Thom Fleming had been laboring as a carpenter on his native Long Island for six years when last summer, at 28, he nailed down a whole new career: He broke into the fiercely competitive male model industry by landing the January cover of the male fashion bible, Gentlemen’s Quarterly. That coup debut was followed by appearances in the next four GQs and exotic assignments with Vogue and Italian Bazaar. His muscled, rugged looks now haul in daily fees of up to $1,500. “My life,” he says, “has exploded.” The son of a doctor and a housewife, Thorn attended New York’s Wagner College but left after his sophomore year to sell insurance before taking up a hammer in 1974 in Montauk. Then, while earning a little spare cash prying open clams at a party in the high-toned Hamptons, he met model agent Scott Copeland, who urged Fleming to change careers. Thorn promptly dropped 25 pounds from his then chunky 205-pound, 6’1″ frame and signed with Copeland at Manhattan’s Other Dimensions.
Fleming now dates Elite fashion model Carol Alt and is having an oceanfront home of his own built in Montauk. Meanwhile he is already eyeing a new career. “I want to act,” he says, “to learn that craft as I did carpentry. I have the instincts. I can be taught the technique.”
Randi Richner Glass, R.N., founded a drug crisis center, worked on an inner-city youth rescue program, managed a rock band and graduated from Michigan’s Grosse Pointe South High—all by the age of 16. Now 25, she operates the country’s only federally certified mobile hemodialysis unit for kidney patients. “Welcome to M*A*S*H on wheels,” she sometimes cracks as her twice-a-week regulars check in. The $70,000 bus, operated by Northern Michigan Hospitals, Inc. in Petoskey, Mich., serves hospitals in outlying districts. Randi, who splits shifts with nurse Marge Brown, 45, awakens each morning at 4 a.m. to several alarm clocks ringing in sequence. An hour later she is on the road with a driver-technician. The team covers up to 200 miles daily, and the grateful farmers and housewives whom Glass treats send the pair home with fresh fruits, vegetables and poultry. The daughter of a lawyer and a secretary, Randi chose nursing after caring for her terminally ill grandfather. “I found real joy in helping him,” she explains. She earned her degree at North Central Michigan College. Married to builder Bill Glass and the stepmother of two children, she lives in rural Good Hart (pop. 50). “Caring for the chronically ill,” reflects Randi, “takes a positive attitude. I’ve found my niche.”