Wait…. what? It’s 2013?!?! Let’s celebrate turning a new leaf of a beginning of a new year and just the gift of seeing another year come with family and friends. There is just something purifying about a new start isn’t there? I celebrated with my friends and boyfriend near home. We kept it low key, but it did give me an excuse to make healthy treats! I chose my fruit & cilantro salsa and a fluffy pudding and berry dessert. Soon after the celebration was over, my vacation was over and it was back to traveling for me! I was thrilled to begin the year heading to Orlando for the AMTC-SHINE Convention for which I was invited to be a guest speaker. This is the convention I competed in back in 2010 to be scouted by FORD Models. Since then, my life has been forever changed.
AMTC stands for Actors Models and Talent for Christ. The non-profit convention consists of several seminars to teach young and aspiring actors and models about ways to keep their faith while pursuing their dreams in the entertainment industry. My job was to speak as someone who competed and is now working in the industry. I spoke in two different seminars where the students were allowed to ask various questions. I HIGHLY recommend this convention for anyone interested in modeling, acting, singling, dancing, or any type of job in the entertainment industry. Other people who are AMTC alums include the country singer Chris Young, Ben Davies of Courageous, Army Wives’ Noree Victoria, Megan Fox, and many more! Visit www.AMTCWORLD.com to find out more.
Some of the questions I was asked included:
“What are you daily rituals to stay close to God? “ – I answered by describing my daily devotional – Jesus Calling (highly recommended!!!) which is tattered and torn from carrying it with me as I travel each week. However, I purposely bring it with me when I travel not to make myself look good, but in hopes of starting a conversation with a stranger in order to introduce them to Jesus. It has happened several times and gives me an easy opening on a subject that isn’t always easy to bring up. Another question was…
“Have you ever witnessed to other people you know became Christians?” – my response to this question was my story about a girl who was from another country who didn’t know about Jesus or Christianity very well at all. I met her while I was shooting for Kohls one day. She described how she didn’t like the rules it requires us to follow. I get very nervous when needing to witness to someone simply because I know my words could have a major impact on them. It is a lot of responsibility representing the Christian heart around people who have been turned off from God. I tried my hardest to explain that Christianity isn’t about just about “the rules,” but it’s about the relationship with Jesus and accepting his ultimate sacrifice. This reminds me of the song titled “The motions” which refers to Christians who get so caught up in the act of do this don’t do that that they forget the most important factor – do they know Jesus? For Jesus said: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” Matthew 7:21-23.
So yes! It is important do do his will, but he must also KNOW US as your best friend knows you. It’s important to have the relationship with him as you do anyone you care for and put effort into maintaining a relationship with in your life.
Although I haven’t seen that girl I witnessed to since, I just hope I made a difference. I am working on not getting nervous as I witness to others because God says to let him talk through you. He also says to let your actions speak the loud.
Another question someone asked me in the seminar was: “How do you stay pure in this industry when people push you so far?” – I described the importance of letting your agents know how far you will go and what you won’t do when it comes to shoots, acting, and anything else. I also spoke about having that one person you trust to guide you in the right path when sticky situations arise– because they will. I described my story of doing just this when I called my mother agent Nise Davies from Tennessee. After speaking with her I have had a clear understanding since about what I consider okay and what I don’t when it comes to work. (Any aspiring models/actors wanting further advise on where to draw the lines in such gray industry – find me on modeledbymaria FB page and message me! I’d be happy to help and supply further details of my story!) Overall, I have been truly blessed with FORD who totally understands me, and puts me as a person opposed to a source of income, first. I will never forget when I was competing at AMTC and the FORD scout – Shannon – said herself in a seminar “don’t let this industry become WHO you are, it is just what you DO.” I strive to never forget that, and I honestly think that is the reason why I have any success that I do have today.
I was supposed to be teaching aspiring actors and models about God and this industry, and I sure hope I did. However, I left the sunshine state being so inspired myself from all of them. My eyes were opened to how blessed I am to be working in this industry and having the job that I do have. I also was reminded of the importance of shining God’s light on other people in the industry, and to not take that lightly. “For who knows that you have not come to a royal position for such a time as this?”-Esther 4:14.
The new year continued on wonderfully from AMTC with several flight changes in order to go directly from Orlando to Dallas to shoot for JCP (JcPenny). I shoot swimsuits for their website. Although it may seem like the dead of winter to you, swim season is in full force here in the modeling world to prepare Spring ads. I love shooting there because the studio has the southern hospitality just like home back in KY, yet it still has the big city feel. I had to take a picture when I saw water served in Mason glass jars . From Dallas I went back north, bypassing home, to Chicago to shoot for one of my favorite and most family-like clients of all time – Sears. It is never a boring day in that studio due to how much the stylists, photographers, and hair/makeup artists make me feel at home. Finally, I flew back to KY after several days on the road in order to have a few more days at home before hitting the road again. Although many people would complain about days on the road, I simply love traveling and truly enjoyed starting the year off this busy. My hope is that it continues strong and that this is the best year yet!!
