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
Upon my dad telling me one of his coworkers asked him if a photo was of me in Elle Magazine, I darted to Walmart to pick up my own copy. The ad that he mentioned – Cordova jewelery – was in fact a campaign I had shot for. I just didn’t know where it was going to be printed. I was sooo excited to hear it was in a major magazine such as this. I flipped through the pages, and sure enough… it was me!! This is a job I drove to Nashville to audition for, got very lost and frustrated, and then realized the place I couldn’t find was a studio I had been to before when I shot a Covergirl / Taylor Swift short film for Comcast… so I was even more frustrated that I was lost going some place I should have known. Regardless, I suppose the audition went well since I was accepted for the job! It was a fun one to shoot. The guy in the photo was from LA and is actually the stand-in for Ashton Kutcher in “Two and a Half Men”. So, his stories kept us all entertained! Thank you Advantage Model and Talent – my mother agency in Nashville who also got me the lead role in 2 music videos and was who placed me with FORD Models – for this outstanding job. You all have been a wonderful outlet for me and a major inspiration to teach me how to keep morals and values while working in this industry!
Besides finding this campaign, I’m still in Chicago spending my month here and enjoying it while living with Ashley Durham – my good friend/Miss USA sister/ and previous southern roommate from Miami. We are staying pretty busy with work, so this trip isn’t allowing as much casual social concepts as our Miami trip. Nonetheless, the local malls and outlets are keeping us busy for sure!
I only have about another week here in Chicago and then I plan to come home for about a week – although I anticipate having to go out of town at least some of those days to work in Chicago or Milwaukee as I typically do once a week. Plus, the only time I have to be on campus for my online graduate degree is coming up along with the start of my summer course. So… it seems like I don’t have much of a summer as far as free time. But, that’s okay… I’m learning I don’t do very well with free time anyway. It seems like when I have a rest that I only use it to feel guilty that I should be doing something else productive! Please stay tuned and follow me on twitter at MariaKY09 to see my next few productivity projects
AND DON’T FORGET!!!! Miss USA 2012 is TONIGHT!!!! Be sure to cheer on our own Amanda Mertz, Miss Kentucky USA 2012!! She is a girl with an amazing combination of spunk and sweetness who could honestly bring home the crown to KY! She did OUTSTANDING in preliminaries, and via our text messages, I’m finding out her interview went great as well. She is a hard worker and could do great things during a year as Miss USA.
I have to admit watching the girls and simply hearing how Amanda is feeling is bringing back an overwhelming amount of memories that I felt when I was announced in the top 5 of Miss USA in 2009. It is hard to believe that just the year before I competed for the KY title, as I watched the Miss USA telecast, how I held each state representative as inhuman super-stars because of how much I looked up to them! Now, I use watching the pageant annually as a time to sympathize what they are feeling as they are all just simple girls as I was too – in extraordinary positions. What happens tonight can not only positively change their lives forever, but can change the impacts they have on other people’s lives as well!
Please tune in tonight at 8 central time on NBC to watch the most exciting pageant of the year and to see who’s life will be changed forever overnight – by getting that Diamond Nexus crown placed on her head!
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
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.
As I was writing this post, I was looking out the window of the airplane to see what the pilot says is Louisville, Kentucky. I consider what it would be like to just stop for a pit stop in my home state after being gone for weeks. However, I can’t do that just yet. I am on my way to Milwaukee for a photo shoot for Bon Ton/Carsons-Scott. Upon seeing the writing on a ‘Carson’s-Scott’ shopping bag, I recognized the name of this clothing store and was honored to be chosen for their catalog shoot. This is the same company I shot the commercial for in Chicago a few weeks ago, (the commercial that required walking the massive Great Dane!). This has been a job FORD Models of Chicago has been trying to work into my schedule for a while now. I’m so excited the day has finally come to do it!
