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Quincyan Waits On Modeling Runway

Billy Marquart

By Betty Anders

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

Billy Marquart seemed to enjoy a typical life at Quincy High School. He was successful in football and track, was a decent student and had many friends before he graduated in May 2005.

Life as a college student, however, hasn't been so typical.

Marquart, who attends Santa Monica College in the Los Angeles area and runs the 400-meter dash on the track team, made a few appearances on "Date My Mom," a TV dating show that airs on the music channel MTV.

A male between the ages of 18 to 24 goes on three separate dates with three moms who try to convince them to pick their son or daughter to date. The dater only meets the mother and makes his or her decision solely on their impression of the mother and her descriptions of her child.

More recently, Marquart has appeared on "The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency," a reality television series that debuted in June on the Oxygen network (Channel 56 on Insight Cablevision in Quincy). The series follows supermodel and former America's Next Top Model judge Janice Dickinson as she prepares to launch her own modeling agency with real accounts and business deals.

"I'm proof that it's real I'm working," said Marquart of "The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency."

Marquart says Dickinson's tirades are sometimes taken up a notch to "spice it up," but the depiction of her basic personality and business transactions are accurate.

The show's season finale is at 9 p.m.

Tuesday on Oxygen. Marquart will learn if he receives a contract to appear on next year's show, but he already has a five-year contract with the modeling agency.

Marquart commutes to classes from the UCLA campus (since Santa Monica has no dorms). His roommates are from Bolivia and Turkey, and he says the broad social scope of the California culture is interesting and enjoyable.

"I came out here with opportunity in mind, but I had no idea where it might lead. It's been great," he said.

Marquart said he was walking on the UCLA campus when people approached him with the idea of appearing on "Date My Mom."

"I pretty much did and said what was scripted," he said. "People who know me well could have easily figured out that what came out of my mouth wasn't the real me, but it was fun."

Marquart learned about "The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency" through a sign on a locker-room door promoting a casting call. About 1,000 others attended the casting call, and Marquart said Dickinson liked him right away.

However, agency co-owner Peter Hamm wasn't so sure.

"I had my doubts, because he didn't have the height of the other male models I work with," he said. "But he has a great face and personality. He had that typical track-and-field body. He's working hard on it now; he's getting that six-pack going."

Because Marquart's appearances on the show resulted from a volunteer casting call, he was not paid this season. "If I am chosen for a second season, a contract would be made, and I would be mentioned in the credits," he said.

Hamm, who now serves as Marquart's manager, sees him doing modeling for lines like fragrances, specifically mentioning Ralph Lauren's Polo. Marquart said he also had a recent meeting to work out a deal with Abercrombie and Fitch.

"Now that I'm in (the modeling business), I want to continue, but school is important," he said.

Marquart is leaning toward becoming a communications major, knowing that area of study will help him in a career in the television business.

"I've learned so much about the business behind the scenes, watching directors make decisions, is all interesting," he said. "It's the enjoyable side."

Marquart's parents, Billy Sr. and Jane, have visited a few times to see track meets and tapings.

"I went to two tapings of 'Date My Mom,' " said Marquart Sr. "It was really something, the star treatment, complete with limos."

Marquart Sr. said he was a professional boxer, once holding the Golden Gloves title in New Jersey, and that he was a bodyguard for Sylvester Stallone. He was in front of the camera in four of Stallone's movies.

"His mother and I want him to enjoy these years but to continue his studies," said Marquart Sr. "We want him to have something to fall back on."

Marquart has gratitude for his parents, his friends and the background he enjoyed by growing up in the Midwest.

"I wouldn't be who I am if it weren't for the life I've had in Quincy," he said. "This is all great, and I might stay with it for five or 10 years, but when I start a family, I'm going back to a small town, back near my parents.

"I know I'm only 19 and not really old enough to give advice or anything, but one thing I have found is this: I've witnessed a lot of disappointment out here. I've seen kids who come with one purpose only, and when that doesn't work out, they have nothing else. If you dwell on disappointment, nothing will happen for you. Trust your instinct and heart."

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