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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Le Mars native plunges into professional modeling company

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Boji Babes of Okoboji are more than a group of pretty women whose images light up the pages of a calendar.

They are 12 professional models, including five Le Mars natives, from all walks of life, with a passion to help others.

Some are college students, others graduates, moms, wives and career women.

Jacqui Wells, of Le Mars, is Miss October and the mastermind behind Boji Babes, which is based in Okoboji because most of its "babes" have homes there.

Wells worked as a professional model in Arizona about six years "on and off" until she stopped to have a child and get married.

When she and her husband divorced, Wells decided to move back to Le Mars, to raise her daughter, now 3.

"I missed modeling a lot. That was my job," Wells said. "Coming up here there's nothing like this at all so I felt maybe I should start something."

Wells said she's modeled in calendars before and felt that was something she wanted to do.

This past spring Wells took the plunge.

"I went down to the lawyer's and said I want to start this company," Wells said. "I got everything lined up with the photographer."

She wanted to bring an opportunity like modeling in a calendar, something that would generally be found in larger cities like California or Arizona, to Iowa, Wells said.

Wells also asked Nicole Koley, a long-time family friend, to develop the Boji Babes' website, www.bojibabes.com. Koley is the company's web designer and liaison.

"In order to get these girls (models), we had an online contest," Wells said of recruiting Boji Babes. "More than 38 girls entered and put their pictures online to vote on and filled out a survey."

There was a 10-day voting process where website users could pick their favorites.

The top 11 women with the most votes were chosen to be Boji Babes, Wells said.

"We had like over 50,000 votes come in, in 10 days. I got to painstakingly count all 50,000 votes," Koley said.

The Boji Babes website will have been up five months Saturday and has already had thousands of hits, Koley said.

Five of the 12 Boji Babes originally from Le Mars still have family in the area and graduated from Le Mars Community School, Wells said.

"I decided we should do the calendar and give back to the community, so for every calendar that we sell we give $3 to a charity that we decide on," Wells said. "This time it's Children's Miracle Network."

The Boji Babes also plan to host events and encourage people to donate money or items to charities and organizations in need.

They will host Help for the Holidays from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday at Mr. P's Pizza & Sports Grill, 638 Eighth Ave. S.W., in Le Mars.

Five Boji Babes featured in the calendar from the Siouxland area will be in the party room to receive donations for Toys for Tots, the Salvation Army and U.S. Army troops serving overseas, Koley said.

Boji Babes are also asking for cash donations that they will use to help an area family in need.

"If somebody in particular needs help or knows of someone, we are encouraging them to submit an email to us and tell us about their story," Koley said. "We're accepting submissions until Dec. 1."

Even if people can't make monetary donations Sunday, they can still help out, Koley said.

"The Salvation Army needs clothing. People can clean out their closet," she said. "You can grab a couple of cans out of your pantry."

Everyone dropping off a donation at Mr. P's Sunday will have a chance to win a free 2010 Boji Babes calender, receive a free photograph of the Boji Babes, meet the women and have a photo taken with them.

Although it is a for-profit company, Koley said a portion of all of Boji Babes' proceeds will be given to charity.

"We just don't want to be pretty girls sitting there," Wells said. "We want to help people."

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Awwwww Congrats Jac this is so awesome what you are doing!!! You and your girls are so sweet!!!!

-- Posted by ConfusedParent on Fri, Nov 6, 2009, at 11:58 AM

I'm not so sure what to think. Maybe the charity should be abused and neglected children or family abuse caused by such berating of females? This is an example of exploitation that reduces the professional advancement of women. After all it is only females. Why not include males? it isn't really about modelling is it?

-- Posted by Michael Lamb on Mon, Nov 9, 2009, at 8:09 PM

"This is an example of exploitation that reduces the professional advancement of women."

Really? I don't believe this to be true. There are many women who have made careers out of modeling. Why are people so quick to hate a woman for having the guts to acknowledge her beauty? That mentality is what really hinders the advancement of women in our society. Since when is having self esteem and a good sense of self a bad thing?

First you claim its exploitation then you want to include males in it. If it exploits women then one can only believe it would exploit men too. So I guess what I'm getting is that all you really want is "equal exploitation."

This is just an innocent calendar. Don't read so much into it and if you don't like.. don't buy one. I am a woman and know a few of the ladies who appear in it. I think it's fantastic! I'm proud of them.

-- Posted by fleshwound on Wed, Nov 11, 2009, at 7:23 AM

"A Different View"

What is with the negativity?? Why is it that women can't be taught that they are beautiful?? What is wrong with a young woman looking for talent in Le Mars and not only that but putting her dream to work with a charitable organization?

Sense when did we become such a snooty society that everything new must have our noses lifted, backs turned and prance the other direction???

For goodness sake we complain about being Podunk, rednecks, being portrayed as snobs and ect.... Yet this young woman takes what she has done in larger cites and brought it here to help younger women get the chance to become something bigger then a farmers wife, stay at home mom, working at wal mart.(Note I am not saying any of those things are bad but simply stating who really wants to be stuck here in Le Mars with such negativity?) maybe she is giving women hope that beauty can be within and out.

Jacqui you're an amazing person and you have a heart of gold. Continue your work and let the simple minds like those of ADifferntView do just that, have a different view and mock at what they were unable to accomplish in their lives!

Young talent/money/ideas bring people/money/ideas back to a community that tends to be diminishing little by little!

For Once Be Grateful Someone Picked Le Mars!!!!

-- Posted by ConfusedParent on Tue, Nov 17, 2009, at 11:19 AM

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