Farmer ready for her close-up

  • Article by: KIM PALMER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 11, 2011 - 5:47 PM

Irene Genelin of Hutchinson was the winner of Duluth Trading Company's "real women" model search.

Photo: Nick Berard, Star Tribune

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Most aspiring models don't have to split logs to show they're photogenic. But that's what farmer Irene Genelin of Hutchinson, Minn., did to clinch her win in a "Real Women" modeling contest sponsored by a workwear retailer.

"We'd just purchased a wood splitter and don't split by hand anymore," Genelin, 27, admitted.

But the Duluth Trading Co. scouts who visited York Farm, the CSA that Genelin owns and operates with her husband, wanted to take test photos of her wielding an ax, as well as harvesting basil and watermelons, turning compost and driving a tractor.

Genelin ultimately beat out hundreds of would-be models nationwide. She shares top honors with a firefighting horse wrangler from Oregon. The two women will start appearing in catalogs and on the Wisconsin company's website early next year.

Modeling is a new experience for Genelin, who's also a yoga instructor and a nine-time world champion unicyclist.

"I've never had a hair and makeup stylist before," she said.

That was fun, but she plans to keep her day job, she added.

"Oh, gosh, yes, I'll still be farming."

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