Where Are They Now? Check Up on AOL Job's Most Popular Subjects
Remember the women who claimed they lost employment for being too sexy, too busty or too large? What about the pint-sized business mogul and the 'Forgotten Woman?' Did the cabinet maker who tried to save the family business with the cutting board she sold to Williams Sonoma succeed? And did that billboard family have any luck selling the shirts on their children's backs?
We decided to check in with the subjects of some of our best-read articles, and see what exactly happened to them after hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people learned about them when they were featured on AOL.com. Most were happy to share.
Some, however -- like DebraLee Lorenzana, who says she was fired from a bank job because she was too sexy, and Amy-Erin Blakely, who claimed she lost her executive position at the the non-profit Devereux Foundation because she was too busty -- were tough to get a hold of. They are both suing their former employers, however, and are represented by high-profile civil rights attorney Gloria Allred, who made this uncharacteristically terse statement about their status: "Both cases are still in litigation."
In the meantime, it's been reported that Lorenzana has turned down a myriad media offers, including one from Playboy, and others from Web and television news and reality shows. She continues working at another bank that offered her a job after she was fired from Citibank, however. "I don't want to be famous," she says. Apparently, her views on that have changed since she starred in a 2003 plastic surgery documentary telling the story, in great detail, of her breast augmentation.
April Morse: Cutting-board designer cuts up with Nate Berkus
April Morse, who blogged about the wine bottle-shaped cutting board she created and was contacted by the head of Williams Sonoma to carry it, is more than happy to share the details of how she saved the family business and created jobs for others in the small Northern California community of Lodi.
The producers of 'The Nate Berkus Show' saw the article, reached out to April and flew her and her father to New York to appear on the show. And her success snowballed.
First Williams Sonoma ordered 2,000 wine bottle boards, and they sold so well that they decided to sell them online and in every store, not just the top stores as they'd originally planned. Now April and her father are working on a leaf-shaped cutting board to keep the momentum going, and she's also attempting to get both products in the catalog.
She has been getting some offers that her husband hasn't appreciated much, however. It somehow got reported that she is a "single mother of two." Morse wants the world to know that she is very happily married.
Mollee Harper: The 'Forgotten Woman' is remembered
AOL readers reached out to Mollee Harper, the former CEO who had been out of work for almost 2 1/2 years when we featured last month her poignant story, in which she gradually sold off her possessions to make ends meet. "Over 1,000 people reached out to me," she says.
"Forty percent of the readers are beautiful, good-hearted, amazing, caring people, all over the country and world, who reached out with words of support and messages of hope," she says. Some even "offered me a room or a place in their home so I don't end up in a shelter. A Pastor from the Northwest reached out and got my utilities paid (or I would be sitting in the dark right now), and even two readers sent me gifts of $100. It has meant the world to me, and there are no words to describe what it feels to belong again, be loved again."
She's been invited to speak on radio shows including Voice of America and has been featured in articles, such as "From CEO to Food Stamps." She's also been contacted by a number of television outlets, both national and international.
While she still does not have a full-time job, she has been contacted by "business owners or entrepreneurs starting new businesses or non-profits, many seeking advice or help to save their business, and I am still exploring these opportunities and new contacts now. This has lead to consulting projects and involvement in many important global issues, new writing jobs, and more."
Lynae Remondino: Rejected by Weight Watchers but not waiting around
Weight Watchers wouldn't hire Lynae Remondino for a behind-the scenes training position, saying her body mass index was too high -- even though she lost over 100 lbs. and seven dress sizes. Rather than sue, Remondino moved on, applying for other jobs, volunteering, and staying active in various civic groups.
"I'm still looking for a job in the Learning and Organizational Development arena," she says. "My recent humbling and gratifying endeavor is volunteering at the Empowerment Program. I am coaching/facilitating soft skills to women who have recently been released from a long-term correctional facility to assist them while they are in transition back into the community and work force. I'm also in the process of starting a network/learning group on LinkedIn for the Colorado area where people can network and at the same time learn a certain skill set while getting feedback from other leaders in the community."
"Additionally, I am in the process of designing a website for my jewelry, LynaeJewelry.com, which will be up and running by mid-January. So, all in all, I am doing my best to stay busy while searching for my next full-time career. My goal is to preserve and keep moving forward while maintaining focus and keeping my skills fresh. It's rough out here but I am optimistic. People can follow me on Twitter under Lynae Remondino if they'd like me to keep them posted."
Hannah Altman: Nine-year-old mini mogul adds to her product line
You remember the 9-year-old Michigan girl who started a retail toy website with pencil toppers, and grew it into an international website that earns hundreds of thousands of dollars? Well, she's still at it, expanding and giving thousands away to charity.
When she wasn't in school, getting together with friends, or at summer camp learning to ride horses, she added products to her original website, Hannah's Cool World. One is a Hip To The Skippy wide band silicone bracelet for $4.99. Other new products include Jasper Pals, which are little carved and painted wooden animal worry dolls for kids, for $5.99 each. A portion of the sales from all of these products goes to charitable organizations.
Hannah's family, which supports her in everything she does, has the goal of making $500,000 in sales before the end of the year. For 2011 they hope to spread the good will of Hip To The Skippy, get Jasper Pals worry dolls into retail stores and hospital gift shops, and double 2010 sales. Hannah's goal for 2011 is to get a pony.
The Martins: Billboard family wears your heart on their sleeves
Some readers thought Carl Martin and his wife Amy were shameless when they started BillboardFamily.com, offering to have the whole family, which includes two young children, wear advertisers' T-shirts all day and publicize their products online and in person -- for a price. Others thought it was a genius way to create work for themselves and make a living.
Still others thought the family would make a great docu-series/reality show, optioned their story, shot a pilot, and are currently shopping it around to various cable networks. That pales in comparison to the arrival of baby Alex, however, which is expected to happen on Dec. 31. In case you were wondering, Benson's Bottom Paint bought that day for $730, and the Martins will be wearing their shirts in the hospital.
The Martin's T-shirt wearing and promotional services are completely booked well into March, and now they've decided to franchise their idea to other families all over the world. Not bad for a company that starts its first official business day on New Years Eve.
If you're curious about whatever happened to someone we featured here in AOL jobs, feel free to ask us for an update on their status. We wish we could say everyone is happy and successful in a job they love, but unfortunately, that's not the way the world works. Still, we do what we can to help people give their lives a positive spin.