From – Fountain Hills Times, February 12, 2014
CDA Press. Jan 7, 2010
The model of ambition
Danielle Lundquist has been featured on five magazine covers Alecia Warren; Staff writer
Published: January 7, 2010
In the chicly decorated studio of P.J. and Company Models, Danielle Lundquist was getting a little practice in. The camera clicked and she was effortless, fluid in her motions as she fell into pose after pose, hands brushing lips and flipping blond strands past her eyes.”You look really natural, let me tell you,” said photographer Rajah Bose. “I’m probably the 4,000th person to tell you that.” She smiled and shrugged. “It just comes from all the time in front of the camera,” Danielle said. “You just learn.” Seems to be paying off. Just turned 20, the model from Post Falls is brushing the cusp of stardom in the Los Angeles fashion scene. With five magazine covers under her belt, her 5-feet 10-inch frame is currently staring out of several glossy magazines on store shelves. he has worked in Jamaica and Australia, and opened for runway shows at L.A. Fashion Week, which professionals tout as the benchmark that a model has made it. “I’m still just beginning. It’s nothing crazy yet,” Danielle said in the Liberty Lake studio on Wednesday, where she was posing for a local photographer’s portfolio. “I’m definitely still getting there.” She’s already come farther than most, said P.J. Trzeciak, owner of P.J. and Company where Danielle was introduced to the industry.”She’s making money,” Trzeciak said. “Beginning models don’t make money. They’re spending on travel and photos. But she’s doing it.” Danielle first signed with P.J. and Company at 14, her mother’s idea to help her daughter be comfortable in the lanky body that towered over others her age.”If you look at pictures of her when she was 14, she was hunched over to look less tall, she wouldn’t smile, because she had braces,” said her mother, Kelly. “I just wanted her to have confidence.” From there it just grew, she said. Danielle participated in P.J. and Company fashion shows and the Festival of Trees fashion show. She was featured in local movies and shot commercials here and there. At 16, she flew out for shoots in New York City. “I did whatever I could,” Danielle remembered. After graduating from Post Falls High School two years ago, she moved to L.A., one of the top fashion markets any job-seeking model would want to be in the center of. But fame and fortune were never her goals. “I needed to start my own story,” she said. “I had to get out of my small town and survive on my own two feet.” She soon signed with modeling agency Photogenics, and quickly discovered modeling is a full-time gig. Five days a week, she fights L.A. traffic to get to three or four castings a day with designers, she said, who interview her for shoots and runway shows. Typically she presents her portfolio and tries to make an impression with pleasant banter. Sometimes she’ll try on clothes and show her walk. But it always depends on the client’s caprice. “It’s all about them liking my look,” Danielle said. “If they do, I get the job. If not, oh well. Hopefully next time will go better.” She has roughly three or four shoots or shows a month, she said, some of which can last up to 12 hours a day.”I’m passionate about it, because every day we’re making new art,” she said. “I know many people don’t see it that way, but look at the photographer and the makeup artist. To them, what they do is art.” There’s not much to keeping up her looks, she said. Just following good nutrition, and staying out of the sun to keep her pale skin, because her fair, willowy look sets her apart from golden California girls. “I’ve never really felt that pressure,” she said of staying beautiful. “I don’t know if I’d be so excited about this if I had to go crazy exercising every day.” Spread out on a table in Trzeciak’s studio are several magazines turned to Danielle’s photos. In some she’s natural, a kind of plain-Jane approachable. In others, cosmetics transform her into something darkly glamorous. Clad in flowing gowns or form-fitting leather, she could almost be another girl.”This one was hard,” Danielle said with a laugh as she pointed to one spread. “I was in leather all day and it was 104 degrees out.” It’s the ability to adapt to any style that gives a model value, Trzeciak said. “The thing about Danielle is that she is so pliable,” said Trzeciak, who has been in the industry 25 years. “She takes on the attitude of whatever they’re putting her in. She wants to satisfy the clients.” The only downside is Danielle’s separation from her parents and brother and sister.”We’re a very close family,” Kelly said, adding that she and Danielle phone each other about three times a day. “I miss her terribly. That’s why I scout on the Internet for her photos. It keeps her close.” When she finds photos, she wants to show them off, she said, even at the family muffler shop in Post Falls.”We’re the only muffler shop with fashion photos hanging on the wall,” Kelly said with a smile. “They’re just above the chrome tips.” Danielle, who just returned from two months booking modeling jobs in Australia, hopes to end up working more overseas, she said.”Next time it will be Tokyo or Singapore, where I can’t understand the language, so Australia was a good stepping stone,” she said. Eventually she wants to earn enough to quit modeling and open her own wellness center, she added. But there are still a lot of cover photos waiting to be taken, Trzeciak said.”In this industry, there are a lot of beautiful girls, and very few who make it to the top,” she said. “Danielle’s just at the beginning. This is the tip of the iceberg.”