Lastly – just so you can hold me accountable… my new year resolutions:
1. Blog MORE!!!!! (I haven’t decreased my traveling or photo-shoots… just let holidays and finals get the best of me and my time!)
2. Live slower – allowing more time before having to leave the house to not rush so much. I’m also only taking 2 classed for my online grad school this semester in order to keep my sanity with traveling. This increased tie included increased time before passing out in bed in order to get my personal-God & me & maintaining the relationship time in.
3. Be on time more – okay…see? I admitted it…. it isn’t always traffic’s fault
4. Attempt doing more yoga and eating more organically – going along wit my overall goal of slower/more relaxed living
5. Don’t let traveling be an excuse to not be more actively involved at church opposed to just attending Sunday services.
6. Never take a day for granted and remember life is all about relationships with those around me – it’s important to nourish them adequately!
For help meeting ay health related new years goals you have click on the sub-categories of entrees, desserts, and snacks to find indulgent recipes made healthy etc at http://www.modeledbymaria.com/health-and-fitness-2/
With a request from my mother agency – Advantage Model and Talent in Nashville, I was able to be submitted for an acting role in an upcoming music video. I was overjoyed with the fact that I was actually going to be available to be submitted for a music video! It seems like any request I’ve gotten for them from my agency, I’ve been previous booked or occupied in some other way and unable to audition.Even more… it was a video for the one and only, 3 time Grammy winner – TIM MCGRAW!!! He has always been one of the most classy and talented of all country artists in my opinion for years. I’ve been a huge fan – especially of songs “She’s my kind of rain,” “Where the green grass grows,” “Something Like That” and much more. I first had to submit numerous videos of myself from photo shoots, videos of me speaking, unprofessional videos of me such as one taken on a cell phone, and photos of me in everyday attire. So, with help of Gary Moyers, I quickly pulled out some old videos of me interviewing some of the UK athletes that we create for vaughtsviews.com. Nobody was at home to record me in the the home-made videos, and they needed it quick. I opted to go to my mom during her break from work since she kindly offered to record me, despite how awkward that was to do during her break at her work!
I didn’t know exactly what they were looking for – whether it be a girl for a sad role, a girlfriend role, or an energetic role. So I decided to personalize the video as much as possible, play Tim McGraw music in the background, and just walk, smile, and of course add a few moments of my goofy personality. It seems like the auditions that I think about the least, or the auditions I mess up in, are the ones I get selected for (for the Josh Groban music video-I completely messed it up and left the audition thinking I totally wasted a trip to Nashville!)
Almost immediately my agent called and said as soon as I submitted the home-made videos, that they chose me for the job! I was ecstatic! Music videos are my most favorite type of jobs to do. I absolutely love acting, and what better ways to get to do it than for one of my all-time favorite musicians. The video was for Tim McGraw – who’s “Where the Green Grass Grows” song has been my ringtone for some time now. Needless to say, I was almost speechless that I was going to get to be a small part of a product of his work.
The video was shot across 2 days in Tennessee. I left around 5 am in the morning to make it there in time to have hair and makeup and be ready to shoot. I was cast as the “lead-girl” and honestly had no idea what exactly I would be doing until I was ready and placed on set. I tried my hardest to follow the producer’s instructions. I was having the time of my life because throughout my previous jobs, I haven’t ever been assigned a country-rock character. The first scene was what appeared to be like a field party with a lot of people standing around their trucks. Tim was placed on a tailgate along with Garrett Hedlund (who co-starred with Mr. McGraw in movies such as The Blind Side and country strong). I was instructed to drive up Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s personal truck to the party. When I stepped out, it was the cue for the approximately 100 extras to part down the middle. As they did, all eyes turned my way as I walked toward Tim on the truck. It took me a few takes to really get into this role because it was the very first one of the entire shoot. I hadn’t met any extras yet, Tim, or Garrett. After a few takes, I was warmed up and feeling better about my role. At one point between takes, I simply walked over to Tim and Garret to introduce myself and have small talk. I figured that was the best way to break the ice!
We did this scene several times and eventually moved on to other scenes. I was shot sitting on the front of the truck, walking beside the truck, leaning on the truck, and of course driving the truck! And yes!! That is really me driving the truck in the video. Most of the smiles were also very genuine because I loved it! After the director asked me to be more aggressive, I dropped all of my guards and drove it like I stole it ! I laughed as we hit bit bumps as I bounced the videographer who sat in the seat beside me around. I was trying to control this major truck (thank goodness it was automatic transition), while avoiding the other truck which literally had another videographer strapped to the front to record the external views of me driving. Wow… definitely the most dangerous, but most fun shoot I’ve ever had! I felt like I really got in the role after Time told me that “I handle that thing well!”