Before arriving to Milwaukee, I spent the last 2 weeks working my very favorite job which is modeling prom/pageant gowns for Tony Bowls. Working for Tony has become not only my favorite job, but a job I have with sentimental attachments to. These feelings exist for more reasons than my believing that this is the type of work I feel I was cut-out to do. It is also a job I love because of the time I’m able to spend with the girls and Tony himself. There is truly no other job like it; we’ve created a family out of the crew. The girls I modeled in Dallas with included Ashley Durham, Ana Rodriquez, (who you may remember from previous posts as I spoke about working with them and their top 5 placements in this year’s Miss USA pageant) and Adriana Nelson (who I’ve also mentioned in prior posts who is Miss Texas 2011 1st Runner-up).
Buyers from across the country came to see what Tony has designed for this year’s prom and pageant season. This market season was different than ever before because I was included in the advertising posters and catalogs posted in the showrooms. I couldn’t help but to smile from ear to ear each time Tony would tell a buyer ‘here’s the gown, and here’s the girl in the gown in the photo.’ It is the one print job out of all I’ve ever done that I’m the most proud of :). Anyway, I am convinced his designs this year are the best I’ve seen him design yet. The best word that I can find to describe them is ‘rich.’ These gowns range from funky dresses that a unique prom girl is sure to chase down, to elegant gowns that could be seen on celebrity red carpets.
The second week we four girls flew together to Atlanta to model at the country’s biggest apparel market. our flight and airport time consisted of constant laughter, fun in an Elvis store during a layover in Memphis, and many yawns as well. The Atlanta market varies from most others because it consists of numerous runway shows opposed to only showroom modeling. We started our stay with a rehearsal day where we were designated dresses and our runway show is choreographed. One thing that amazes me about Tony is his humble attitude. For example, it was he himself that picked the order of dresses for the girls, chose the music, and choreographed the walks/turns. After rehearsals, we decided to go to our annual favorite eating spot: Café Metro Diner. This is the home of our ever famous karaoke nights. Before our Atlanta stay was complete, we visited the diner for a second time to sing ‘Scrubs’ and also to help some Miss Teen USA girls who were also modeling at the market sing ‘WannaBe’ by Spice Girls. Watching the younger girls sing made all of us older girls feel just that, OLD; they barely knew the words of the song! I suppose the Spice Girls were our generation and they are probably now considered ‘oldies’ to those girls!
We started the week by a special runway show called ‘Top 10.’ This show is different than the others because the show includes designs from more than one designer, all of which are included in the ‘Top 10 Prom’ book. The show is performed in a large ballroom and the excitement was up to the roof with spotlights and loud music. Although each model only had one dress to model for her assigned designer, it was truly one of the most adrenaline filled runway shows I’ve ever modeled in. It was a surprise to see Carol from Carol’s bridal back home in Danville sitting in the crowd. I proudly take some credit for her now carrying Tony’s gowns since she didn’t until I introduced them to each other :). Tony walked away from the show named the ‘Legendary Designer of the Year’ as voted upon by buyers. Having buyers elect a designer for a such an award is extremely prestigious. I’m not surprised he was selected, not only because of his breath-taking gowns, but because he has just as great of a personality as he has great designing skills.
The rest of the week included about 3 shows a day located in Tony’s showroom upstairs in the market. By the end of the week, we had completed 17 fashion shows! These shows aren’t your typical shows with one or two dresses that only last 20 minutes total. The shows averaged about an hour and a half long each with each model having 28-30 dresses. And yes, backstage is just like runway shows that are shown on TV. We walk calmly on stage (and we’re allowed to smile:)), and then we hurry backstage as we fight any problems that occur when changing gowns. Some of the problems we had included the instance when the zipper of one of my dresses got stuck and wouldn’t zip up. However, because the emcee will be calling out the code number of my gown in a numerical order, I have to be back and ready to go in only a matter of seconds. This is when quick fixes are necessary. In this instance, we pinned the back with what pins and I held the rest. You simply can’t let problems like impact the show. We had a very special last runway show in which we were allowed to all model barefoot. This usually would be what I prefer to prevent the shoes from rubbing on my blisters and etc. However, Tony is designing shoes this year that truly are great and actually pretty comfortable! So, we just carried them in our hands as we walked. The shoes and jewelry Tony is now designing are the forecast of prom/pageant fashions because they are a little more edgy than your typical pageant or prom shoes/jewelry. They will definitely be the new trend for the trendy prom girl. Wearing them prevented me of having blisters and scars in the first place. You can find them under ‘Frederico Leone’s', which is one of the most reliable pageant/prom shoes available. I’ve worn them since I was 15!