January 14, 2010 in Washington Voices of THE SPOKESMAN – REVIEW
by Cindy Hval
P.J. Trzeciak started teaching classes, building teens’ confidence 25 years ago
PJ & Co offers six weeks of individual instruction. Trzeciak said her classes aren’t just for those interested in a modeling career and that most of her students take the class to improve their self confidence. For more information, go towww.pjandcompanymodels.com. For 25 years, P.J. Trzeciak has been turning gawky teens into self-confident young women. When she started a small modeling agency with $500 and some rented tables and chairs she had no idea what would blossom from those humble beginnings. “I never dreamed it would get so big,” she said. “If I’d known it would grow into an international company, I would have been too scared to start!” Trzeciak said she started the business because “It’s what I knew best.” She’d modeled professionally for 10 years for Danskin, Catalina, Bloomingdale’s and Sak’s, among many other clients. She came to Spokane in 1981 after landing a job representing a local stereo company. Trzeciak fell in love with the city and decided to launch her own business. The fledgling start-up, PJ & Company Models has evolved into an agency, a school and a production company. “I had 22 students in my first class in 1985,” she said. “After graduation, 12 were working in the modeling industry. Currently, her models smile from the Northern Qwest Casino billboards, or stare seductively from the pages of the RiverPark Square holiday catalog. To date, the former Chicago Bears cheerleader has trained and represented thousands of men, women and children. In fact, Trzeciak’s models are working all over the world. One of them, 20-year-old Dani Lundquist, stopped by Trzeciak’s studio last week, having just returned from working in Australia. The 2008 Post Falls High School graduate stays in close contact with her modeling mentor. Dani Lundquist’s mom, Kelley Lundquist, contacted Trzeciak when Dani was 14. “She wouldn’t stand straight,” said Lundquist of her daughter, who at 5 feet 9 inches towered above her classmates. “The only place she stood up straight was on the basketball court. And she had braces at the time, so she’d never smile.”The worried mom hoped a six-week class would inspire confidence in her shy teen. It turns out that class inspired a career. Within weeks Lundquist was walking tall. She and Trzeciak laughed and recited the mantra together, “Twelve o’clock toes, knees locked, shoulders back, heel first, tush tucked, tummy in!” It’s called the runway walk and it becomes so ingrained in Trzeciak’s students that soon they forget there’s any other way to walk. But the class involves much more than just learning an elegant stride. “P.J. taught me about skin care and make-up. She took me shopping and helped with my wardrobe,” Lundquist recalled. While finishing high school, Lundquist took local modeling assignments and worked, saving her money. Two months after graduating she moved to Los Angeles and soon signed with PhotoGenics modeling company. “I love it!” she said of her career. “I get to meet new people every day.” Her two-month stint in Australia was especially exciting. “I did the most amazing thing – I walked the runway for Chanel.” She paused, beaming. “I love the runway. It gets my adrenalin pumping. It’s my sport.” As Trzeciak and Lundquist thumb through the latest glossy fashion magazines featuring Lundquist, it’s apparent that the once awkward teen has come a long way. And she credits her success to Trzeciak. “P.J. made me the woman I am,” she said softly and glanced across the room at her mentor. However, Trzeciak admits international success for one of her models is rare. She said in 25 years, she’s had 50 models who’ve reached beyond the local market. Their pictures and magazine covers adorn the walls of her Liberty Lake home studio. But her mission isn’t necessarily to create stars. For Trzeciak there’s something more important. “I want girls to have class,” she said. “To be gracious and have self-confidence.” Her eyes burn with passion when she talks about her work. “I love making people feel good about themselves. The most important thing to me is a sweet spirit and a beautiful heart.” She believes Lundquist embodies these qualities. “She comes and teaches my students when she’s in town,” said Trzeciak. “She is sweet and real and they can relate to her.” Indeed, Lundquist is remarkably philosophical about her glamorous career. “I’m just a walking hanger,” she said, shrugging. “P.J. teaches us to be professional. This is my business – I’m self-employed.” After 25 years, Trzeciak sometimes thinks about retiring, but her business continues to thrive. And she’s not sure retirement would suit her. She said, “I have so much energy – this is what I love!”