We wrapped the shoot with some amazingly artistic and mysterious film of me walking through smoke in the barn. Although we shot backup, GORGEOUS girls sitting on their trucks, choreographed backup dancers, and scene of me walking through the party, it wasn’t included in the final cut. However, the way the video ended up being edited made it appropriately match the song since it is all about trucks and just simply loving the country life. Those girls nonetheless were the sweetest people and really became good friends of mine over the 2 days of shooting. They couldn’t have done a better job and I’m sure the company leaving them out wasn’t personal, just a change of storyline for the video. Thank you all for you endless support and excitement through this blessing. I can’t help but to smile when I hear each of your comments!
Please watch for Truck Yeah on CMT and vote for it to keep climbing up the ladders! I believe the video and song can also be purchased on Itunes. For more on what Tim McGraw is up to, check out timmcgraw.com, follow him on Twitter as TheTimMcGraw, or catch more videos on his YouTube channel under “Official Tim McGraw YouTube Channel.”
Below are links from Tim McGraw’s website that show the video and behind the scenes:
Truck Yeah Music Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rf7GfUORHtw&feature=bf_prev&list=FL2mK990tp7umnN6Y-DEGpDg
Behind the scenes of the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tyYSziKtPg&feature=bf_prev&list=FL2mK990tp7umnN6Y-DEGpDg
Although my original plan was to only stay in Miami for the month of January and maybe some of February, events kept coming up to keep me there longer. I was grateful to get to experience my first Mercedes Benz International Fashion Week towards the end of March. ‘Mecedes Benz Fashion Weeks’ happen across the country in various cities. The one you’ve probably heard most about is the Fashion Week in NYC. In Miami was the same concept, but ‘Miamized.’ There were days and days of castings, rehearsals, and then of course the shows. Some of the shows had around 200 models from all around the world auditioning! At times I honestly felt Americans were the minority, so it was extra fun to bring some southern hospitality to the mix as I learned about other cultures and tried my best to represent the South appropriately. There was one show my best friend Ashley (and roommate) both auditioned for. When they called out both of our numbers for the cut, I was overwhelmed with excitement! What a blessing to get to walk in my first series of shows for a MBIFW with my best friend! I had participated in numerous runway shows prior, but none quite the same as this. I hope you enjoy the photos below!
Other than that, I am finally back home in Kentucky!!! I am grateful to have had the opportunity that I had to spend some time in Miami, and not only under sunshine, but along with one of my best friends! Many memories were made and I learned a lot! I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. I’m happy with the success I had there with the agency and working. Although I still had to travel out of town almost once a week for my regular clients in Milwaukee and Chicago, I was able to build my portfolio for FORD-Miami with numerous test shoots. Some of the photos that are now included in my portfolio are in the various galleries and slideshows here at www.modeledbymaria.com. Scroll through the older posts and they will be there! I also am happy with a few new clients there who I hope to be sent down to work for here and there. As of now, I’m going to continue doing ‘direct bookings’ from my home in KY as I did before going to Miami.
I have already had 2 since coming home Tuesday of last week. The first one was a weekend job shooting a commercial for the University of Alabama. This job came through my ‘Mother Agency’ called Advantage Model and Talent out of Nashville. I was ecstatic to see one of my old friends on the list of actors. She is Chanley Painter, who was Miss Arkansas USA the year I competed. Not only did we get close during the 2 1/2 weeks of competing for the title of Miss USA, but we got even closer when we were chosen as counselors for the Miss Teen Fantasy Camp that went along with Miss Teen USA in the Bahamas during our years of our titles. It was great to catch up with her. It was also fun to have my mom along for the ride. She was a trooper and helped me make the 7 hour trip so I could do some homework as she drove. Chanley’s mom came too and we all watched the UK game vs. Louisville after shooting. I love my entire state…. but I can’t hide that I’m a true UK fan, which therefore means no Louisville. I was very nervous when finding out we were playing each other during the Final 4 just because I knew how tense of a game it could be and I hoped that the motivation UofL had from losing our previous game could work in their favor. Regardless, I’m happy to say we came out on top!!!!!! And no worries, although I was forced to wear a type of red on the Louisville game day (crimson to be exact… ) I feel confident that I let everyone at the shoot know I was a true UK fan!
Besides that I got back home yesterday from Milwaukee where I shot a commercial for Bon-Ton/Carsons-Scott. The previous commercials I’ve shot for them can be found on a few posts back.
