51-year-old Burnaby mom in running for Central City model search
Last week Nancy von Euw was a swearing, smoking alcoholic dying of throat cancer. On Saturday she hopes to become the new "face" of Central City mall in Surrey.
The former is a role von Euw played in a production at the Vancouver Fringe Festival. The latter is an unexpected turn for the 51-year-old mother of three who's competing against 17 other finalists—most young enough to be her children—in the Central City Model Search. The winner, to be determined by an online vote and a grand finale modeling competition at the mall on Oct. 6, will be featured in the shopping centre's advertising campaigns, on billboards and transit posters for the coming year.
Von Euw, who studied theatre when she was much younger, thought she'd left footlights and pancake makeup behind when she started working overseas, met her husband, then eventually settled in Burnaby to raise her kids. A family health crisis a couple of years ago changed her outlook, rejigged her priorities.
"I realized life is too short," says von Euw. "Life can change in an instant and if you have things to do, you should do them."
With two of her kids off to Simon Fraser University, and the third in high school, von Euw decided it was time to get back into acting. She started auditioning for roles in community theatre. Inevitably she was cast in "mom" roles.
She did a few modeling gigs, mostly as the mother of the bride or groom in wedding scenarios.
When von Euw saw an ad in the NewsLeader for the Central City competition, she thought why not?
"Who else was going to be crazy enough to be a model at 51?" she says. "What's the worst thing that can happen? They can say no and I move on."
Of more than 400 applicants, von Euw was shortlisted for an interview that would determine the contest's 18 finalists.
When she made that cut, von Euw says she was "really excited." But she was also pragmatic.
"I'm a demographic that's coming to your mall," she says. "At my age, there's not a whole lot of us models out there."
Von Euw says her modeling aspirations are complemented by her acting background.
"There's a lot of acting in modeling. You have to be able to put yourself in a lot of different situations."
The experience has also cast her in a new light in the eyes of her family.
"To see me on stage, they never knew that part of me," says von Euw. "It shows my kids you can do anything you want to be successful."
• To see all the finalists, and cast a vote in the Central City Model Search, go to www.facebook.com/centralcity. Voting closes Oct. 5 at 10 a.m.