There were also additional problems at this year’s market which we usually don’t run into. It started out with Ashley being in a removable cast due to a stress fracture. However, she is your 1strunner-up to Miss USA 2011… she is a trooper! She even had the fracture during her stage performance at Miss USA! She decided doing Tony’s shows were worth the pain. She is a prime example of an extremely hard worker who’s very dedicated. She just kept swinging off her cast-boot and throwing on the 5 inch heels to rock the runway. Another one of our models twisted her ankle on the runway after slipping near the edge. Our injuries increased even further when Kristen Motil, (who represented Tennessee the same year I represented KY at Miss USA), fell on a turn and sprung her arm when she went to catch herself. Due to our endless amount of humor we have when we’re mixed together, we laughed at these catastrophes until tears were in our eyes. We couldn’t stop laughing until we realized that the girls who were hurt may seriously be hurt, (although we still laugh when looking back at the initial event. And just to note, the victims of the accidents still laugh too.. before they move too much and feel the pain!!)
These falls sound tragic and a reason for a designer to be very upset, but that’s just not the way Tony works. He was more concerned that we were ok than anything. Additionally, in this show we are allowed and actually encouraged to not only laugh on stage, but dance a bit to the music, clap with the audience, or whatever it takes to keep the energy high. At one time I even thought the audience was getting excited over a gorgeous Grecian inspired white gown I was modeling until I turned around and saw they were actually clapping for a lady who decided to jump on stage with us! Ha! Things such as that aren’t far out of the ordinary. The action to the side of the runway was exciting as well! I was able to see girls come in to meet Tony and ask him shyly for if he’d take a photo with them. It’s always precious to watch their reactions, and I’m completely guilty of feeling the same way upon 1st meeting him. In addition, many girls were getting him to design their pageant gowns. How that brings back many memories to the same situation I was in when I first met Tony!
The 2 markets completed so far were very successful for Tony Bowls with him receiving his best sales record yet. The models and I like to take credit for being told by numerous buyers each year that we have the best runway show at market. However, we know this is truly due to working for a company that encourages us to have fun. Buyers say that it’s our genuine smiles on stage and energy that really further help the dresses sale. However, we wouldn’t be having that fun working for someone strict. This success is no surprise after the excitement Tony has had over the past year. Just last week while we were in Atlanta, word was delivered that Donald Trump chose one designer to be featured at the opening events of his new hotel in Hawaii, and guess who he chose! Although Tony said he’d never been to Hawaii, he decided to stay in Atlanta with us opposed to going to the event. If that doesn’t show a man of character, I don’t know what does! Also, Vanna White of Wheel of Fortune often wears Tony Bowls gowns. Just a few days ago, during a special episode, she again chose one of Tony’s gowns to wear. As you may have seen from my excited Twitter tweets, Lauren Alaina (one of the final 2 on this year’s American Idol) wore Tony’s designs multiple times along with American Idol singer Pia Toscano during this year’s America Idol Top 10 Tour.
The only thing I have next is to go home and gain some much needed R&R! I can’t wait to get home Friday! I have the urge to cook and spend time with my puppy Calipari. Hopefully the visit home will be refreshing because I may be turning right back around to head back out to Orlando, Fl. for a photo shoot for Pageantry Magazine. I just got the call a few moments ago from Carl. What an honor! I really hope to get it worked into next week’s schedule! Pageant magazine is one of the most prestigious coverages of everything pageants and more!