Other than that….. WHAT ABOUT THEM CATS!!! NATIONAL CHAMPS!!!!! Congrats to the boys of the UK team, Coach Cal, and everyone else involved behind the scenes. Since interviews at UK media day earlier this year, I could tell you were a special group of boys. We are very blessed to not only live in one of the best places in the country, but in a place that knows how to bring home the championships!! Congrats also to UK Baseball who is also ranked #1 ! UK All the way! Big Blue Nation!!
After my first week living in South Beach, I can honestly say I’m loving it (as evident by this very long post- sorry about that! Just keep reading until there are no more photos ) I have almost settled into the apartment and got everything together. After working in Milwaukee on Monday and Tuesday for Kohls last week, I flew directly to Miami to begin my temporary time living here to work with FORD Models of Miami. I had to hop a shuttle at 3:55am from my hotel in Milwaukee to make it to the airport in time… that hurt a little bit! Thankfully it was a fairly empty flight and I was able to stretch out across them seats and nap on the 3 hour and 20 minute ride here. Since I was trying to save as much money as possible, I shipped several boxes of my things from Kentucky to Miami and also checked two bags. On top of that, I had a carryon, a pillow, and a large bag that served as my ‘purse.’ Needless to say, it was a hard few days of traveling! I just considered my hauling of things around as a constant workout! Regardless of how tired I was, I got very excited when I saw my Miami roommate, and one of my best friends Ashley Durham, at the baggage claim. She helped me get my bags that were stuffed to the full 50 lbs. allowed, and off we went to our apartment!
I couldn’t be more grateful that Ashley had come down to Miami in December and searched for a place for us to stay. She found an amazing apartment in Miami Beach, which keeps us away from hustle and bustle of downtown Miami. It is a beautiful apartment with an incredible view. Additionally, we have one of the best landlords you could ask for. She is a lady who has been modeling through Ford for over 20 years. So, she definitely understands our crazy lifestyles and takes very good care of us. Our apartment has one bedroom and two baths. It works perfectly to have one of us on the comfy fold-out couch and the other in the main bedroom. It is especially handy having two bathrooms in the mornings when getting ready for castings and work. We have gone on a casting almost every day so far since we’ve been here. The day after I arrived in Miami, I went into the agency office fo to meet the agents for the first time. It’s a little hard to believe that I jumped on this opportunity to temporarily move to Miami without having ever been to Miami before and also having never met the agents here before. However, I felt that if they believed in me enough to offer me a contract and if I had Ashley to go with me, that I would jump on the opportunity to come on down! I’m sure I wouldn’t have been so trusting if I hadn’t already been with FORD Models out of Chicago. But since I had, I had learned a lot about the Miami office and had enough emails and phone calls to get to know them. Plus, having my mother-agent in Nashville personally know one of the agents at FORD Miami helped me trust her opinion in making this career move. If you read my previous post about how the offer from FORD Miami came about, and all the signs I felt were pointing me to come here, I think you’d also understand why I couldn’t pass up this opportunity!
We haven’t spent a lot of time on the beach yet, but we have definitely been taking advantage of the wonderful atmosphere of neat restaurants near our apartment. Ashley and I have made a plan to eat out at some place new at least 2 times per week. We both like finding local ‘hole in the wall’ restaurants where we can become ‘regulars.’ We specifically favor any sushi restaurants. One of my favorite we visited so far was Sushi Samba, possibly because it brought back memories of when the Miss Universe Organization took all the Miss USA contestants there to eat and learn how to make sushi with the chefs! Since a slow morning and breakfast time is honestly one of our favorite parts of the day, Ashley and I try our best to wait for the other person to wake up so we can eat something together. Another thing we’ve taken up is playing the Michael Jackson Experience game for Wii. We are honestly hooked! It is so fun, just try it, you’ll see what I mean. It keeps us laughing for sure. But if you try it, don’t forget to wear the white gloves!
