Mount Prospect resident Paige L. Ehlman has parlayed child modeling gigs into a 20-year career in modeling and acting.
Now, at age 39 she has opened her own modeling agency, called in her hometown to help give others a chance.
But just because she'll be helping to guide other talent, doesn't mean she's leaving behind the stage herself.
"My next performance will be singing Christmas carols at Millrose restaurant in South Barrington," she said. "I have performed with a quartet every Christmas at Millrose for the past 15 years. We sing traditional carols as well as popular holiday tunes. Even Scrooges start singing along," she jokes.
She has been involved with many community theater groups in the Northwest suburbs, including Harper College Performing Arts Center, Big Noise Theatre at Prairie Lakes in Des Plaines, Music On Stage and LZP Productions at Cutting Hall and Forest View.
She also has appeared in numerous plays and musicals at Prairie Center for the Arts in Schaumburg. She's performed in musicals with HOTT Productions in Schaumburg, she said.
Her past lead roles have been in Guys & Dolls, Evita, Grease, Some Like it Hot, Footloose, Beauty & the Beast, All Shook Up, Damn Yankees, Chicago, Oklahoma, Little Shop of Horrors and Grand Hotel, she said.
"I've also appeared as a contestant on several TV game shows, most recently on Wheel of Fortune, which aired last month," she said.
Ehlman began her career as a child model at Montgomery Ward at the old Randhurst Mall.
She also appeared in fashion shows and walked the runway at age 5, she said.
"My parents always encouraged and supported my acting and modeling endeavors, even to this day," she said. "I continued my love of performing at St. Viator High School, where I appeared in plays, musicals and choir."
After she graduated from Loyola University with a degree in communications and theater, she worked as an assistant with the late Pat McBlaine, who owned a talent agency in Park Ridge.
She then worked at Royal Model Management in Schaumburg, where she was the agency director for almost a decade.
"I booked talent for print ads, commercials, film, trade shows, voice-over, fashion shows. When my boss retired this past September, my clients, family and friends encouraged me to start my own agency. I am so grateful for their support," she said. Now she shows support for others. She currently represents about 300 models and actors, many who have followed her from other agencies.
"They are all ages and types from the average Joe to young mom or dad, grandparent types, high fashion models, improv actors, fitness models, kids and teens," she said.
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