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VOL. 122 | NO. 22 | Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Dreams Come True

Public access TV show fulfilling wishes

By Rosalind Guy

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SWEPT AWAY: Dreamland TV host Anner Echols (right) poses with some of the models who participated in the Dreamland Series I production last June. -- Photo Courtesy Of Swept Away Productions

Anner Echols' dream is to help make other people's dreams become a reality. And that's exactly what she's aiming to do in a new public access television show that began airing Friday on Comcast Channel 17 at 9 p.m.

The show, called "Dreamland: Where Dreams Are Made Real," airs every Friday night.

"Dreamland is an AJE Production where dreams are made real," Echols said. "And lives are transformed through makeovers, modeling, workshops, seminars and other entertainment venues."

Echols is the executive producer and founder of Swept Away Fashions and AJE Productions, which produces fashion shows and offers workshops throughout the year. She also provides fashion and make-up consultation, choreography, production and design.


Sweet dreams

On the pilot episode of Dreamland, Echols features her "Full and Fabulous" models as they prepare for Dreamland Series I - a June 23, 2006, production in which 25 plus-size ladies were given an opportunity to walk the runway. The pilot was produced and directed by Larry Clark of On Tha Grind Productions.

One of the models, Fran Mosley, said appearing in the production gave her the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream of being a model.

"One thing I always wanted to do, but was never afforded the opportunity, was to be a fashion model," Mosley said in a Dec. 13 "My Life" Commercial Appeal story reflecting on her experience. "When the subject would come up, and much to my dismay, I would hear things like, 'You are pretty enough to be a model, but you will have to lose weight.' Therefore, I thought my dream of becoming a model would be next to impossible to achieve."

Dreamland
Produced by AJE Productions and
On Tha Grind Productions
Airs on Comcast Channel 17 Fridays at 9 p.m.

With recent media hype over former runway model Tyra Banks' weight gain, it's no wonder a woman larger than a size 8 would think it an impossibility to become a runway model, Echols asserted. Banks has been dubbed "America's Next Top Waddle," a play on words using the title of her show "America's Next Top Model."

In a recent interview on CNN program Larry King Live, Banks said she weighs about 160 pounds and is not worried about her weight.

"I know what I look like ... and I feel fine and wonderful, thank you," she said.


It's a plus

Echols is dismayed by society's belief that anyone over 115 pounds is considered "fat and ugly." That's why she launched the new show featuring plus-size models who wear sizes 14 and up.

"As a producer and the founder of Dreamland, where dreams are made real for the full and fabulous, I am striving to do whatever it takes to promote and glamorize the full and fabulous ladies," she said.

For the second show, Echols plans to talk to a local entrepreneur who has started his or her own dream business.

"We're going to be talking with someone, maybe an entrepreneur, about how their business is a success and what they've done to make their business a success," Echols said. "And is this really their dream business?"

The second show also will offer behind-the-scenes clips from "Dreamland, Series II," AJE's upcoming production.

"It'll give the audience a chance to see how the girls' lives have been changed through the workshops and the training that AJE Production provided for them," Echols said. "There were workshops on how to dress, how to wear stage make up, poise, confidence and attitude for the runway."

AJE hosts "Dreamland, Series II" March 17 at the Germantown Performing Arts Centre, 1801 Exeter Road.

The show, a follow-up to the event held last year, also will feature "full and fabulous" models walking the runway. The reception starts at 6:30 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m. Also strutting down the runway that evening will be "The Sweepers," a group of models Echols has been working with for years. They will perform "Bringing Back the Music."

R&B vocalist Glenn Jones and jazz saxophonist Mike Townsend will provide live entertainment.

More information about the show can be found at www.ajedreamland.com.


Words of inspiration

Future shows will feature people with success stories to share and people who have had life-changing experiences.

"On the Web site that we're putting up, it's going to ask people to share their stories," Echols said. "It'll say, 'Are you living your dream, or have you made someone's dream come true?'"

Echols thinks it will be inspiring for viewers to see how people set out to make their dreams come true. And it's meant to inspire those on the show, as well.

As Mosley said of her experience working with AJE Productions: "The show was life-altering for me. To begin with, my husband and sons are proud that their wife and mother is a model."

Until she obtains sponsors for the show, Echols will foot the bill for the shows herself.

In the meantime, she's been in contact with members of the business community who have expressed interest in working with her on the show.

She recently met with a real estate agent to discuss the possibility of having a home built for a deserving single mother and her children.

"But that's still in the early planning stages," she said.

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