When I came to Miami, I was told by the Chicago office that I may still be traveling quite a bit to Milwaukee and Chicago since many companies are now shooting swimsuits. Today, I have been trying to plan my schedule as much as possible so I can have a nice visit home this weekend. Since we only have Ashley’s car for her and I to share, scheduling gets a little complicated. For instance, I drove Ashley to the airport Sunday night so she can fly for work in Milwaukee Monday. Then, I’m picking her up late Monday night. Only a few hours later she will take me to the airport early Tuesday morning so I can fly to Chicago to shoot for Sears. Thankfully the FORD agents are wonderful and booked my flight for me and have arranged a ride for me. So, I simply have to fly to Chicago, take a cab to the studio, shoot during the day, and fly back to Miami that night when Ashley will drive back to the airport and pick me up late. I’m guessing Ashley and I will want to sleep in Wednesday morning! After that, I’m hoping to fly home sometime for the weekend of the 20th to get some more things from home, see my family, and attend the Miss Kentucky USA pageant on Sunday. However, I am supposed to be back in Miami Monday for a photo shoot and then in Milwaukee later that week. I am praying that I can reschedule the shoot that’s on Monday and that I end up getting confirmed in Milwaukee Tuesday or Wednesday so that I can fly straight from KY to Milwaukee, and then Milwaukee to Miami (opposed to KY to Miami, Miami to Milwaukee, then Milwaukee to Miami), WHEW! That was confusing even to type! I just hope the photographer that I was supposed to shoot with on Monday in Miami will reschedule! This is probably way too much information for my faithful blog readers, but I thank you for listening! Regardless, it will all work out as it should. I just hope I have plenty of time at home to see my family!
When I stop to breath for a second, I reflect back to only 2 ½ years ago when I met Tony Bowls, the designer of my gown for Miss USA, who offered me a job modeling for him after I placed in the top 5 at Miss USA. Ashley and I were both working for him and met for the first time at the Atlanta markets where we did runway for Tony. There was something between us that immediately clicked. I think a big part of it is our simplistic attitudes. We are the girls that do like to have fun when we travel, but we are completely pleased with a night at the hotel with a movie and great food. We have a tendency to not be able to stop laughing at the smallest things at times, which makes hanging out together even more enjoyable! Fast-forward about a year from when we met, and I signed with FORD Models, spent a month in Chicago working, and then have been traveling since then. Fast-forward another year, and Ashley places 1st runner-up at Miss USA, comes to stay at my house to meet her ‘mother-agency’ in Cincinnati, who gets her to sign with FORD Models as well!! After she begged me to consider going to Miami with her, I spoke to my ‘mother-agency’ about my interest in Miami. They were already considering submitting me for possible representation through FORD Miami. Suddenly, I got a call from FROD Chicago who told me I’m on hold for a job in Miami, although I had yet to find out FORD Miami offered me a contract! Turns out, an agent in FORD Miami came across my photos on FORD’s overall database and was requesting me before ever knowing I or my mother agency (Advantage Talent in Nashville) were interested in sending me down. So, I figured it was God’s way of leading me to trade snow for sunshine for a bit and next thing I know, I’m in Miami! I have to take advantage of these opportunities while they are here! When else will I ever be able to jump around the country as I do now? Overall, Ashley and I are trying to grasp just what we are doing with our lives right now. We’ve decided we won’t be able to fully grasp how amazing this experience is for us until years down the road. At the moment, I think we’ve both just come so accustomed to traveling that it has become a way of life. But how amazing that our work brings us to Miami to spend a few months together!
When Ashley and I first met years ago, we had literally talked about dreaming to moving to a big city together for a while and working as professional models. Modeling was something I had always aspired and dreamed of doing, (I even have picturs of me about 5 years old posing like a model with my sister in front of the window in our living room for great lighting behind me! Ha!). Regardless, imagining actually moving away from home even temporarily as I’ve done now was incredibly intimidating to me. I would have never thought I would actually do it. I guess after a year of traveling as Miss KY USA, traveling a lot for Tony Bowls, and then gradually accepting the lifestyle of traveling after I signed with FORD out of Chicago, it has been a very gradual way to adjust to this lifestyle. Nonetheless, words can’t express my gratitude that I have one of my best friends to do it with! I truly feel God has put me in this position for a reason, and I hope to let His light shine. Follow me on Twitter at MariaKY09 or the Facebook Fan page called ‘Modeled By Maria’ and I’ll keep you posted on heading from Miami to Chicago tomorrow morning, castings and jobs in Miami, crazy stories of Ashley and I, and about my schedules for Milwaukee. Plus, assuming I actually get to go to the Miss KY USA pageant, I’ll keep you posted on how that is going!
A drive north lead me to Chicago Tuesday for a Sears photo shoot. At the shoot, I contemplated what time I would have to wake up the following morning to make it to Nashville for the 2011 CMAs. As some of my previous blogs stated, I was chosen to be one of two ‘trophy girls,’ presenting the trophies. At rehearsals on the Sunday prior, I received my credentials which stated ‘trophy model.’ This term for the position sounds a lot better to me. I definitely felt strange calling myself a ‘trophy girl.’ So we’ll stick with trophy model for the rest of the blog .
I was surprisingly not overly exhausted Wednesday morning when I woke up around 5:45 am. I was thankful to be staying at my aunt’s house in Louisville which was more convenient than driving home since my hometown is about an hour and ½ away from the interstate.
