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Tween Girls: Just Ask Marlene

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Marlene Wallach has a lot to share. As president and owner of Wilhelmina Kids and Teens, she's served as confidante to both tweens and the health and beauty experts they'd love to learn from.

Marlene Wallach

Vivian Manning-Schaffel: She hopes her new book series, The Tween Lifestyle Collection, and her website, Just Ask Marlene, will empower young girls with the tools to sail through tweendom more happily.

"I see these young adolescents trying to make their way through the world, hearing all these mixed messages. I wanted to use my voice of authority in the world of modeling to get their attention," Wallach says. "They come to me and ask me things that they can't ask their mother or their best friend. There isn't a day that goes by where I don't hear 'just ask Marlene.' That's how we got the name for my website, Just Ask Marlene, or JAM. I'm not a shrink, a nutritionist, or a teacher -- but for those reasons they might listen to me!"

Each book in the series focuses on a different aspect of tween life. "My Self" is what Wallach considers the hub, tackling a variety of tween issues, from confidence to tricky interpersonal relationships, in a warm, conversational tone that doesn't patronize. "What the books are about is empowering young girls to be the best they can be and have their unique beauty shine through from the inside out," Wallach says.

"My Life" serves as a guide to health and fitness, with tips on everything from posture to sleep and Q&A profiles with tween athletes. "My Look" helps tweens work with their best assets, and "My Beauty" has the requisite makeup tips while emphasizing a more natural approach to personal maintenance. supports these books with a chipper, colorful online community where tweens can further explore these topics.

So far, the response to the series has been pleasantly eye-opening for Wallach. "First of all, I've got to say that I'm always thrilled when someone orders the book because it means the message has shined through and that's my goal. It's the most meaningful thing in my career. If I can give one tip to make a girl this age shine through a little more, I'll have made a difference."

Considering she runs the largest kid modeling agency in the world, I'm about ready to mine these tips myself.

next: Just a Guy Farting: Part Two
3 comments so far | Post a comment now
Rebecca October 18, 2009, 8:10 AM

That’s great that someone from the modeling world is empowering girls With the uproar of the Ralph Lauren model, Tween girls are probably more confused. Plus, the picture was a BAD Photoshop job!

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