Just Having Fun
here's our hope for the future
The party didn't start until Hope Marie Carlton got there. Hope brings it with her, you see. Mostly legs and ramrod straight, she strode through the crowd greeting people with a laugh and a hug, like a salesman or a politician, though she had nothing to sell and wasn't up for any office. It's as though she has trouble finding a reason not to be happy and wants to spread the word.
"I'm always out to have fun," she admits. "When people say, 'Hope, you always look as if you're having a good time,' I say, 'Yeah, I go everywhere with myself.' "
When you finally talk privately with her, you find she's no Pollyanna, just determined not to let anything get her down.
"I mean, it's the way the cards fall, isn't it? It's as if I'm in the middle of a game right now and I don't know what's going to happen next, which is exciting and very scary.
"I ran computers for a while and I almost ripped my hair out. I couldn't stand it. I'd go crazy sitting there looking at that screen and punching in invoices all day. One day, I got up, threw that stack of papers and said, 'I've had it!' I walked out and got on my horse and went for a four-and-a-half-hour ride, and I was fine. And as long as you don't put me back in that office, I'll be fine."
There's not much chance of that happening. Hope, who most of her life has called Tampa home, is firmly established as a model there and, with several years' experience to her credit, is planning to tackle Los Angeles next. After all, she's "already the big one-nine. I'm getting old," Hope says, only half-joking. "I've been working since I was 13. My mother used to model in New York when I was a baby, and I started doing little-girl fashion shows and stuff like that.
"I was an only child and I was spoiled. But I was not spoiled rotten. I got things that I wanted, but I was always expected to save up half the money for them myself first. That teaches you responsibility.
When I was in high school, I was working, going to school and taking care of horses; that's all I did. At one time, I was responsible for seven horses. But when modeling got serious, I had to give it up. It was just taking too much of my time. I always bit off more than I could chew. But that teaches you; it makes you learn.
Besides, I deal with pressure really well. I think I'm better under pressure. It keeps me going, like having somebody light a fire under me."
Hope hardly needs such encouragement. She gets such a charge out of what she's doing that dragging her away from it would seem to be the problem.
"When I'm in front of that camera, I become somebody else. It's like a release, and I don't think of anything else but what I'm doing. I just go crazy. I love it!
The only thing that really makes me miserable is coming to a standstill."
Photography by Richard Fegley