Georgiana native sets a picture perfect#039; example

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 26, 2003

When you hear the term &uot;male model&uot;, it tends to conjure up images of a preening, not overly bright ‘pretty boy’ type who’s obsessed with the nearest mirror.

Meet 21-year-old Georgiana native Frederick Smith, however, and that image is quickly shattered.

Oh, the lanky six-foot, three-inch tall Smith has the requisite model’s cheekbones, for sure, along with a killer smile and the ability to project the right mood for the camera.

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He’s appeared on fashion runways in front of thousands of people.

He’s about to have dozens of professional head and fashion shots bound into his first modeling portfolio.

But male model Frederick Smith also is an energetic Best Buy sales associate and hard-working college student who goes by the name of Fred Smith.

Smith is closing in on a bachelor’s degree in pre-law and criminal justice at Faulkner University (he’s set to graduate in December of this year). After that, &uot;I’m looking to pursue a graduate degree in either political science or criminal justice,&uot; he says.

As a teen, the 1999 Georgiana High School graduate says he never dreamed he’d one day be posing in front of a camera for professionals or learning how to audition for commercials.

What started as a lark in 2001, when Smith answered an open call by Model Search America, has today blossomed into a promising career.

&uot;I went to a regional review in New Orleans after the open call in Montgomery and walked the runway in front of 40 top modeling scouts and about 5,000 people…boy, I was scared.

&uot;There were more people there than in my entire home town. That runway seemed like it was a mile long,&uot; the good-humored student candidly admits.

Still, the novice made an impression and shots posted on Model Search’s website got him several callbacks.

Smith juggled modeling assignments with school and sales work until the increasing demands of his university life &uot;made me decide to put the whole modeling thing on hold for a while.&uot;

&uot;I was very involved with my studies and student activities at Faulkner—and school was always my first priority, anyway,&uot; he explains.

In February of 2003, Smith received a call from a Birmingham modeling agency, …lan, an affiliate of John Casablancas and the Elite Agency. It seems …lan owners Sherry Stevens and Andy Evans saw Smith’s photos on the Model Search website and wanted to sign him up for modeling school.

&uot;I found out Casablancas is THE biggest name in the modeling world…I thoroughly checked everything out and I was impressed.

You do have to do your homework, there are a lot of scam artists out there,&uot; Smith warns.

The Faulkner student began making regular treks to Birmingham where he learned runway technique, posture, posing for photo shoots, makeup (&uot;Oh, I have much more respect for what girls do every day—my first attempt, I looked like a clown&uot;) and learning the proper way to audition for commercials.

&uot;I loved doing the commercial auditions—as a salesman, I already know how to sell myself and I feel I have an outgoing personality.

My classmates were impressed,&uot; he notes with a grin.

With his training now completed and a contract with Birmingham’s busiest modeling agency in place, Smith feels good about his future prospects—wherever they may lead him.

&uot;Who knows what doors will open?

Still, I’m not one to rush things.

I’m putting my faith in God,&uot; he explains, adding, &uot;If the modeling career is meant to be, I will make it.

If not, I’ll be fine.

I’ll always have my education.&uot;

Whatever the future may hold for Smith, he credits his small town upbringing with helping him reach high while keeping his feet planted firmly on the ground.

&uot;I feel so blessed to have grown up in the buckle of the Bible Belt with Christian morals and values, and good manners, instilled in me.

I love Georgiana—if my career aspirations didn’t mean I need to live in a larger place, man, I’d be living there,&uot; he says.

The pastor of Georgiana’s Washington Street Church of Christ, Bro. Robert Davison, would be thrilled to have Smith back in town as a role model for other young men.

&uot;Fred is very family-oriented.

He lost his mom at a critical age and he had those two younger sisters who needed him…he stepped right up and took charge. So many young people, when they suffer a loss like Fred’s, just never seem to get over it,&uot; says Bro. Davison.

&uot;Fred, however, seemed to always have this inner strength that allowed him to overcome having no mother or father in the home.

He has a sincerity that is beyond reproach—he’s an excellent role model,&uot; Davison adds.

Indeed, this up-and-coming model says he strives to be a good role model for youth, starting with his two sisters, Andrea, 15, and Chontaul, 12. &uot;Right now, I am a Big Brother in the Big Brother/Big sister program in Montgomery and I really enjoy it.

&uot;But, first and foremost, I am always going to be my sisters’ big brother.

I think they will always need me,&uot; he smiles, adding, &uot;I sure want to set the right example for them.&uot;

And if he achieves fame and fortune, Smith knows one thing he wants to do.

&uot;I’d like to come back home to Georgiana and build something for the community— I’d name it in honor of my late mom,&uot; he notes.

In the meantime, Smith is looking forward to working with the Montgomery Youth Detention Facility as an intern in the fall.

&uot;I’m excited about this opportunity to maybe help turn a kid’s life around, let them see there is something better for them out there,&uot; he says.

This ‘model’ student seems to have already learned some of life’s most important lessons.

&uot;In modeling, you face a lot of criticism and potential rejection and you have to learn how to handle it…I think maintaining a good, positive attitude is so important,&uot; he says.