I recently had the unique opportunity to meet the Commale family for a photo shoot for Good Play, an FAO Schwarz magazine highlighting young philanthropists and that will feature Katherine on the cover this fall. The experience introduced me to a new level global giving; one where a single caring child can make a difference in the lives of thousands of children halfway across the world. To say I was inspired would be an understatement.
The energy at the shoot was electrifying. Katherine had a team of two art directors, a makeup artist and photographer working with her right from the start. It was fun to watch her model different outfits to find the perfect one to capture her young spirit. The playful attire was paired with fairy wings and a crown of stars – both made from bed nets – to depict a fairy princess. She then climbed in front of a big movie star-like mirror to get her hair and makeup done and it was clear she was having a lot of fun.
Amidst the fast-pace studio rush of preparing for the shoot, Katherine and her family never lost sight of the reason they were there: to continue raising money for desperately-needed bed nets. You couldn’t go too far without running into a net (one was used in the shoot), or a Nothing But Nets t-shirt (which Katherine’s father and brother, Joseph, were wearing) or the famous pizza box diagram which has catalyzed Katherine’s fundraising and awareness efforts. This was impressive.
The photo shoot went off without a hitch. Katherine got along quite well with photographer Philip Newton, who specializes in photographing children. He shot a variety of angles with the intention of capturing Katherine’s youth and the spirit of her giving. In one shoot she ran and jumped around with a piece of a bed net, in another she played with her diagram. Always with a smile on her face and at ease in the busy and almost intimidating environment, I had to keep reminding myself that Katherine is only seven years old! At the end of the five-hour shoot, we were all exhausted (I don’t know how Katherine made it!) but we had a lot of fun and all knew that we had been a part of something special.