February 19th 2009
A Model for Life
By Hope Brumbach
“My mission in life … is to teach young girls to be ladies and all those I meet to become the best they can, to recognize their gifts and talents and then bless others with those gifts.”
Pick up a River Park Square holiday guide and see a photograph of Liberty Lake resident Hannah Robb gracing the cover.It’s one of the modeling gigs the Central Valley High School sophomore has landed since she enrolled with P.J. & Company Models, a finishing school and modeling agency now based in Liberty Lake. Robb credits the training from owner P.J. Trzeciak as making her “a more educated person on every level.”
“If it takes off, I would love to keep doing this, and I will keep doing this as long as I can,” Robb, 15, said of modeling. “If it does, awesome. If it doesn’t, I’ll apply (the training) to the rest of my life.”
That’s the goal of Trzeciak, a former model, professional cheerleader and founder of P.J. & Company, a talent and modeling fixture in the Spokane region. Trzeciak says she hopes her “people” – what she calls her students – not only find success in the modeling industry but in all of life.”She is extremely focused, the epitome of professionalism; at the same time she is such a lady. She is the kind of person who is an amazing role model for young women and extremely inspiring for older women,” Sharon Robb, Hannah’s mother, said of Trzeciak. “She has a heart of gold. I don’t think I’ve met anyone who is any more true to women and men and really looks out for the whole person.”
Trzeciak broke into the fashion and modeling scene relatively late in life, at the age of 28, she says. She demurs when asked about her childhood, a tough time she only shares to give hope to her students, Trzeciak said in a recent interview at her Liberty Lake home.
Propped on a couch in her spacious living room, Trzeciak is stunning with light blonde hair and a black loose-fitting outfit, with a chunky belt slung around her hips.
“I don’t want to focus on me. I’m the small little P.J. and all those people are the company,” she says of her students. “Without all my students, models and clients and, most of all, Jesus, I would be nothing and have nothing with no hope for tomorrow.”After graduating from high school in 1966, Trzeciak started at the local chamber of commerce as a secretary in a town 100 miles southwest of Chicago. She worked up to the executive director of the chamber, the first woman ever to do so in the country, she says.
Then an acquaintance brought her a newspaper clipping that changed the course of her life. In Chicago there was a Farrah Fawcett look-alike contest. Trzeciak entered, finished in the top 10 and “from then my career took off,” she said.
“I did Neiman Marcus, Saks, Shell Oil, all the top clients, it was pretty amazing,” Trzeciak said.
She traveled back and forth to Chicago before eventually relocating there for photo shoots and runway shows. She worked as a cheerleader for the Chicago Bears and Chicago Bulls, and she served as a spokeswoman for multiple companies.
“It’s prayer power and truly believing what you’re doing is what you’re supposed to be doing for your life. When you know, you see the fruits,” Trzeciak said. “I decided if I was going to be a fashion model, and I was going to do this, I was never going to compromise my moral ethics. I tell my students that. … There is nothing in my past that could come back to haunt me in my modeling career.”
