October 21, 2014
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From the Editor: Getting to Know Our Models

Meet the winner and two finalists of the Model of the Year contest who were selected from more than 70 applicants.

When we decided to run a Model of the Year contest for our People Issue, we had no idea what a delightful act of discovery it would be. To qualify, you had to be 21 or older, have current ties to Southwest Florida and not ever have been a professional at this. We were amazed to attract more than 70 applicants—lovely in their photos, compelling in their backgrounds—and thrilled with the winner and two finalists we selected after serious deliberation. You can catch the grace and beauty of their look starting on p. 52. I’d like to fill you in on the charm and intelligence of the women behind the images.

 

Monique Evans, Finalist

What does it say about accomplishment to be the reigning Miss Dallas, an award-winning ballerina and a pre-med senior at the University of Texas? Monique grew up in Naples, began training in ballet at 2—yes, 2—and graduated with a 4.7 GPA from Naples High School. She’s dedicated to becoming a D.O. (doctor of osteopathy), practicing preventive and integrative medicine on the entire body. Along the way, she entered one ballet competition—the Youth America Grand Prix in Orlando—and finished in third place. Quite an achievement since she was performing with a broken foot. “I’ve always been quiet and shy,” she says, “so in the name of getting out and being more social, I entered the Miss Dallas contest.” As the winner, she feels so rewarded, she says, with the chance to visit schools and hospitals to cheer on and inspire kids. As we went to press, Monique was preparing for the Miss Texas pageant in early July. So, going forward, how do you work out a life with your passions for ballet and medicine? “I’ll always find a way to be dancing, but I’ve got to go with the medicine,” she says. “I can help more people that way.”

 

AmandaJane Kapp, Finalist

It seems like a family thing with the Kapps and Gulfshore Life. In December 1988, AmandaJane’s mom, Ann, appeared on our cover as a very fashionable woman around town. Her dad, Howard, on our June issue’s Top Doctors list as an orthopaedic surgeon, appeared on our Top Doctors cover in 2010. And now comes AmandaJane in our People Issue. “I feel as if I’m channeling my mom,” she says. “She did some modeling here back in the ’80s and ’90s.” And, of course, AmandaJane is following a career path in medicine, just like her dad. A Naples resident since she was 14 months old, she went through school here with time out for a two-year hitch at Northfi eld Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts. She attended Rollins College with a major in psychology and now is a dean’s list student at Florida Gulf Coast University getting credits to apply for a master’s degree program to become a physician’s assistant. She loves languages and speaks French and Spanish, volunteers with the Neighborhood Health Clinic and the Humane Society, and spends as much time as she can outdoors. Of course, there’s quality time with boyfriend Tyler Fox, whom she’s known for years. And what does it tell you about her resolve when she mentions she brought her organic chemistry textbooks to the photo shoot for our story—and dashed off to that very class when it was over?

 

Ashley Gerry, Model of the Year

Times sure have changed for our designated Model of the Year. Ashley tells us, “I was a partial tomboy growing up,” riding horses with no saddle, playing a mean game of volleyball for her high school in Cape Girardeau, Mo. And now she radiates the glamour you see here. She did major in fashion marketing at the University of Missouri, but came to Naples to sell real estate in 2006, around the time the market began crashing. She took a job as a teaching assistant at Seacrest School and there met her husband, Adam Gerry, who had a child at the school. (Adam and his dad, Alan—a legendary pioneer in cable television—are in the financial business together here.) Life since then has been a whirlwind for Ashley. She’s quite the mother. Adam had two 8-year-old adopted daughters from Guatemala and a 10-year-old son from a previous marriage, and Ashley and Adam have added 13-month-old daughter, Aniston, to the family. So there’s camping and fi shing and boating and philanthropy and lots of entertaining at home. She works out four times a week and is a kick boxer. The partial tomboy enjoys delivering those kicks. And the fashion marketing major is getting her kicks, too, as our winner and cover girl.

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