Mother and daughter Marguerite Furlong and Madelynn Hackwith Furlong know how to strike a pose with the best of them. We caught up with our own hometown experts to learn how they have successfully navigated the beauty and fashion industry, and how they are influencing others.
For more than 20 years, Marguerite had a successful modeling career, and she has built an impressive network across the beauty and entertainment business. Starting as a dancer and singer when she was in junior high, and then in college, she was the first person to be cast in a national tour of Sesame Street Live that helped launch her career. And that was just the beginning.
“I was the first Apple computers poster girl,” says Marguerite, who worked mainly as an industrial and commercial model, and has appeared in commercials and print ads, as well as an extra in a few movies.
After working and living in New York, she returned to White Bear Lake to raise her four daughters, including her eldest, Madelynn, who is making her own mark on the industry.
In 2005 Marguerite launched Moonstar Management to help others cultivate their passion and talents. Her talent scout and talent management company is primarily based in New York and she’s been instrumental in the careers of several actors, singers and models.
“I am casting for everything from Disney, Nickelodeon, The Good Wife, Orange Is the New Black and Empire to Nike, Target, Motorola and Nordstrom. That’s what I’m doing daily now. I also place people on Broadway,” she says.
Marguerite spends time judging and scouting at competitions, pageants and showcases to add to her talent pool of approximately 250 actors, models, singers, dancers and bands. She also takes headshots for her clients and helps coach and direct how they can improve their skills.
“I have a formula: passion, persistence, perseverance and then, hopefully, a paycheck,” adds Marguerite.
Marguerite still gets her fix in the spotlight, as she sings with a band at Frigaard’s in Willernie on Wednesday nights and at the Dugout Bar in Mahtomedi during the summer. “I just love the industry and entertainment, and I really love mentoring others,” she adds.
While Marguerite has been helping others get their big break, her daughter Madelynn is documenting her own fashion and beauty journey, as her multifaceted career reaches new heights.
By day, Madelynn uses her fine art degree as a photo art director for Target; however, it’s her widely popular style blog, Wide Eyed Legless (WEL), that has launched this White Bear Lake High School grad onto the Twin Cities style A-list.
“The inspiration and goal is mostly the same. I want to create beautiful things and invite others into that process,” says Madelynn, who can often be found modeling her signature minimalist style amid her curated picks on the blog.
Madelynn was also recently cast in a Fossil campaign as one of the brand’s “Fall Kin,” a group of brand ambassadors, which featured Madelynn on a billboard in Times Square. However, her first modeling job came much earlier.
“My mother loves to tell the story of when she was pregnant with me and modeled in a Target ad, so I guess you could say that was my first gig!” says Madelynn. “Because of my fashion blog, I do some modeling, but it feels different. When you have a blog, people want to collaborate with you because of the name you’ve built for yourself. Being a professional model is a whole different thing. Even for the Fossil shoot, I was cast because I am creative and an influencer, not a model.”
Wide Eyed Legless has national attention, earning collaborations with top brands and features by Madewell, Urban Outfitters, Women’s Wear Daily, W Magazine, Garance Doré, The Sartorialist and more. She also has developed a strong social media presence, with over 120,000 followers on Instagram, and was named in Time magazine’s Top 50 Instagram photographers to follow in 2015.
“My mother has always told me to shoot for the moon. I have always appreciated how much she encouraged me to dream big,” Madelynn adds.
“I passed the baton and she passed me,” says Marguerite. “It’s a parent’s dream.”
Mother and daughter agree that beauty is really about expressing uniqueness.
“My advice is to be yourself. You can’t try to be Madonna or Beyoncé; they’re already doing that. Find your passion, see what you can do to best serve society and use your gifts,” says Marguerite.
“I love how [the industry] lets you create, explore and express your individuality,” Madelynn says. “Feeling beautiful is about believing in yourself; no one can make you feel beautiful but you. And that’s something that I have learned with age.”