For 4 days last week I filmed a commercial for a store called Bon Ton. Bon Ton is a major store that carries the most fashionable brands such as Jessica Simpson, Michael Kors, and etc. You may know Bon Ton by the name of “Carsons.” The commercial was booked through my Ford – Chicago, Models (my Chicago agency) and was also recorded in various touristy locations in downtown Chicago. Tuesday morning, (and I do mean morning, having to wake up at 5 am), I flew into Chicago for my fitting. During the fitting I tried on various clothes as the stylists made sure every look was put together perfectly with the best accessories and shoes. There was also a seamstress on board who pinned my clothes as needed in order to fit them to look their best. After my fitting I was released to spend my time as I’d like. Naturally, I decided to go straight to the gorgeous downtown hotel that they booked and nap! I felt much better after my nap, but little did I know the next two days of filming would include getting up again at 5 am to be picked up from the hotel at 5:15. This seems very strenuous, and by the end of the week I was feeling the strain. However, it honestly wasn’t too bad because the crew was so light hearted and upbeat. Additionally, the always had food ready for us including a huge breakfast. Any of you that know me well, know that I’ll do about anything for a good breakfast – my favorite part of the day.
The crew was incredibly prepared and professional so each shot only took very little time. The first day I had 5 different outfits to model, and the second day I had four. The last day I had one full outfit as well as shoes to model. It was my first time modeling shoes, and it wasn’t near as easy as I would have imagined. Apparently I can’t tell when my feet are pointing straight or not . The production company had every move of the recording planned down to each second. There was a schedule printed with the pre-decided locations, an inspiration photo, a photo of the actual location, and a photo of me wearing the clothing at the fitting. To the side, there were notes about how my hair should be styled. The crew consisted of a videographer, about 6 men to do lighting and set up, a director who guided each model, hair and makeup artists, Matt who kept everything on schedule, and Barb from Bon Ton who is an incredibly classy lady very similar to Michelle Obama. I was astonished upon seeing the time and effort put into this shoot before the models had even arrived!
Although there was a director, the models were still able to ‘ad lib’ as they thought appropriate which always makes for a more natural shot. For example, after filming my flowing skirt outfit on the steps of the Contemporary Art Museum downtown, the cameras were turned off and I left the set by walking down the steps. Bard liked the way the skirt flowed as I bounced down the steps because I was in a silly mood. Therefore, she asked me to do it again, but this time with the cameras on. One of my favorite, but most difficult shots was when I was walking a Great Dane while wearing a red dress and heels. This dog was awesome! He was incredibly, incredibly strong. The very first take was something that should be submitted to a funny blooper show. As I was pulled along by the dog, I passed the thin area between a light pole and the ‘extras’which required trying to guide Bo, the Great Dane, to scoot over and make more room for me to pass. When I walk my cocker spaniel at home, I just have to walk slightly right or left and Cali follows. Bo didn’t react in such a way. It was more like trying to push over a brick wall! As I attempted to fit in the tight space, I wobbled on my heels beside Bo while Bo’s owner who was out of the scene but in front of us was backing up too quickly and tumbled completely over the light post causing him to fall to the ground and do what appeared to be a backwards somersault. Another take included Bo twisting his leash around the light post as I tried to steer him straight. I’m curious to see how that part of the final commercial comes out. I have a feeling they will opt to use the film of me walking the smaller, gray, Great Dane. Hopefully there wasn’t slobber on my dress in that take! Another funny take was when I was pretending to hail a taxi. In real life, my past record of success hailing taxis is not good. However, despite the huge camera, camera crew, and even the guy holding the umbrella over my head, taxis wouldn’t stop coming to the curb. The point was for me to wave down the taxis; we didn’t necessarily want me getting in one. Even though the taxi drivers may not have realized what was up, the people on the street did and therefore a crowd formed which caused people to ask the make-up artists ‘if they know me.’ They thought I was someone famous. Ha! I eventually tried to let the hair and makeup artist allow me hold the umbrella over my head myself as I am just not into the ‘high-maintenance’ appearance that having someone hold it for me was giving off. Maybe that’s just the Kentucky girl in me, but I didn’t mind holding it myself.
