Hundreds of brides-to-be responded to the Bridal Extravaganza Show’s call for a woman to appear on billboards throughout Houston
Being engaged and planning your special day is one of the most exciting times in a girl’s life. The details, the worry, the joy, the countless thoughts running through your mind can be exhausting. Bride-to-be Michelle Usher attended July’s Bridal Extravaganza Show looking for ideas and inspiration to plan her big day. While browsing through the aisles, she saw a contest for Houston’s next Billboard Bride. “I dropped my name in the box not thinking that they would actually call,” she gasps. “Next thing I know, they do.”
Usher received the congratulatory call telling her that she would be the face of the Bridal Extravaganza Show while getting ready for work. “I was in shock initially, but then it set in. I had two dreams in life — to meet my true love and to be successful at whatever I do. Both goals were met this year.”
Bridal Extravaganza Show officials decided to embark on this journey when owner and recent bride Laurette Veres graced the show’s billboards last year. She was overcome with emotion when she looked up and saw her picture on a billboard. “Getting married is such a special time in your life,” she says, “Each time you see your bridal portrait, you are reminded of your special day.”
After receiving tons of feedback from family and friends on how using a real bride on the billboards was a good idea, the wheels for the city-wide contest were set in motion. “Why not ask Houstonians to be a Billboard Bride?” Veres asks. “As soon as I saw the billboard, I knew I needed to share this feeling with other brides.”
The response was overwhelming. Hundreds of engaged ladies entered the contest and weeks were spent narrowing down the selection to eight finalists. A test photo shoot was conducted to determine who would be able to captivate Houston’s drivers as the next Billboard Bride. It was a daunting task for the panelists to choose as each woman had beauty and a great personality. Usher won over the judges with her poise and personality. As her test shoot ended, her radiance was still beaming. “We loved her confidence and beauty,” says Veres.
Usher has had a whirl-wind year. After a bad ending to a previous relationship, she decided to get out and mingle with friends. While watching television one night, her sister convinced her to try out for the reality show “The Bachelor.”
“I thought why not?” she says. “I was single and wanted a break from everything. I didn’t necessarily want to be in a relationship, I just wanted to go for the experience.” She qualified and almost made it to the final end. Out of thousands of would-be contestants, Usher was ranked No. 30; however the show allows only 25 ladies. “I am so glad I didn’t go,” she says. “If I did, I never would have met Sam.”
Usher, a law clerk, did not want to date a lawyer. However, after frequent run-ins with her groom-to-be at the courthouse she says the attraction was too much to bear. From the moment Usher’s fiancé laid eyes on her, it was love at first sight.
Sam Cammack III, an attorney in Galveston County, is the lucky guy. With a successful career, the only thing missing in his life was love. He can’t stop expressing his admiration for Usher and claims she is the most incredible woman he has ever met. “There were instant sparks,” he says. “Our attraction isn’t fake — you can’t fake what we have.” When he learned she was the contest winner, he was ecstatic. “I am glad that everyone will see [the beautiful girl] I get to see and be with everyday,” he says. “My greatest success in life is her.”
At the photo shoot, Usher donned five dresses by Houston-based designer Winnie Couture, and flashed her bright smile for six long hours. Throughout the day her enthusiasm didn’t diminish. “Because of Christ and finally accepting myself for who I am, my dreams are finally coming true.”
After prepping her hair and makeup, the fun began. The panelist agonized about which dress she should wear, then narrowed it down to two; one from the Winnie Couture selection and her own wedding dress. “Let’s just say I am getting much use out of this dress,” she laughed.
Fresh Blooms of Houston contributed two custom flower bouquets for the shoot. Hair and makeup was styled by Andrea Schutter, whose work has appeared in national magazines for 20 years. The photo shoot was a success. “I can’t believe this happened!” she exclaims. “I have had such an amazing year and this experience was icing on the cake. Can you believe my face will be all over Houston?”
Yes, we can.