Friday, September 12, 2014

Who's that Girl?

She's arrestingly attractive, bubbly, vivacious, of no certain age. She's the "spokesperson" (though she never says a word) for Chico's. In television and print campaigns this Sophia-like stunner drives the message that Chico's is for the young at heart, girls (maybe now ladies) who want to have fun and is not your mother's Talbot's.

But who is that girl? She's Magali Amadei, no mystery woman really but by now very connected to the Chico's brand. Magali is a former French fashion model who lives in New York City. Born in 1974, she's a mere 39 years old. Magali was discovered at age 16 while studying ballet in her native Nice. As a model she had covers on Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire, Harper's Bazaar, etc. and has appeared in small television and movie roles. Especially interesting is that she suffered from bulimia for several years and now speaks out to educate young women on the dangers of such self-image issues.

Back in the day (1994) at age 19

A website called AskMen describes the lovely Magali particularly well:

"The long frame, the elegant features and the olive skin have cemented her reputation among fashionistas. Her famous legs are a neverending tribute to feminine perfection. In addition, Magali possesses a certain intangible quality that shines through in all of her photographic work. This trait is inherent in all of the big names in the business; call it photogenic magnetism or an ability to seduce the camera. Whatever it is, Magali has got it."

Is it a bad thing or a good thing for her that she got the Chico's gig? And how do we feel about a 39-year-old playing Grandma?

First of all, Chico's is not just for WOACAs (Women of a Certain Age). Before I knew I wasn't supposed to shop there, I would visit the branch in a small Connecticut town near my home and eye with some envy the colorful separates and accessories that were a bit too steep for my pocketbook. When I got older, and my pocketbook a little bigger, I looked closer and found that while accessories fit anyone, Chico's sizes (cunningly tagged 1-2-3-4) were too big for me. They've since expanded to include 0 and 00 and even stock petites.

Proud mom Debbie with
swimming champion Michael

But the perception is still that Chico's caters to a fun loving, socially active (meaning she goes places and does things) older woman whose figger may not fit a body-conscious silhouette.  At one time Debbie Phelps was a quasi-rep for Chico's, and I think she wore it well. We do know, though, not all fashion today is body-con and not all WOACAs have lost their figgers.

Despite wishing it weren't so, women buy into the notion that clothes look best modeled on—well— models. Sadly I also don't really want to see my true self looking back at me from the pages of my favorites magazines. I get enough of that in the mirror, thank you and am wise enough—or consigned to the fact— that everything I see won't look good on me. Everything never did anyways! The lovely older women models out there are still stick-thin so don't look like me either.

The lovely Linda 
The Charming Carmen
The Sassy Sue

So for me Magali is a winner. But I worry about her. She is is indelibly typecast now as the Chico's gal. I worry that she will never get work other than Chico's. One good thing, she probably has another 40 years in her modeling career.

Keep on keeping on

PS She's not the only one. Chico's has another model with an enviable cropped blonde pixie who never fails to make an appearance in the catalogues. Alas I've had no luck uncovering her identity.

Now who's that gal?