Although I have shot a few commercials for dress stores and etc., I learned a lot about the time that goes into commercials to get the desired, professional final production. A commercial is so quick with each section passing by in a matter or seconds so it’s easy to underestimate the effort behind each shot. I will never look at commercials the same now that I’ve experienced sitting on one set for an hour as the crew adjusted the lighting and objects in the background to get the set-up to appear just they way they wanted it. I also have been reminded how much I love acting. I just appreciate the ability to add personality to my work. I suppose it in a way reminds me of pageants. After other models said they could tell I have some acting experience and have taken lessons, I’m thinking God may be leading me toward acting for a reason. Hmm…. Maybe this is something I should really focus on Regardless, I’m looking forward to hopefully working with Bon Ton again soon. I was asked to come up this next week for a catalog shoot, but due to it being my last week to babysit the kids, I’ve decided to take a full week at home in order to be there for them.
I considered not including this next story in the blog because this post is getting pretty lengthy. However, since if I was ever in a pageant again and was asked about my most embarrassing moment, this would be it! During one of the nights after I got off work from the commercial, I decided to go to the hotel’s gym. I had just got back from Whole Foods which is one of my most favorite places (I know, I’m such a dork!) and was heading back up to the room. However, when I got on the elevator, the doors shut as I noticed the button for my floor wasn’t lighting up after I pushed it. I tried to push it again, and it still failed to light. So, I tried several other floors because I really don’t like sitting in a still elevator and was eager to do anything to get moving. Still… nothing happened. So I decided to resort to the ‘open door’ button, which again didn’t bring any response. So, very unlike me, I freaked! I threw down my bag of dinner and tried with all my might to pry open the doors. After straining some muscles, I realized they weren’t budging. So, I went to my last resort of pushing the ‘help’ button. As I waited for a response the elevator beeped and showed the number of the current floor increasing although I couldn’t feel the motion of it at all. So, I thought it was going crazy! Finally, an extremely and overly calm man answered the phone, and said something like ‘what’s up,’ which I thought was strange for someone in a position to help people who are ready to have a heart attack like I was. Suddenly, as I shouting so he could hear me explain that I was stuck, the doors opened on the top floor to a private dinner. Apparently someone there had pushed the button. When I mean to the dinner, I don’t mean the elevators were around the corner from the formal affair. I mean the elevator doors are right smack dab directly in view of this ballroom filled with wine-and-diners. Regardless that I was in my workout clothes, I jumped off the elevator as quickly as I could, causing many heads to turn toward the random girl in sweats. Not only was I WAY underdressed, but I was still shouting at the man of the intercom so he could hear me convince him that I was okay now. Additionally, I was speaking with the man who was getting on the elevator who was trying to calm me down and tell me that it was ok and that I wasn’t stuck. Eventually he convinced me that it was okay and I decided to get back on as I was still shouting at the man on the intercom, and rode down with the comforting employee of the hotel. Apparently, the people at the front desk aren’t kidding when they tell you that you must slide your key before activating the elevator. Maybe that’s why the ’help’ man was so calm, he must get those calls all the time.
