Sanford native takes a turn on 'Brides of Beverly Hills'

Dec. 20, 2012 @ 05:00 AM

Locals watching reality TV reruns on the TLC network over the next few days might see a familiar face if they catch an episode of "Brides of Beverly Hills."

Dana Hamm, a Sanford native who has made a lucrative career out of modeling, costarred in a self-titled episode of the wedding-dress-picking reality show that originally aired earlier this month and is now in reruns. The show is set in the Beverly Hills salon of renowned bridal stylist Renée Strauss.

Hamm, who is neither a bride nor of Beverly Hills — she lives in Ohio with Scott Schisler, whom she calls her life partner — said producers for the show approached her and said that after looking at some of her modeling work, including pictures in GQ, Maxim, FHM and Esquire, as well as a host of fitness magazines, they thought she was perfectly suited for the show.

Hamm said she doesn't even watch reality television — crime dramas are her guilty pleasure — but that the opportunity was too good to pass up. She said she was surprised at how staged every moment and conversation was ("They try to seek out some thread of truth, but it doesn't really have to be the whole truth"), but that she did have a lot of fun trying on wedding dresses and playing with her Pomeranian, Bonkee, who apparently stole the show.

And although she personally wants a small, no-frills wedding if that day comes, Hamm said it was fun trying on dresses from a company that has done weddings inside the Vatican, as well as for several A-list celebrities, complete with dresses that cost up to $120,000.

"They asked me to choose a price range ... and I said something I guess they thought was a joke," she said with a laugh. "I said $2,000 and they said, 'We have veils that cost more than that.' Their lower-end dress is $7,000-$9,000, so I just said, 'You know what, I'm not going to be buying one, so let's just do $50,000.'"

But despite the hefty price tags being discussed with a group of other models she brought along to help, Hamm said she thinks the best part of the show was her dog, who caused some commotion when his rear got too close to a friend's face.

"When he gets really nervous because of all the activity, he will pass gas," Hamm said. "... It went over really funny."

Coming up, Hamm plans to do shoots for several other magazines and continue work with the photography business she and Schisler run together, Iconic Beauty Images, which she said has been shooting lots of prospective models in the Sanford area lately, trying to get them featured in magazines with which the company works.

She said she's also going to do some work with the Aloha Safari Zoo, located in Cameron just across the Lee/Harnett County line, shooting photos with some of the exotic animals at the zoo.

"We're going to just try to bring awareness to the zoo and the animals," she said. "I've worked with a lot of exotic animals, like lions, tigers, grizzly bears. ... They go in the magazines, and then I'm sort of able to bring awareness to certain animals that are endangered or close to being endangered."