Regardless, after a couple of coffee stops and a stop to change from my comfy sweats, I changed into an outfit my mom and I found at Forever 21 on an emergency ‘what the heck am I going to wear to the CMA rehearsals’ run on our way home from Nashville Sunday. After having a little trouble driving around numerous tents and press set-ups related to the CMAs, I arrived at the garage. I was surprised that my parking credentials qualified me for valet parking. I knew this was a good start to a good dayJ. After my car was taken, I was escorted to my dressing room and invited to the ‘green room’ to grab some lunch. The Green Room is like the hospitality safe-haven with free food, couches, and etc. It is also where my mom had spent the afternoon Sunday at a table across from Brad Paisley and had no idea. In her words ‘some guy who sings a song called camouflage was in there.’ I thought that was pretty funny! My day started out perfectly when I was getting a sandwich and heard people speaking behind me. I turned round to see who it was and was pleasantly delighted to see their credentials were the color of ‘talent’ credentials and that at the bottom they said ‘Rascal Flatts.’ It wasn’t Jay Demarcus, Gary Levox, or Joe Don, but nonetheless, running into their crew as some of the first artists of the day was a pleasant start to the day.
Next was dress rehearsals, which I was very excited about since I knew it would provide a relaxed atmosphere that allowed speaking to the artists one on one. Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley, the hosts of the evening, were present and rehearsed their lines to perfection. I loved how ABC had used various skits by them t to keep the show alive between performances. I took the opportunity to speak to Dierks Bentley about one of my favorite songs of his called ‘Come a Little Closer.’ For some reason, this song makes me melt and it has for years! I explained to him how much I loved it despite it being one of his older songs. He said it was probably from 2005 or so, but still was grateful for how much I thought of it. I was overly impressed by the considerate Darius Rucker who came right up to introduce himself. I complemented him on the positive effects his music has on a world of negativity. After he asked where I was from, he explained that he had been in Danville, Kentucky before! I was shocked!!! Huge artists such as himself don’t often come to small towns such as Danville. Where was I?? He and Lionel Ritchie were both very open and friendly just as Darius’ music presents him to be.
Rehearsals continued as we sat in the small tunnel which was behind what you may have seen as a narrow gold wall from the front of the stage. In this tunnel was a wonderful stage producer named Tony and two stools for Katje and I to sit on between presentations. Being in such a small area that was also the entrance to the stage made a prime place for speaking with the people I was hoping to meet. We also had a TV monitor showing what was happening on just the opposite side of the wall. That is how I watched the artists such as Miranda Lambert, Scotty McCreary, and my all time favorite group Rascal Flatts during rehearsals. I have to admit, seeing all the ‘stars’ in their comfy clothes while they practiced their performanceswas a treat., Miranda Lambert was even gorgeous in sweat pants and wet hair! As soon as Rascal Flatts started performing, I fell in love with their music all over again. I was excited that Katje knew one of their crew members who we got to talk to a lot during dinner in the green room. I explained to him how I met Jay Demarcus of Rascal Flatts at the derby and how his wife Allison and I know each other vaguely since she helps with the Miss Tennessee USA program as a former Miss Tennessee USA herself. Although he was confident that I could get could a picture with the entire band, I never had a chance to run into them to take this opportunity. The least I got to see them was after their show performance when they passed through the backstage tunnel. It was almost painful to watch them pass by in a hurry to get back to their seats during the commercial break because I didn’t have time to talk to them or ask for a photo. Regardless, Jay was kind enough to say a quick ‘hello.’ They seem to be one of the most down to Earth groups in Country music.
Many of the ‘stars’ I met were down to Earth and relatable. One of the most relatable singers was actually Taylor Swift. She has always appeared grateful for her fans and seems to be a very caring person. After my experience at the CMA, I can now confirm that to be true. Upon passing her quickly while I was running down the hall to the bathroom between presenting trophies during the rehearsals, she offered a friendly smile. From that moment, I knew she was special. I have to admit that it caught me a little off guard to be running down the hall that was crammed shoulder to shoulder with artists and CMA crew members and unexpectedly seeing the one and only Taylor Swift. Even though she was heading toward the stage to perform, and I’m sure her mind was everywhere else, her smile and eye contact were genuine. I don’t really know how to explain it, but it was just something I could easily tell. Maybe it was so prominent because it occurred despite all the people she was passing in the chaotic halls at once.
