Carol Ostrow – Modeling in Washington, D.C.


By Carol Ostrow


I knew on my honeymoon that Alvin Ostrow was a big mistake. Husband #2, handsome, brilliant, (although I did not realize at the time, fabulously wealthy), was a playboy who never worked a day in his life. I was wearing a 10 carat diamond ring and miserable. Oh well, I said to myself, somehow I would make this work. My mother loved him, of course.

Alvin loved sleeping all day, staying up all night and following me around like a puppy. He meant well, was high on pot most of the time and would gain or lose 100 pounds at a time, year in and year out. This was not stability. I lost at least 20 pounds in my misery, developing anorexia and bulimia – a double whammy. I lost so much weight that a friend said I could model.  Indeed I did. I started working for the department stores, specialty shops and much print work for magazines and The Washington Post newspaper. I rarely smiled. I also saved my money.


Carol and Alvin Ostrow on Left with friends in D.C.


There were so many fashion shows raising money for charities in D.C. I would watch and learn how to put them together, how the clothes told a story for each season, while I modeled. I could also see that most models, including me, looked angry on the runway. I got the bright idea that the shows would be so much more enjoyable with peppy music, a little choreography and a lot of mood lighting. After all, I learned from the best. Thank you Barry Ashton. I convinced the head of fashion at Saks 5th Avenue to let me direct a segment of the next show and see what would happen. That started a whole new chapter in fashion shows in D.C. and Baltimore. I found a purpose and a career. I was miserable.

Bulimia was taking a toll on my health. During the 8th root canal, I decided to buy into the modeling agency I worked for. Central Casting had two smart and beautiful models running the agency. I joined forces with them just to stop my unhealthy behavior. From that step, I decided to leave my husband, start a tour company we called Central Tours and go back to school. I finally graduated from American University in 1976. Hard work always paid off. The lazier Alvin became, the harder I worked.


Central Tours – Leading Group to Nations Capitol Bldg. (Carol Ostrow, bottom left)

Acting in commercials was very lucrative. I appeared in many of them, even though I was a partner in the agency. I still wanted a fantasy career as an actress in New York. Every Saturday morning, I took the train to New York to get to the HB Studio for classes, studying with Herbert Berghof  himself and, for a brief time, his wife Uta Hagen. She did not like me but Herbert did, too much. He was quite a ladies man.

I absolutely loved D.C., never intending to leave as I was in many commercials, plays and in demand for the fashion shows. Studying for my BA took up every bit of free time I had. I was making a career, a life. Happy, single again, an apartment that I bought from my earnings and a car that took me anywhere I wanted to go.

Then, an invitation to attend a party in New York. As fate would have it, I met the man of my dreams. New York was to be the next chapter when I least expected it.


Gems From The Pandemic Pen:

You must have a dream,

Farfetched it might seem,

Gives you a reason to get out of bed.

Your imagination will lead instead,

Of doubting your thoughts and hopes.

Those who say don’t are misanthropes.

Take a chance, you can do it,

With style, grace and wit.

Just gather up a little grit.

Just do it!!



Outrage, sadness, shame for criminal acts,

Has nothing to do with the actual facts.

Nothing wrong to protest and shout,

But what is all this looting about??

How can my voice scream to be heard,

When a killing excuses and covers the absurd,

Criminals who use our sorrow to excuse,

To steal, to break, to take, to abuse.

When is enough enough?

Yes, to punish the guilty few,

On video we see, we could hear and knew,

Evil was done by an officer in blue.

But, no matter how terrible, to take to the Street

And commit crimes, commit mayhem, cannot compete,

As evil upon evil makes a shamble of your Rage.

Unless you are punished for committing such wrongs,

We cannot turn to another page,

Or even sing our freedom’s songs.

No excuses for committing, yet another Crime.

Yes, we hurt but must look to heal

And somehow prepare for a better time.

Right now, this minute, enough is enough.



(to be continued)