Where Passion Meets PurposeSep 01, 2017 ● By Allie Spletter
The New Mexico native looks back on her childhood in the Land of Enchantment as a hybridity of cultures, languages and opposing forces, while crediting her upbringing as the root of her activism today and the very reason she has dedicated much of her philanthropic focus to lifting women from poverty. Having traveled far and wide, Ms. Munoz-Hunt has carved out a very much celebrated, rich, fulfilling, purposeful and busy life for herself, her family and her business.
If you ask Toni Hunt, businesswoman, model, mom, doctoral student, philanthropist and wife to FC Dallas president, Dan Hunt, those are the characteristics that have led to both her own success and the success of the endeavors she has pursued in her life. They are the characteristics of the hard work she has put into her family, business and two extremely popular Frisco events you will not want to miss in October.
At just 16, Ms. Munoz-Hunt moved to New York City after winning the National Hispanic Modeling Contest. From there, life turned into a whirlwind success that catapulted her to modeling stardom as she walked the runway for top designers like Oscar de la Renta, Chanel and Roberto Cavalli. She has graced the pages of Harper’s Bazaar, Elle Magazine and Marie Claire. She has also appeared in advertisements on behalf of national clients including Suave®, Cartier, Nike, Levi’s® and Guess®.
Some two decades later, Ms. Munoz-Hunt has very much evolved into a strong, successful woman who has taken her talents and used them for the greater good of our community. In 2012, she founded Model Behaviors, a boutique consulting and lifestyle firm developing projects, campaigns and events that reach women and better our communities, shaping and sharing stories with purpose and innovation. “What started off as a blog and research project for school has turned into a full-service production company focused on enhancing our community through our panel of experts and writers, but there is a twist to that story. Most of us come from the fashion and entertainment industries,” Ms. Munoz-Hunt explains. “I believe all the experiences we have had and everything we do and all the people we have met and continue to meet have a purpose. It is my mission to understand that purpose. This is what really compelled me to start Model Behaviors.” She continues, “With a passion for women’s interests and my love for storytelling, I wanted to create a space to learn and share more about women. As women, we embody roles and model behaviors for our families, our communities and ourselves. It is a platform to share those stories and support each other, both online and out in the community. Our fast-paced world is technologically connected, but real connectedness comes from hands-on interaction.”
When she is not busy with Model Behaviors, Ms. Munoz-Hunt serves on the Board of Directors for the Dallas Women’s Foundation and on the Grants Review Committee as co-chair of the Grants Policy Committee. “I am so very proud of the research and work the foundation does, and of our growing focus, specifically on Collin County,” she says.
Of her marriage to Mr. Hunt, Ms. Munoz-Hunt believes respect and communication are the cornerstones of a successful and supportive marriage. She shares, “I love and I am equally as passionate about his interests. Besides respect and communication, I think having your own interests while supporting your partner’s interests is key. Because my husband is the president of FC Dallas, it is only natural to want to support him and his team, and that is why my two biggest events are at Toyota Stadium. I know I would not have the same amount of love and support anywhere else. The staff is second-to-none. Each person is such a team player and really goes above and beyond, and that is not because I am married to the owner. The staff is amazing with all of our partners and associates, and that is the reason there is so much success, both on the field and in the back offices.”
Ms. Munoz-Hunt is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in humanities with a concentration in Latin American literature (predominantly Chicano literature) and creative writing and hopes to, one day, become a professor and share her passion with others. When she is not working on her doctoral work, she spends time with her husband and daughter, Darlington. As if her plate is not full and fun enough, she also renovates homes in her spare time and is currently working on three projects. Busy might just be her middle name, as she is constantly and passionately working on any given part of her bustling life and career. “I must admit, I used to be embarrassed about all the things I did for work, as people often associate varied interests with flakiness or lack of focus. But, women are naturally multitaskers and multidimensional, and there is nothing to be ashamed of about that. Yes, I dream big and take on a lot, but I execute, and I do not do life alone. I am surrounded by doers. My motto has always been, ‘Do not tell me no; tell me how.’”
That dedication to doing, serving and changing lives, as well as preserving the legacy of a dear friend that battled stage four breast cancer, is what drove Ms. Munoz-Hunt and a group of friends to create an event that would honor that legacy while also serving the community. Of her friend, Ms. Munoz-Hunt remembers, “Kelly [Whaley] was as hilarious as she was talented, and anyone who sat in her makeup chair knew they would be greeted with that warm, cozy Kelly hug and her silly signature giggle.” Ms. Munoz-Hunt admits she was forever changed by the experience, seeing her friend in ways she had never seen her before. “She could not have been more beautiful. Most people would have given up when everyone, including a team of experts, had given up on them. But, her dignity, integrity and grace grew from her courage, and I am renewed because of it,” Ms. Munoz-Hunt shares.