Additionally, The Band Perry was extremely considerate. The ‘trophy models’ were only supposed to pass the trophies to the presenter and the presenter pass the trophy to the artist. Upon presenting the first trophy of the evening to Kimberly Perry for Single of the Year, I was taken by surprise when she went to give me a hug! As the group continued to get more and more awards and as I spoke with them backstage, their friendliness became even more genuine. Kimberly Perry appears to be one of those people who just has a deep, hospitable personality. She seems to be someone that you could talk to all day. The members of Little Big Town took it upon themselves to approach Katje and I to introduce themselves which also showed genuine friendliness. Lady Antebellum was another kind group. Sharing dressing rooms with Lauren Alaina from American Idol allowed me to have plenty of time to talk with her and her mom both. There are few seasons of American Idol that I’m actually hooked, and this year was one of those years. After watching both Lauren and Scotty’s online videos, I was even more hooked because they appeared to have good morals and values behind their talents. It was fun talking to Lauren about Tony Bowls (the prom/pageant designer I work for) because she is also a fan and wore his gowns often on the show.
Honestly, I could go on all day about how kind this person or that person is. However, there were some that I didn’t get to speak much to such as Scotty McCreary (who I have a huge ‘middle-school like’ crush on, he is precious!) as well as Keith Urban who I only got to voice a quick ‘congratulations’ to during passing in the hall. I could also go on and on about how sweet Reese Witherspoon, Jake Owen, and Billy Currington were. Reba was someone I was absolutely determined to get to meet. I wanted to go on and on about how much I loved her TV show, but for some reason I resorted to a very polite and respectful conversation with her. All I can say, is her personality on TV is the real deal! She is just as funny, nice, and beautiful in person. Her voice is also just the same… I could listen to it all day! I really think Reba is all around a wonderful role model and very hard worker. She will never be forgotten in the world of country music.
Overall, this was an incredible opportunity. It was an honor to be a part of such a professionally ran event. I would have never imagined that the people of my community would have reacted as they have. I wish I could have gotten you all tickets. I’m sorry I had to go at this one alone! I have many, many new Twitter followers and had a new record set for visits to modelebymaria.com. Thank you all for your continuous support, especially the Danville Advocate Messenger. Their related article and my live interviews with them can be viewed at: http://www.centralkynews.com/amnews/news/amn-trophy-girl-former-miss-kentucky-usa-maria-montgomery-to-deliver-awards-during-cmas-20111107,0,7224425.story
Although I was needed today to model for a Sears photoshoot, I plan on driving back tonight so I can be the city of country music tomorrow morning for dress rehearsals. I’ve attended on day of rehearsals for the CMAs on Sunday, a gown fitting,and I’m almost all ready to go! I still have yet to find out what the stylists have picked out for me to wear on stage as a ‘trophy model.’ However, I’m sure anything from the boutique Haven in Franklin, TN will be amazing
I learned of some of the presenters and artists while I was at rehearsals that I look forward to meeting. Some of them include Reese Witherspoon, Lauren and Scotty (who I absolutely adore from their American idol days – one of the few seasons I was hooked watching the show weekly), Faith Hill, Kieth Urban, Taylor Swift, Rascall Flats and of course our hometown Eddie Montgomery will be there.
Honestly, I’m excited out of my mind!! I specifically requested to present the ‘vocal duo of the year’ trophy since that’s what Eddie is up for. Therefore, I’ll be helping to bring out the first and last trophy and every other one after that since there are 2 trophy models. I will be walking out when the TV changes to show the music videos that coorespond with the nominated artists/songs, stand by the presenter while he or she opens the envelope, then have the presenter step back by me and stand by the artists as he/she says their ‘thank you’s.’ After that, we all walk off together through the center.
According to the layout at rehearsals, I am cut out of the frame when the thank yous are said, so you may only get quick glances of me here or there, but that’s ok with me as long as I get to be there! As a die hard country music fan, I’m just tickled to get to sit back stage in the small center tunnel with the presenters and artists before they come out. I’m hoping it will be a great opportunity for small talk I would love to get to know more of the artists as real people opposed to simply what they sing.
The show airs lives at 8 est time & visit cmaawards.com to find out more information
Thank you Advantage Model and Talent for not only helping me get signed with Ford -Chicago for work, but for also keeping me close to home with fun opportunities such as this. Also, thank you www.amnews.com for my recent article that was in my hometown paper. I will never forget how supportive you’ve been through all my journeys. Watch my live interview and read the article at http://www.centralkynews.com/amnews/news/amn-trophy-girl-former-miss-kentucky-usa-maria-montgomery-to-deliver-awards-during-cmas-20111107,0,7224425.story
So, every since Big Blue Madness, my life has been Madness!!! To my understanding, the modeling and acting industry usually slows down during the winter months, but it hasn’t kicked in yet!
