Cossette Sun, 83, had long been a fan of Audrey Hepburn, so when the call went out to Stoneridge Creek residents to portray Hollywood icons for a 2022 calendar, she was game.
"I've watched a lot of her movies and followed what she did when she retired from the movie industry," Sun said. "She did very nice, charitable work at the United Nations."
Susan Felice, life enrichment director at the senior residential community in Pleasanton who headed up the project, first took headshots of each resident selected and compared them to photos of the celebrities they might portray; Sun expressed her interest in Hepburn.
"So many of these residents were so easy to mold into the character we picked for them," Felice said. "We could see similarities in some folks that made them a great cast for a particular character."
She and her team gathered costumes, backgrounds, props and set designs, and arranged for professional hair and makeup stylists to be on hand for the two-day photo shoot.
"She told us to be at Ohlone Hall (performing arts center) and for me to dress up as closely as possible to be like Audrey Hepburn," Sun recalled.
Based on the photo provided of Hepburn lounging on her side, Sun dressed all in black. She wore her own slacks for the photo shoot but they provided a different top as well as jewelry. Then she was directed to recline, duplicating the photo.
"Susan asked me, 'Are you able to do the pose?'" Sun remembered. "I said, 'Yeah, I do a lot of fitness classes.' I had to be a little flexible to do the pose."
"My hobby is to exercise, to keep fit," Sun explained.
She also volunteers as head of the library committee at Stoneridge Creek, as she is a professional law librarian and for many years was director of the Alameda County Law Library.
Some 17 residents explored their theatrical side as they portrayed Debbie Reynolds and Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, and others.
Participants in addition to Sun were Mary Lyons, Tom Addison, Linda Godbier, Kate Gong, Gail and Warren Shukis, Elizabeth Bliss, Joe Gourley, Renee Bauer, Ken Jensen, John Evans, Frank L'Engle, Peggy So, Hampton Lyons, Tom Combellick and Kathleen Addison. Three resident photographers -- Arnold Joyal, Lois Levine and Frank Yee -- volunteered for the photo shoot.
Next, the photographers edited their images and sent them to Felice, who designed the 2022 calendar. They also had a celebration after the shoot was done, and Sun said her husband Stanley got to learn more about what she'd been up to.
"He had tennis buddies at the party, and he got to meet a few more people," she said.
The calendar will be given to each of the 565 resident homes in Stoneridge Creek, with the participants getting two.
"I will order some more for my kids and my friends," Sun said with a laugh.
Felice noted that shooting the calendar, months after everyone was vaccinated, was a great way to connect as events in the community were slowly reopening.
"This has been so much fun to put together," Felice said. "It's wonderful to be together again."