When it comes to modeling, Pat Lichtfuss is not an amateur.
The 53-year-old Westminster resident's most recent modeling stint came in August, after being selected by the Hecht Co. as a "Real People" model for the company's fall advertising campaign.
Her photo, modeling a plaid double-breasted, shawl-collar jacket and slim plaid skirt, appeared in The Sun, the Washington Post and the Richmond News on Aug. 23.
Not bad for a woman who almost didn't turn in the entry for the contest.
Mrs. Lichtfuss, who teaches at Robert Moten Elementary School in Westminster, said of her selection, "I was so surprised, especially since I didn't turn in the application until the last minute. I put it in the mail the day before the contest deadline, which was May 15. I was so excited when they called me the last week in May. I couldn't believe it."
Mrs. Lichtfuss was one of 30 models chosen by Hecht Co. officials from a field of 1,000 entries.
Along with her application, Mrs. Lichtfuss was required to submit a full-length picture, her vital statistics, occupation, interests and favorite charity.
In addition to this information, she also had to write a paragraph explaining why she wanted to be a Real People model.
"I wanted to model because it would be fun," Mrs. Lichtfuss said. "I've always liked clothes and being fit. It seems frivolous and fluffy, but it has been fun."
Nancy Chistolini, vice president of fashion and public relations for the Hecht Co. in Arlington, Va., said the contest was a good opportunity for the large retailer to hear from the consumer.
"We had an overwhelming response, especially from women over 50 and those who wore petite and large sizes," Ms. Chistolini said.
"We heard from people in every occupation, and the theme from the entries was, 'We don't want to see models that are just size 8s.' These people said that they were consumers and they wanted to be recognized."
Mrs. Lichtfuss' interest in the campaign was stirred last spring when she saw the announcement for the contest in the Sunday edition of The Sun.
The last week in May, Mrs. Lichtfuss received a call from the Hecht Co. in Tyson's Corner, Va., confirming her selection as one of their petite models.
She was invited to attend a photo session during the last week of July at the ANA Hotel in Washington, D.C., where the actual shoot would take place.
"Artists from New York were there to apply make-up, style hair, select and alter clothing," Mrs. Lichtfuss recalled. "During the shoot, which was shot in the garden of the hotel, the five or six artists stood between the models and the photographer scrutinizing everything. Wow, what pampering."
Mrs. Lichtfuss, who has had her fair share of photographic attention in the past, said there was never any nervousness about participating in the campaign.
"I have had previous experience with photographic modeling and have always loved interacting with the camera," said Mrs. Lichtfuss.
"I have been photographed by Life magazine as a teen-ager and by Mademoiselle magazine while a junior at Towson State Teacher's College in 1961. I even had a part as an extra in the film, 'Last Plane Out,' which was done about eight years ago."
Since participating in the Real People campaign, Mrs. Lichtfuss has decided to continue her modeling with the help of an agency.
"I did sign with Van Enterprises based in Pittsburgh, Pa., and I will seek out opportunities to the extent that I will submit my photos," Mrs. Lichtfuss said. "If something should come up and the location is convenient, I would love to go and do it."
In addition to her modeling, Mrs. Lichtfuss is involved in numerous activities including golf, running, swimming and aerobics.
She holds three degrees and continues to pursue studies in a variety of fields.
"I was on a sabbatical leave last year from the Carroll County public school system so I could complete a master's degree in education-reading at Western Maryland College. Now I am currently enrolled in a public relations certificate program at Goucher College," Mrs. Lichtfuss said.
Mrs. Lichtfuss lives in Westminster with her husband, Henry. They have two sons, Bill, 32, and Bob, 30.