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Retailer Ashley Stewart will launch national search for brand representative in Baltimore

Plus-size retailer Ashley Stewart is kicking off a national search in Baltimore for a woman to represent the brand.

For its first "Finding Ashley Stewart" contest, the chain said it plans to award the title to a woman who embodies the "confidence, strength and fierceness that has become synonymous with Ashley Stewart."

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The retailer will launch a multi-city tour starting Friday and Saturday at Mondawmin Mall with additional stops this year in Houston, Newark, Detroit and other locations.

Each stop will feature fashion shows, question and answer sessions, in-store experiences and other events in which women can compete before a panel of judges. Regional winners could be chosen as one of five finalists who will be flown by the brand to a finale event in September in New York, where they will compete for the title and prizes such as cash and a new wardrobe.

"Since its founding in 1991, Ashley Stewart has always been a source of confidence, friendship and fun for its customers nationwide," said Andrea Berner, the chain's senior vice president, in an email. "Our customers are real women living real lives, and through our social media platforms and now our explosive events business, we are allowing the world to celebrate her."

The 89-store chain has has nine locations in Maryland, including three in the Baltimore area, at Mondawmin, Westview Mall and Waverly Towers Shopping Center.

The contest kicks off Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Ashley Stewart at Mondawmin. Women can register and walk the runway on Friday, when judges will score them on personality and catwalk abilities. No experience is required.

Twelve finalists chosen on Friday will win a makeover* and a $50 gift card and be featured on the brand's social media platforms and participate in a model bootcamp lead by AshleyTV host Tamara Ivey. On Saturday, finalists will walk the catwalk in the #LoveYourCurvestour fashion show.

Two of 12 finalists in each city will have a chance to compete at the September finale. Contestants can find more information at AshleyStewart.com.

lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

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