When Beatrice Alexander walks down the runway, fashion-show audiences invariably break into applause.

"People like to see someone their size modeling beautiful clothes," says Alexander, who is 5-feet-4 1/2, 167 pounds, and models size 16 dresses.

"I love clothes and fashion and feel happy with the way I look."

A guidance counselor at Jefferson Junior High, Alexander began doing occasional modeling for Toast and Strawberries boutique two years ago.

Many of her clothes are made for her by a seamstress. "A long time ago you couldn't find things to fit that were fashionable. It's nice now to be able to buy clothes off the rack."

Alexander weighed a trim 125 before bearing five children. "I tried exercising along with the person on television, but that soon faded. I don't overeat or eat between meals. I never gain or lose. I just stay the same.

"I wouldn't mind losing a few inches off my hips, but I've seen a lot of people go on crash diets and lose weight. Then before they know it they're back up to where they were, and they seem so unhappy.To me it's not worth it.

"People around me are always saying they're going to go on a diet tomorrow. I just wonder if they're saying that for other people's benefit.

"My philosophy is that if a person feels good about himself or herself, that's all that matters."