In 1981, Trzeciak relocated to Spokane, where she eventually started P.J. & Company as a finishing and modeling school. At the time, she started the agency to survive, she says.
She began with $500, rented table and chairs and 22 students. Almost instantly, more than half her class had work, she said.
“I didn’t have a goal, I needed to survive. I needed to work,” she said. “But I loved what I did.”
She started a salon and sold her car to buy the materials and rode her bike to work, she said. She later sold the business.
She also met her husband, Marty, in Spokane and 20 days after their first encounter, she asked him to marry her, she says. They’ve been married 22 years.
Over the last 23 years of P.J. & Company, Trzeciak has developed it into a respected talent pool and finishing school. She spun off a talent agency, Take 5 Talent, out of her modeling agency. She’s placed talent on “Home of the Brave” as well as “End Game,” which filmed in Spokane with Cuba Gooding Jr., James Woods and Burt Reynolds.
In the last 13 years, Trzeciak downsized her staff and now operates out of her home. She gives one-on-one tutelage for students wanting to learn the floating model walk (toes at 12 o’clock, heel first), how to apply makeup or to beam confidence.
“Very few people get to become models, but everyone wants to know how to dress, and look good and walk,” said Trzeciak, who says she now is semi-retired. “I never advertised. It was amazing.”
Among her clients are River Park Square, Northern Quest Casino, Nordstrom and Macy’s. She lists more than 60 models on her Web site. Over the years, she’s had more than 40 “stars.” Trzeciak said, who have broken out of the Spokane market.
Hannah Robb, one of her students, describes her mentor as “full of life but meticulous about everything she does.”
“It has to be perfect. It’s key to being in this industry,” Robb said. “And she’s really there to serve the people and puts them before herself.”
“In my mind I’m young, but sometimes my body lets me know it’s not as young as my mind wants it to be.”
Husband, Marty; two stepdaughters, Wendy and Stacie
Lived in Liberty Lake
Since fall 2008
Streator native discovers new models
04/04/2010 by Jerrilyn Zavada
PJ Wilkinson Trzeciak has been on both sides of the modeling scene. The Streator native lives in Spokane, Wash., and has owned and operated PJ and Company Models for 25 years. Her experience as a model has led her to a successful second career. She has recently sent her 51st and 52nd models, Dani Lundquist and Sydney Hamilton, into larger modeling markets. Hamilton recently signed with Nous in Los Angeles. Trzeciak has provided models for such companies as Chico’s, Macy’s, 809 West and Brides magazine, among others. “My biggest joy is to know that my models and talent are not only lovely to look upon, but have beautiful and sweet spirits,” Trzeciak told The Times. “Beauty is a gift. The total package is what makes them successful.” Trzeciak said modeling equates with sales. Models try to sell whatever product it is they are pictured with. “(It is) a combination of physical beauty along with beautiful hearts that permeate a personality, which entices the consumer with a desire to have whatever the model is selling,” she said. Trzeciak utilizes online visibility to market models. Her Web site is http://www.pjandcompanymodels.com
The web site is how, in today’s world, we market talent. (It is) less costly and certainly much more visible and has a much wider audience,” she said. While she is in the business of creating new models, Trzeciak is grateful parents entrust their children to her.
“My greatest pleasure is knowing that parents trust me with their greatest gift, indeed, an honor.” Trzeciak herself is no stranger to what it takes to be a model. In the 1970s, while living in Streator, she was approached by a local barber about participating in a Farrah Fawcett look-a-like contest. After placing in the top 10 finalists, Trzeciak signed to do full-time modeling for a Chicago modeling agency. She went on to become a Honey Bear for the Chicago Bears in the late 1970s. “Chuck Giacinto said I looked like (Fawcett) and maybe I should enter the contest. I didn’t even know who she was,” she said. “Well, that was the beginning of my life’s journey into the most wonderful and rewarding career I could have ever imagined. Thank you, Chuck Giacinto! One never knows who will have an influence over your life.” Trzeciak is the daughter of the late James Jordon and the late Shirley Brewer, both lifelong Streator residents.