Dale Noelle was a Ford Model and one of the fashion industry’s most successful and sought after fitting models for nearly two decades before she founded TRUE Model Management. During her career as a professional fit and print model, she worked for almost every mass retailer and major fashion company, as well as designers that included Ralph Rucci for Chado, the late Oleg Cassini, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, Oscar de la Renta, Ralph Lauren and many more.
After obtaining degrees in business and marketing, Dale worked as a clothing production manager, sales representative, and designer. She originally created TRUE to manage her own modeling career, but clients repeatedly requested her referrals for additional models. She now manages the entire team at TRUE, overseeing the many details involved in running the agency.
Passionate about both philanthropy and sports, Dale manages to combine the two with athletic opportunities led by TRUE models. Using her degree in Health Coaching, she works to help TRUE models meet nutritional goals while staying fit. A motivational speaker, Dale also teaches at The Fashion Institute of Technology.
Can you point to one event that triggered your interest in your career?
There were multiple experiences throughout my life that sparked my interest in becoming a model agent/manager and the natural progression was to segue from a model to a manager. The event that was the catalyst for me actually bringing this dream to fruition was the day that I found out I was pregnant and had cancer. My successful modeling career came to a halt without notice. On the day I was forced to stop modeling, I made the transition to train and represent other models.
What about this career choice did you find most appealing?
My passion is meeting and connecting many interesting people to create synergy, attain goals and make companies more profitable. Assisting models to fulfill their dreams and improve their health, training them to secure jobs that empower them and foster financial independence has great appeal to me.
What steps did you take to begin your education or training?
My grandmother and father worked in the fashion industry so I was exposed to the business my entire life. Working with family instilled my work ethic and provided great training. I secured several positions in the fashion industry to learn different aspects of the business such as: sales executive, production manager, designer and business owner. I attained degrees in business and Health Coaching and took several relevant classes at The Fashion Institute of Technology. I worked as a professional model for almost twenty years prior to TRUE’s formation
Along the way, were people encouraging or discouraging?
Most friends and family have been encouraging but when people see how hard I work, they sometimes tell me that I should consider changing careers. I am passionate about what I do and am not a quitter so I will manage with minimal sleep for a few more years.
Did you ever doubt your decision and attempt a career change?
No doubt. Never changed.
When did your career reach a tipping point?
A tipping point was reached when we hired our fifth employee, had a room full of interns and freelancers at TRUE’s office on Seventh Avenue in New York City and I started delegating most of the day-to-day operations to others so I could focus on business development and training.
Can you describe a challenge you had to overcome?
It’s tough to describe just one challenge. I have multiple challenges every day and the types and scope of difficult tasks change as TRUE continues to grow exponentially. One particularly challenging time was when I was pregnant, had undergone surgery for the removal of a cancerous tumor and I could not speak or eat solid food for a couple of months. I only had one person helping me with the business at the time so scouting and training models as well as meeting clients without speaking was an obstacle. I was creative and overcame the difficulties.
What single skill has proven to be most useful?
The skill that proves to be most useful in my career is my natural ability to connect with people. I am genuinely intrigued by and care about other people; introducing them to each other is my passion. Anything I am passionate about, I excel at doing. Networking has a positive impact on my business on every level and keeps me happy and striving to improve the experience for everyone involved with TRUE.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
One of TRUE’s models was on the verge of losing her home and in major financial crisis when she started working with TRUE but we quickly helped her land several major accounts. Within a year, she saved her marriage and her home as a result of her new income. This happened several years ago and I still receive thank you notes and gifts from her and her husband expressing their gratitude.
Any advice for others entering your profession?
Do your homework before starting your business, enter with caution but take calculated risks, be optimistic, resilient and persistent. Get a law degree as well as business degree and rest up for the ride!