Friscovania debuted on October 22, 2016, at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, embracing Ms. Whaley’s four greatest passions: her son Gunner, fashion, music and Halloween. “Because she was a single mother, who always gave without ever expecting anything in return, we wanted to fulfill Kelly’s last wish and make sure Gunner’s education would be provided for, while creating a place where Kelly’s creative legacy could live on,” Ms. Munoz-Hunt explains. Just two months from its conception, the 2016 event, hosted by then Mayor Maher Maso and his wife Cindy, welcomed more than 3,000 visitors. It was designated the Mayor’s Safe Trick-Or-Treat Zone, featured a haunted carnival for kids, boasted live music and had a wicked runway show with some of the biggest names in fashion. It successfully raised more than $116,000. A scholarship was created for Gunner and the remaining proceeds went to City House to support their mission of providing emergency shelter and transitional residential services to children and young adults who are in need due to abuse, neglect or homelessness.
This year, Model Behaviors is dedicated to assisting nonprofits in the community geared toward helping kids in need through the partnership with FC Dallas and this year’s honorary master and mistress of ceremonies, Randy and Kristy Pitchford of Gearbox Software. Together, with this mission in mind, they will extend the commitment to City House for another year, maximizing giving efforts to the nonprofit partner. The proceeds from Friscovania 2017 will help City House expand their efforts, combining their Frisco and Plano locations into a larger and more efficient Young Women’s Transitional Living Program House, better accommodating youth, ages 18-22, and serving the North Texas population.
Friscovania 2017 will be held on Saturday, October 21, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Toyota Stadium, with fun new additions like a virtual haunted hay maze, magic shows, art installations, haute new fashions, interactive photo opportunities, live music and entertainment and much more. Tickets for Friscovania are $10. Parking is free and children 2 years old and younger get in free.
“At Model Behaviors, we are women — mothers, sisters, daughters, friends — and Kelly’s story is our story,” Ms. Munoz-Hunt explains. “It has led us to think differently about our future and the future of women in our community.” In addition to Friscovania this year, Ms. Munoz-Hunt and her team have worked hard to expand their charitable horizons in hopes of helping even more people. They are partnering with FC Dallas’ Ladies’ Night Out event to add a wellness component to the evening.
On Tuesday, October 3, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Ladies Night Out with a Purpose will serve as the kickoff event for Friscovania, exclusively for women. It serves as the first of four mobile mammogram screenings provided by Texas Health Resources at Toyota Stadium throughout the months of October and November. Ladies in attendance will enjoy signature cocktails and light bites, music and beauty and wellness stations as the evening begins. Ladies can also enjoy an on-field experience and a behind-the-scenes tour with some of the hottest athletes in professional soccer. As if that is not enough, the evening will end with performances by celebrity crooners Austin Allsup from “The Voice,” Season 11, and Johnny Hayes and the Loveseats from “The Voice,” Season 12. Tickets for Ladies Night Out with a Purpose are $30. This donation will include two tickets to Friscovania and proceeds from this event will provide mammogram screenings for 100 women in North Texas.
Anyone who lives here knows Frisco values family, fun and lending a helping hand, and both Friscovania and Ladies Night Out with a Purpose are testaments to the work Ms. Munoz-Hunt and her group and doing in our community to both raise awareness and money as they work towards lifting women and families up.
Ms. Munoz-Hunt’s drive and passion for what she does speaks through her work. Our community is getting better because of her causes. Frisco residents have a wonderful opportunity to attend this year’s Friscovania for a night full of trick-or-treating, magic shows, bounce houses, costume contests, food trucks, live music, a wicked runway show, photo opportunities, an art alley and a haunted hay maze. The event will offer a little bit of something for everyone, in a safe space, while donating to a wonderful cause. Ladies Night Out with a Purpose will be a wonderful way for women to enjoy an evening out together while helping other women receive mammograms.
When asked where Ms. Munoz-Hunt is going in both her professional and personal life, she simply replies, “Forward!” From New Mexico to New York to Frisco, residents are thankful Ms. Munoz-Hunt is here and cannot wait to see what she does next to help grow the community.