Though they grace the pages of our magazine in fabulous fashions, our Chrome Model Search winners are just like you—APHA members with a deep love for Paints and the lifestyle that comes with them. Get to know our two winners, Misty McNamara and Kenny Strohecker, as they dish on their personal style, photo shoot experience and more.
Though she often helps her husband with their cow/calf operation in Ojai, California, by riding RCR Bev Doolittle, Misty keeps herself busy by dreaming big and leading a startup team for the app Favly, of which she is a co-founder.
Favly uses the recommendations of local community members who users already know and trust to offer stronger referrals for products and services. Learn more about the app on its website.
Though she’s a self-professed introvert, Misty is on a lifelong mission to push her personal limits in order to become her best self and experience new things. That’s exactly why she entered the Chrome Model Search, Misty says.
“I saw [the search] on my Instagram feed, and I thought it would be different for me,” Misty said. “I’m shy and quiet, but I like to step out of my comfort zone; I try to push myself quite a bit, because the more I do, the better I can become.”
After being selected as a finalist, Misty was pleasantly surprised to see her small, close community make strides to support her.
“So many friends and family members encouraged me in the contest, but I’d also run into people at stores asking how the contest went,” Misty said. “I was so surprised to hear about people in the community who voted, who also encouraged their husbands, farm help and employees to vote, too.”
Nerves are natural when stepping onto your first photo-shoot set, but Misty says she was soon put at ease during her fashion debut.
“I didn’t come in with any expectations—I just knew that I’d be dressed up and hustled around to take pictures—but the two days were just so much fun,” she said. “The photographer, Scott, was great about knowing we don’t do this for a living—or ever—and he guided us and helped us all feel comfortable.”
The star-studded equine cast was another highlight of the shoot for Misty.
“Obviously, it was pretty cool to be photographed with Gunners Special Nite, but I also loved Great White Nite,” the horsewoman gushed. “Another one looked like a big, fake model horse because he just stood so perfectly!”
When it comes to her personal style, Misty tends to reach for her favorite boots-and-jeans combos, opting for more classic tops and sweaters over chasing the latest trends. She pairs her looks with larger, statement-style jewelry pieces to add in variety.
“My classic look is comfortable for me to wear, and then I feel like big jewelry can dress up whatever I’ve got on; I want to look put-together enough to go out somewhere even if I’m not wearing a dress,” Misty said.
The son of two passionate Paint breeders and a longtime horseman himself, Kenny is a familiar face at APHA shows on the West Coast. Though he’s more comfortable in his typical roles as a horse trainer and farrier, Kenny took a daring leap and entered the Chrome Model Search with the encouragement of friends and family.
“My wife, Molly, really talked me into it, so I toyed with it and thought, ‘Why not?’ ” Kenny laughed. “After I was named a finalist, it really blew up back home with support; we have a pretty tight APHA family in the Northwest, which is really fun.”
Kenny’s calm and cool even in the high-pressure arena of the APHA World Championship Show, but he still felt a few nerves before heading into the Chrome shoot.
“We were getting ready to fly down and I told my son, ‘I don’t think I can do it,’ ” Kenny recounted. “He just went, ‘Come on, Dad, just be normal!’ ”
Once in front of the camera, Kenny was a natural. After all, he lives and breathes the Western life for which the shoot’s clothes were made; Kenny cited Kimes Ranch jeans and STS Ranchwear jackets as two new favorite staples from the shoot, along with his top pick: a PH Barn Door “Marked for Greatness” long-sleeve shirt.
Though his attire was thoroughly Western, Kenny couldn’t help but notice a few differences between the location and attire of the fashion shoot versus a normal day at home.
“This isn’t quite how we go to the horse shows,” Kenny quipped. “We get there sweaty and dirty and half worn-out!”
Thanks to a childhood spent amongst the colorful breed and a professional life that’s flourished in the same setting, Kenny’s love for Paints runs deep—he was practically raised in the APHA family, and he even bears an APHA tattoo on his arm—and it shows in his daily passion for improving both his horses and clients.
“I was sitting around with a buddy of mine and we started talking about tattoos,” Kenny recounted. “I’d never had one, and I didn’t want to get something that wouldn’t mean anything to me. So my friend suggested thinking about things that have been a huge part of my life. In a split second, APHA popped into my mind. I’ve worked with all kinds of equines, but the Paint Horse has literally been my entire life.”
Congrats to our grand-prize winners, Misty and Kenny, and our supporting cast on the 2018 Chrome Fashion Shoot.
[Reprinting all of part of this story is permitted, so long as credit is given to Chrome and a link provide back to apha.com.]
The American Paint Horse Association is the world’s second-largest international equine breed association, registering more than a million horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded. APHA promotes, preserves and provides meaningful experiences with Paint Horses.