As of right now, I have no idea where I’ll be this upcoming week, which I secretly kind-of think is exciting . This is due to being “on hold” for about 4 jobs through Ford Models. Being on hold means that the client (clothing company, designer, etc) has you in the final consideration but either hasn’t decided on the models he/she will use or hasn’t confirmed the rest of the details for a shoot such as the photographer or location. Sometimes holds can be cancelled if the client decides he/she would rather use a different model and sometimes the shoots can simply be rescheduled. My “hold” for Sears clothing has been confirmed, so I’m planning on traveling up north to “Chi-town” in order to do that shoot on Tuesday. This is a huge client for Ford, so I’m really hoping to make them proud! Prayers it goes well and safe travel of course are always appreciated!
It’s actually been a whole month since I’ve last been to Chicago, which is hard to believe! The Sears shoot was originally scheduled for just a few days after I returned from my 2 week shoot in Arkansas. I have to admit I did a little happy dance when I found out they rescheduled. As much as I love traveling, I needed some home time. Celebrating the fourth of July with my family hit the right spot. I am wondering if the client for my “hold” later this week will confirm after I’ve driven back home Tuesday, which would in turn be reason to drive back up again. I’m mostly concerned about this because I hate cancelling my daily babysitting job last minute and am unsure if the family I babysit for can find other plans for the kids or not. I’m truly grateful for a family who’s so supportive in my work, but I’ve always been known as a “people pleaser” so I get stressed out when I’m not “pleasing” the people I respect.
Scheduling is one thing I can’t stand. I’m always afraid to commit to an event due to my fear of having to possibly cancel. When I have to cancel, I just feel like absolute skum and want to hide under a rock… if only that would help the problem I would have found a rock by now . Much of my calendar is already getting booked up through October with awesome opportunities I’m really excited about. I am trying to not forget that I’ll also be doing grad-school online starting the end of August. So, I need to make sure to figure in time to work on projects and assignments. I scheduled my classes this past week and am just so grateful for the opportunity to complete my degree online to allow further traveling.
Last night was the annual Miss Kentucky pageant in Lexington which leads to Miss America. After grabbing a bite to eat at “The Mellow Mushroom” with my friends Katrina Giannini (Miss KY Teen USA 2007) and momma Giannini, we headed eagerly to the pageant. I am thrilled I got to witness one of the most competitive pageants I’ve ever seen! Congratulations to the newly crowned Miss Kentucky, Ann Blair Thornton.
I’ve admired Ann Blair’s determination towards this title for years. Although I’ve only spoken a few words to her, I’ve heard wonderful things about her through her sorority sister who’s one of my best friends, Emily Ahnquist! And of course I would like to congratulate Jefra Bland, 2nd Runner Up to Miss Kentucky 2011. Jefra blew me away when she sat down to play the piano. Her performance was flawless. Even though we spent an entire life-changing year together when she was Miss Kentucky Teen USA 2009 and I was her ‘big sis’ Miss Kentucky USA 2009, I’m still amazed at her talents, humility, and ability to simply capture whatever type of audience she steps in front of. Lastly, congratulations to all the contestants and the Miss Kentucky organization for yet another class-act pageant. And P.S. - I loved the addition of humours top 5 questions. It was a great way to see the girls’ personalities. For those who didn’t attend the pageant, Jefra’s question was “do you think it’s ok for vegetarians to eat animal crackers.” No worries though, these girls are bright, witty, and intelligent. Their serious sides were put to the test in the personal interviews and stage questions during preliminary competitions.
One more congratulations goes to my “4th runner-up buddy,” Mallory Irvin. Mallory was Miss Kentucky for the Miss America organization when I was Miss Kentucky USA for the Miss Universe Organization. Mallory also placed 4th runner-up at the national pageant. After we meet during personal training in Nashville, Mallory and I have kept in touch and I was so happy to catch up with her last night to get the details on what’s going on now. After she and her dad did seasons of the Amazing Race and kept everyone in KY on their toes for this bombshell, she’s now heading towards hosting a travel show! Mallory will be traveling the world to enlighten others through the TV not only on the sights of unfamiliar land but also on the variety of cultures our world possesses. Thank you Mallory for continuing to be such a great ambassador for our state!