Just the other day I was asked to drive to Nashville for a casting to be a ‘CMA Trophy girl.’ I was so excited for this opportunity and decided to at least give it a shot. This fell on the same day my best friend Ashley Durham was coming to visit from TN in order to be closer to Cincinnati for a meeting with a modeling agency. Regardless of how ironic it was, when she came up from TN, I drove down to TN and she drove the Cincinnati. After we both came back to my house that night and had a fun night together that included a midnight run to Walmart to fix a serious Halloween Oreo craving, the next day we switched positions and she drove South and I drove North. I was going to the Windy City to stay with my family near Chicago in order to be ready for the a shoot for Sears the next day.
The following Monday I was asked to come to Walnut Hill Elementary, in Liberty Kentucky, to be the opening speaker of Red Ribbon Week; a week devoted to teaching kids the importance of staying off drugs. It’s important to teach kids about these factors early on for prevention. It’s easier to get their attention when their younger instead. After I spoke during their assembly in the gym, I allowed questions. Although many related to my work and time as Miss KY USA, some questions were pretty funny such as ‘how tall are you’ or ‘how do you stay so skinny?” I couldn’t help but laugh at the kids’ adorable comments that their minds don’t yet filter while speaking in front of a large group of people
During my drive up, I was notified from the booker of Advantage Model and Talent of Nashville who sent me to the CMA casting. It said I got the job!!! I tried my best to contain my excitement while doing a little ‘happy dance’ behind the wheel. This was one of the castings I was most excited about compared to many others. This job will include me being on the stage during the telecast of the CMAs from Nashville, TN. I am responsible for bringing the trophies to the announcers of the winners of each award. I immediately asked Tony Bowls if I could get a gown to wear since I wanted to keep up with the fashion of the red carpet! Although Tony was more than willing to be a part of this and so excited for me, it turns out the producers have already decided to use a store in Nashville to dress the other ‘trophy girl’ and I. It feels kinda strange calling myself a ‘trophy girl’…. I have been trying to use the term ‘trophy presenter’ when people ask, but I don’t want to make it sound like I’ll be the one speaking during the show!! That will be Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley (who I’m super excited to meet!!!)
The singers of Rascall Flats, one of my favorite groups, along with countless other stars are some of the other people I’m hoping to get to speak to either at dress rehearsals or during the show’s events. Although I was able to meet Joey during the derby and I know his wife through her work with the Miss Tennessee USA pageant, I’m still hoping for another chance to speak to them again. I’m also thrilled that I’ll be in the audience during the live performances by Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, and Blake Shelton. This is truly a blessing that I’m getting this chance at just the right time since our very own Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry will also be present at the award show. Although this is by no means his first appearance on the show, I’m thrilled that I’ll be there for his nomination since we’re both from the same small county in Central Kentucky. Please go online and participate in the fan vote for Montgomery Gentry for the duo of the year. Eddie’s catchy musical talents I feel alone make the group worthy of the nomination, but after a year battleing cancer and a divorce within the same month, I think this award would truly be special for him and Troy.You can vote at cmaawards.com.cmaworld.com/nominees and scroll down to vote for Montgomery Gentry as the duo of the year.
On the 30th, I had the incredible opportunity to be part of a photo shoot for a new magazine that you should be on the shelves in the next few months. This magazine is called Unbridled Magazine. It is going to be the first Lexington based fashion magazine. The shoot took place at Keeneland with an incredible group of photographers, Mickey and Tom from Mickey’s salon for hair and makeup, and sweet models. This magaizne will feature fashion from the Bluegrass area. I wore outfits from Stephen Lawrence at Apre Vous and dresses from Bella Rose which are two of the best boutiques in Lexington. This shoot was especially fun because the two owners of the magazine, Kevin and Skip, requested me to give any input I have for suggestions about how to best put the magazine together since they are relatively new at the fashion scene in Lexington.
The next day, I spent my Halloween night flying to Little Rock, Arkansas to be part of a photo shoot for Tony Bowls. This time, although the models were wearing his epic evening gowns, there was a little something extra added that is a brand new addition to Tony’s Collection. He has recently added fashion-forward jewelry and shoes to his lines, but he has never designed the items we shot yesterday for his collection before…. but I can’t say too much! Stay tuned to find out how he is expanding his God given gift of designing to a reach a broader market soon! These shots were taken in the studio of Jason Masters along with other ‘on location’ shots across Little Rock. One of the best locations included shots in a large, open field…. I better stop before I say too much! Little Rock is a perfect location to find just these types of atmospheres which serve as perfect backdrops for the shots. After the shoot was wrapped, Ana Rodriquez (Miss TX USA ’11/Miss USA 3rd Runner-Up), Ashley Durham (Miss TN USA ’11/Miss USA 1st Runner-up) and I headed out to head our separate ways home. I’ll keep you updated as these photos are released. Also, keep you eyes out for magazines such as Seventeen magazine and others that are geared towards young girls during prom season for some of the shots of Tony’s gowns we’ve taken this summer and fall.