Model of Success

Fashionista lends a hand to local talent

By Ashley Luthern


After more than 40 years in the modeling, fashion and television industries, most people would retire. Local fashionista Susan Henderson began a new venture.

Two months ago, the 69-year-old self- described “maverick” created the Susan Henderson Group, a collective that aims to foster local talent in all aspects of the fashion industry.

“Like in the Catholic church, service is a part of my winter years,” Henderson said.

“These young people have no money, they’re beautiful and they don’t have a chance of making it. They get all the wrong direction and waste college money on ridiculous things.”

All consults with Henderson are free, but workshops such as fashion merchandising will have a small fee to cover the cost of the instructor. The Susan Henderson Group includes professionals such as photographer Michael Stephen, who has collaborated with Henderson for more than 20 years.

“[Henderson] has an unlimited amount of energy and a lot of charisma,” Stephen said. “She’s very focused and very well-known.”

Henderson has been the director of modeling agencies, organized fashions shows and is the image consultant for WFMJ Channel 21. She recently directed a swimsuit segment for the station featuring her models ranging in age from 16 to 39 years old.

“Modeling is fun and glamorous,” said Jennifer Weaver, 28, of Boardman. “Susan teaches you to love yourself on the runway. I think a lot of other people or clients might not be so nice.”

But Henderson also knows that not all of her clients will have a full-time modeling career.

“I was a maverick. I would take the parents aside and say, ‘Your daughter will not be on the cover of a magazine,’” she said. “But look at it this way, if she gets a good college education, is a good student, then she can do public relations, run a company, do fashion merchandising.”

The Susan Henderson Group is partnering with Dillard’s at the Southern Park Mall and Model and Talent Expos to find models for an upcoming Back to School Fashion Show.

The audition begins at 10 a.m. July 31 at Dillard’s. To register or for more information, visit

Henderson said anyone, regardless of age or gender, with a curiosity about the modeling, fashion or television industry can contact the group at 330-568-1931.

“The most important thing, I say today to people, is their own confidence level,” she said.

“I’m not going to say you should wear blue not red. ... You can be a size 14 or 16 but still wear clothes that make you confident.”

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