MODEL-CITIZEN_04BIt was an unsettled afternoon in downtown Red Bank. A series of pouting, petulant young men and women were hanging out on the corner of Broad and West Front streets, getting on your Model Citizen correspondent’s nerves.

Crossing Broad to escape the negativity, we were immediately distracted by Brandi Coleman’s laid-back look. In cutoff shorts with a white lace throw waving behind her as she strode, she was a breath of fresh air amid the crop tops and t-shirts. Her bag hung freely on her shoulder, its long fringes almost grazing the sidewalk.

Brandi’s personality turns out to be as fresh and relaxed as she appears. We talked in the middle of the sidewalk as if we owned it.

The 28-year-old Long Branch resident, we learned, works as a store manager at Free People in Shrewsbury.  Although her style has always tended toward the bohemian, she admits working at Free People has helped her put outfits together a little better.

Growing up, she looked up to Stevie Nicks – whom she resembles – Keith Richards and Marc Bolan of T-Rex – ’70s musicians admired by her parents.  All have had an impact on her personal style, she said.

“I remember being five years old, driving down the road, listening to Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith with them,” she said. “Still music I listen to today.”