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Behind the Scenes: Confessions of a Non-Model

Posted by: Julie Ann - Fri, 25 Feb 2011

Hi everyone, I’m Julie Ann, the gal you see in the pictures on the Cats Like Us website and on the postcards in the red dress. I never intended to be the model for Cats Like Us. Afterall, I’ve never modeled as you can probably tell. People have told me I’m very photogenic and back when I was 15 years old JCPenney approached my mom and they wanted to know if I would model for their catalog. My mom asked me if I was interested and I said “no”. I guess if I had said “yes” my life would be different, or would it? I still have a modeling gig, but instead of working for a corporate company, I’m working for my OWN company, which is a thousand times cooler.

Initially when we put together the Cats Like Us website we were just going to photograph the clothes on mannequins. We took a couple shots with a photographer and customers seemed to like those better, so we decided to go with it. Let’s photograph clothes on people. This works the best with items that are not T shirts because everyone knows the shape of a T shirt is the same for the most part.

You may not realize it but Cats Like Us is a very small company, and can’t afford to have all our products professionally shot (YET!). Between scheduling the photographers, paying them, making the photographs consistent and having our weekly deadlines (we post new products EVERY Thursday) it would just be too much, so we decided to do everything ourselves. So I became the model and Andrew, my husband, the photographer.

I’m not big on attention… sure I tap dance in my spare time, but when recital time comes around I’ve been practicing the routine for nearly nine months. I’m not comfortable when the spotlight is on me, I‘m more of a “blend into the background” observer. However for Cats Like Us I had to step up as part owner and really be the face of my business.

I think the funniest part about modeling is what people say when they recognize me. Many people don’t know it’s me at all, and will say, “Who’s the girl that models for you?” On more than one occasion I’ve had male customers come up to me in the shop and say, “Wow, you’re a lot smaller in real life.” I’m not really sure how to take it, but I usually say a reluctant and sincere “thanks.” I’m just giddy that they look at the website.

I’ll put this out there… my measurements are 34-26-37 and I’m 5”6’. Some of you might say I’m fat, some might say I’m skinny. [Andrew’s Note: Some, like me, would call it “perfect”!] I’m a little pear shaped. I’m not a perfect hourglass and I can’t do much about it unless I have my hips removed or get breast implants. I really don’t want to do that. I haven’t had any “work done” and I don’t plan on it. I’m a real person. I’m not famous and I don’t claim to be a pinup. Although I wish the viewers of pinup photos would appreciate big butts more. Don’t get me wrong breasts have their place too. Many pinup models have big boobs, whether they are real or not they fill out their clothes and look amazing. Many of them are very petite—something you would never know from their photos. They always look perfect, and for this I am jealous.

The best part of modeling the clothes is the female customers that know me. They love the website and are thrilled that an everyday person is modeling. I was really hoping the magic of airbrushing or photoshop could be used to touch up my flaws. But with the time constraints, we don’t edit photos that much except for cropping and color. Andrew always says I look great, but I think he’s biased. So yep, the photos are really me flaws and all. As a result, I will proudly continue to model on behalf of the gals out there that want to see the clothes on an everyday person, photos unretouched and candid. Thank you ladies for giving me a touch of confidence to be in front of a camera. To all the everyday women out there…you are beautiful!

Your shy model friend,
Julie Ann


  1. Julie Ann your modeling of the clothes is one of my favorite aspects of your shop... that and the awesome customer service ;) I hope you never stop modeling the clothes!

    — Silver Cat Tea Party Fri, 28 Nov 2014

  2. Julie Ann you are truly adorable! Hehe I think any guy would say odd/silly things when they talk face to face with a modern day pin up! I love to see small businesses growing and I love that you and ur hubby work together!! The fashion industry is brutal but as long as you stick with what you are good at-- You will be successful! Rock on cutie!!

    — Rayerz Thu, 22 Mar 2012

  3. Thank you everyone for the positive feedback. All of you are so nice. You really made my day!

    Julie Ann Thu, 10 Mar 2011

  4. Great article, I love your honesty and frankness. Keep up the good work and great store!

    — Joanne Sat, 26 Feb 2011

  5. Really great post! For what it's worth, I think you do a great job with the site and you look amazing in front of the camera. I like the idea of not having a model that is so obviously airbrushed! It makes it more intimate/personal, in the way of friends sharing photos ~ if you'd email a photo to a handful of friends for an opinion prior to purchase. You just feel included. Very cool. =)

    — Brandy Sat, 26 Feb 2011

  6. Julie Ann, You are by far the most beautiful woman I have ever met! Inside and out you are a unique trendsetter! I have always been jealous of your ability to wear anything flawlessly and your photos reflect the fun, creative woman that you are! Shine on pretty lady!!!

    — Christine Fri, 25 Feb 2011

  7. Hey Julie - I love your photos, think you look great and also think you do a fabulous job with online marketing! As a small business owner myself I understand the energy/cost it takes to get good images out there. My friend Andy (of Fashion Tramp)and I have started turning promo shots into a party. We invite a bunch of people who model, photograph, do hair and make up etc... and we make a bunch of food and serve a lot of drinks and get a bunch of stuff shot. I highly recommend it! We just did one last weekend and had a blast! LuRu

    LuRu Fri, 25 Feb 2011

  8. What's I find most captivating about your modeling is the grace, humility and courage you have in the doing it-Not for vanity,no pretentiousness no fear,or hidden agendas. Just taking care of business and having some fun along the way. That's really you in a nutshell. Pretty (on the outside) girls are born every day-A beautiful woman is rare. You are a gem!

    Barb Kopera Fri, 25 Feb 2011

  9. Julie Ann, knowing that your measurements are so close to my own makes shopping your store that much easier! Hmm, perhaps that's not such a good thing. ;) I got into modeling in a similar manner—photographer friends put me in front of their camera, in spite of my hesitation—and now other people ask me to do it for them as well. I too would model for my own shop (Tiddleywink Vintage), if I had a live-in photographer! You look great, dear. Keep it up!

    Wink Fri, 25 Feb 2011

  10. Julie Ann -- you DON'T have a big butt, just the butt of a real woman. I think it's fabulous that you model your own company's clothes - gives us real-world women a glimpse of how something might look on us. Keep on modeling .... love the site.

    — Gwen Fri, 25 Feb 2011

  11. First, off, you are beautiful. I have very close measurements 34-28-37 and am 5'5". You look a helluva lot smaller than I do. Big butts rock. Believe me. Guys dig butts. And so I say to keep on keeping on. You look fab and you do a better job modeling than the "pros"....Good luck in all you do.

    — Terri Fri, 25 Feb 2011

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