Runway of dreams

Many little girls dream of wearing a crown as they stroll the catwalk as a beauty pageant winner. Why not? We live in a society that bombards influential minds with messages from the media, their peer networks and social circles that seem to focus on beauty as the sole characteristic assuring success.

Yet, as children grow into their own individualities, reality becomes the main factor in abandoning that ideal. Many never visit it again unless they are exposed to grounded opportunities toward financial and personal success. Often in bigger cities like New York or Los Angeles, where media plays a strong role in exposure, some actually meet stardom, or, at the very least, find some connection to that stronghold.

But finding an open door of opportunity in smaller towns isn’t as likely, or so Cassandra Mandeville once believed. A stunning, nearly six-foot-tall, dark-haired beauty, Mandeville won the Miss Florida International competition in August 2011. Brooksville is Mandeville’s hometown.

Mandeville had considered modeling as a valid career choice. During her senior year at Hernando High School, Mandeville attended a College Night, hosted by Nature Coast Technical High School, where she stumbled on a table set up by Envy Models & Talent of Spring Hill.

“I took some information,” Mandeville remembered. Later, she visited the facility and enrolled in modeling classes. Her decision to enter a pageant was initiated by Suzi Hosfeld, executive director of Envy Model & Talent. “Suzi told me that a lot of the judges are modeling agents,” Mandeville explained.

Mandeville entered her first pageant in April and won Miss Crystal River. She took the Miss Florida title in November.

“She is a really big deal,” said Suzi Hosfeld. “This is the first year that Brooksville has ever won the Miss Florida title. She will now go on to represent Florida in the Miss U.S. International Pageant, which is the oldest pageant system in the world.”

Envy Models & Talent is a 30-year company with offices in Fort Myers, Naples and Spring Hill. The Spring Hill office opened two years ago on Mariner Blvd., moving to its current location on Commercial Way, north of IHOP, a year ago.

A highly acclaimed institution, Envy Models & Talent won the Agency of the Year award for eight years and was awarded Director of the Year in 2011.

“We are a model, actor, pageant training center and a placement,” Hosfeld went on. “We take our top people and we place them in work as well as placing them with agencies around the world.”

Mandeville, for example, will participate in an event called “Launch,” where she will be exposed to hundreds of top agents worldwide. “It gives a girl from a small city the opportunity to network out.”

Joshua Looman, of Spring Hill, is another Envy success story. Looman is an established musician and singer who stumbled on Envy a year ago, just two weeks before he was scheduled to leave for the Navy.

He met with Hosfeld and, at her request, performed a song on his guitar. She was immediately impressed. “She asked me to give her one year,” Looman remembered. “It was a difficult decision. It was a very ironclad decision to join the Navy.”

Still, his passion had always been in music. After giving it some thought, and with the support of his family, Looman accepted Hosfeld’s challenge.

“When I started working with her, I was a singer,” Looman said. “Not anymore. When (Suzi) got a hold of me, I was a singer, actor and model.”

Looman spent the year training and perfecting his craft. He is on his way to Los Angeles, where he will advance his education, sign with acting agents and begin his recording career.

Looman won a $10,000 scholarship to the NY Performing Arts School, which Hosfeld helped him win while he attended Launch in Chicago.

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Envy Models & Talent is actually very structured in its services. The company offers opportunities for ages three and up “to learn self-confidence, poise, manners, modeling and acting.” They cater to men, women and children in their training facility.

Hosfeld began her modeling career at age 11 and appeared in hundreds of print advertisements, television commercials and fashion shows. She is also the 1983 Miss Wisconsin USA.

Therefore, Hosfeld’s grasp of the industry is grounded.

“If you can dream it, you can do it,” Hosfeld said. But it doesn’t come without commitment and dedication.

She is also a strong supporter of education and offers college scholarships to area students.

The opportunities for Mandeville are endless. The well-versed, articulate and gracefully poised young woman is transitioning into her role as Miss Florida, preparing for scheduled appearances and events.

One of her biggest is the Miss International Competition, which is held in July. This year’s pageant will be in Orlando for the first time, generating money for Central Florida.

“We don’t have the space in Hernando County to accommodate the pageant,” Hosfeld said. Yet the county will receive national recognition, since Miss Florida is a Brooksville resident. “She will be representing our community.”

Mandeville also is scheduled to emcee the “Passion for Fashion” prom show event, presented by Kiwanis of the Nature Coast on Saturday at the Hernando County Fairgrounds.

For more information, contact Pat Herrmann at (352) 345-4427 or visit

Suzi Hosfeld is proud of what her company has accomplished for area youth. “We are in the business of making dreams come true.”

Biz at a Glance

Name: Envy Models & Talent

Address: 4078 Commercial Way, Spring Hill, FL 34606

Telephone: (352) 256-9959 or (239) 822-4661


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