good job we had done and how many dresses he had sold. (He sold a lot, she said.)

"It doesn't matter if you are tired, it doesn't matter if your feet hurt from wearing five-inch heels or it doesn't matter if you don't like your hairdo, when you put on a Tony Bowls dress there is no way you cannot feel like a million bucks going down the runway," she said.

Crum said her favorite dress was a one-of-a-kind gown from the Tony Bowls Collection line. "Each of us wore one in the finale of every show. The other dresses and gowns have been mass produced for sale, but these ten gowns were gowns no one else in the world had ever worn."

Bowls has a reality show that will begin airing in January, and the film crew taped the runway show several times to get clips for the show. They did some additional taping in the dressing room where the models did teasers for the upcoming show. Crum said the film crew also did some taping for the show at the Miss Arkansas pageant in July.

While she was in Atlanta, Crum had the opportunity to try out for the reality show America's Next Top Model because auditions were being held while she was there. "I made it through the first cut, but was told that even though they liked my look, this year's models need to be tall, tall, tall," she said. "I'm 5'8", just not tall enough for this season."

Home again and back in classes at WBC, Crum says of her week as a model, "My feet are still numb on the bottom, but it was so worth it. Dreams can come true - this one did for me."

A 2006 graduate of Walnut Ridge High School, she is the daughter of John and Karen Crum and the granddaughter of Virginia Crum and Helen Rash, all of Walnut Ridge.

(To view Tony Bowls designs, visit tonybowls.com)

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