By Chris Marchese.
Former model and current owner of TRUE Model Management, Dale Noelle earned a degree in business at the Fashion Institute of Technology, but adapted the non-traditional idea of mixing personal interests with professional endeavors to create a profitable model management company that is growing rapidly. The formula for her success is simple: create a caring corporate culture. As Noelle puts it, “I genuinely care about the people I work with and focus on their health and happiness. When our employees and models are healthy and happy, the clients are happy, which results in a pleasant working environment and more business.”
Previously a model for Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta, and many other reputable designers, Noelle founded TRUE to oversee her own career, but transitioned to managing other models when pregnant. “I was pregnant and diagnosed with [oral] cancer so I was forced to stop modeling, but I didn’t want to stop working altogether. In fact, throughout my career, I had introduced many industry professionals to each other so when I opened TRUE, it was a natural progression for me to more formally connect them as a manager.” From day one, Noelle focused on creating a supportive culture. “Modeling can be a very harsh and demanding business, not just in terms of appearance and physical endurance, but also on a model’s psychological well-being,” she explains, adding, “we strive for a nurturing environment and have become very selective about the models we sign.” In alignment with Noelle’s nature and to fill a void in the market, Noelle and her team “carefully screen the models [because] we like models who are role models. We seek models who are beautiful inside and out with positive attitudes and internal fortitude.” Once at TRUE, they become “part of the family,” says Noelle.
Noelle’s efforts are paying off. “We often receive feedback from clients informing us that we have the kindest, most thoughtful and professional models,” she says. TRUE’s reputation has helped it become one of the world’s top fit modeling firms and, in 2015, the company greatly expanded both its commercial and lifestyle print board, and its Curves board. Three star Curves models, Rosie Mercado, Melinda Parrish, and Danielle Braverman, are widely sought after for public appearances. For all three, Noelle explains, “it’s their stories; they are incredibly strong, smart, and inspirational women.”
Mercado was turned down by model agencies because of her size, but TRUE saw her potential and signed her before she lost over 200 pounds and supported her through her journey of healthy dieting and exercise. Noelle and Braverman both overcame anorexia and are also advocates on behalf of positive body image. Noelle and TRUE work with the National Eating Disorders Association to raise awareness about eating disorders. Parrish is a writer for Huffington Post, is an advocate for body positivity and created #healthyatanysize to further promote body positivity. The attention the models receive has affirmed for Noelle “models can make a difference, and be role models on and off the runway.”
In addition to running TRUE, Noelle connects the company and models with charities and the community. “I have always been involved in philanthropy and I strive to give back even more to the community through TRUE,” she says. Noelle helped organize a charity bike ride from Vermont to New York to raise money for pancreatic cancer and pediatric AIDS research. More recently, Noelle was elected as a board member of The Women and Fashion FilmFest and TRUE organized their first Girls’ Empowerment Fashion Runway show to educate and empower young girls. On a more personal note, Noelle is in talks with Dr. A. Ross Kerr at New York University’s College of Dentistry to be the public face of oral cancer awareness and she’s a donor to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington.
For some companies, expansion can threaten their culture, but Dale Noelle’s fusion of personal passions and professional goals ensures this won’t be the case for TRUE Model Management. (#TRUEmodelmgt #TRUEcares)