Senior portrait for high school grad leads to modeling gig

Kristina Hauptmann

All Cole Emory wanted for his 18th birthday last August was a tuxedo he could wear in his senior portrait. An unusual request, perhaps, but one his mother, Karen, didn't refuse.

It was lucky for Cole that she didn't.

Next week, the Mundelein High School graduate is being flown to San Francisco to shoot a print ad for the Men's Wearhouse.

Karen was so pleased with the tuxedo and his senior photographs, she sent a letter to Men's Wearhouse CEO George Zimmer last winter suggesting the company could use Cole in its ads.

Cole is autistic, but Karen did not think that would affect his ability to model because he is very high-functioning and can even drive.

"When I saw the photograph, I thought, maybe if this something that comes easy for him, let's look into it." she said.

Karen said she is always trying to be resourceful and look for possible careers for Cole, so sending a letter to Zimmer was "not such a stretch."

"When you have a child with a disability, you learn to not be afraid to do things," Karen said.

Zimmer was interested. Karen then talked with Men's Wearhouse vice presidents, who decided to fly Cole and her to San Francisco July 21 for six days to shoot a print ad. Cole's brother and father are also going to San Francisco.

Cole feels grateful for what his mom did for him, and is looking forward to his time in San Francisco.

"I feel great. I feel honored," he said. "I hope I do very great for Men's Wearhouse."

Complete story at Daily Herald here

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