The time has come for me to spend my annual month or longer stay in Chicago! I am back living with my roommate who is the same friend I lived with in Chicago and Miami last year. So far we are on day 3 and enjoying it very much! Ashley and I always end up cooking a ton when we live together, so do expect some new great recipes to be added soon!!! We started our stay off right with tonight cooking Vegan maccaroni and cheese with a kale salad. Instead of cheese, we used sweet potato puree and a few other ingredients and I promise it was just as tasty as the original, full dairy version!
If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you may have seen my post about my flight to Chicago this past Thursday. My flight was struck by lightning! Although this is apparently an event which happens to at least one plane in each airline each year, it was definitely new for me and absolutely terrifying! I somehow did stay very calm nonetheless. We just heard a huge bang as the sky lit up shortly after taking off from the Louisville airport. We had to do an emergency landing right back at the airport as quickly as possible for precautionary measures in case the strike went all the way through the airplane’s build and could cause further loss of pressure or worse. And let me tell you, those were the longest 20 minutes or so as we waited to land since I was afraid that any minute a tiny crack could become much more and cause the alarms to go off and the flight to possibly become even more frightening.
I felt much better once I could see the ground and the familiar Louisville airport, but as soon as it was in sight the plane went right back up! For some reason the pilot had to circle around a couple of times to avoid bad weather or to aim for the correct runway or something. I had never wanted to be on the ground so bad! Upon landing I was explaining to a fellow flyer in the airport why we were exiting the plane and rescheduling all of our flights. He joked that I should buy a Lotery ticket since the chances of being struck by lightning are so low. Another man on the flight said it was actually the second time it had happened to him! He said the time before the lightning hit the engine and therefore disabled the plane causing a quick drop. Thank God the pilot was able to initiate the backup engine on his flight and therefore the plane didn’t crash. Considering my flight was struck by lightning, it was incredibly uneventful. We were so blessed. It is crazy that on my flight the lightning hit the door to not cause a crazy amount of turbulence. I don’t doubt it was God’s protection. To add more irony to it, before we ever took off from Louisville, the lady sitting behind me actually asked to be let off the plane. The flight attendant had to bring back the jet bridge and re-open the door. I’m not sure if this was the flyer’s first flight or why she was scared… but that’s just creepy that she left the flight that actually got struck! After this flight I was hesitant to reboard another flight to get to work in Chicago for the day, but I did. I was definitely shook up upon the realization that yes, it can “happen to you.”
In addition to this drama, and on a much lighter note, my photos have arrived from my shoot with Beth Studenberg in Miami. These shots were taken in Beth’s studio and also downtown Miami in the art district. Visiting the Miami area sparked many memories of when I lived there from last year. It was also a great time to escape the cold of winter and experience some sunlight! If you notice, I typically visit Miami when it is cold in Chicago and Kentucky…which is not by chance! I absolutely love these photos because they are a combination of simple and fun. My agency, FORD Models, sent me on this shoot to update my portfolio. It is important for models to do this at least once a year so that their portfolios stay updated to what they look like and so their portfolios don’t get boring. Hope you enjoy!
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/
Merry Christmas to all friends and readers of modeledbymaria.com!!! I hope you’ve been able to experience the warmth of the season and Christ’s unselfish salvation for us all!
Things around here have been crazy hectic with finishing the semester, my internship for grad school, and completing last minute shopping. I am THRILLED to finally have my internship completed. I learned SOOO MUCH from my supervisor – the gracious Cassie Davidson ( who worked so wonderfully around my modeling/acting schedule). I worked in a rehab/skilled nursing center as a speech-language pathologist with stroke victims, patients with dementia, and other communication disorders to help them regain their ability to communicate daily. It was a miracle to have this internship set-up accepeted by my university, since it required me to only complete me hours as I could when I wasn’t traveling. Thank you WKU for being so considerate! I previously thought I only wanted to one day work as an SLP with children (part time with modeling) in a school system. But now I see the benefits working with adults, too. When my supervisor and I were able to help stroke patient change her lack of receptive and expressive language, and self-created jibberish, into real words I realized just how rewarding of a field SLP truly is. I also learned about being positive in life. These patients who have been through so much, yet remain with a smile on their faces, are true role-models for how to look at the bright side.
Besides that, I started shopping early this year and did our annual family Black Friday adventures – which is truly one of my favorite days of the year. I had a total of 6 Christmas get-togethers over 2 days and really enjoyed them all. I loved shopping for the Salvation Army’s “Angel Tree” children with Zac – it was adorable how he just couldn’t stop unselfishly buying for them . I visited family and family visited us which was great as well. My family sure isn’t a boring one – and I lover every minute with them. At one point it suddenly hit me how my family has been blessed with health and a lack of tragic events compared to so many hurting with the recent events in Connecticut and others hurting in our country. Sometimes life just isn’t fair… all I know to do is lower my head in a thankful prayer, and thoughtful prayer for those in pain.
Although traveling has been fairly busy up until the holidays, it is so nice that it has slowed down for a bit now. I forgot what it was like to have all my clothes and items in one place! My focus today is on playing with my new “toys” – such as a camera and recipe book from my sister and mom – and simply being lazy. To be exact…. I’m still in my PJs even though it is almost 1:00! The day after Christmas has always been the best day for laziness and pj wearing
If you’re like me – you may have ate more than ideal over the Christmas holiday. Don’t beat yourself up! A few tricks to get back on track is to not starve yourself, because this only sets you up for future failures. I make the worst eating decisions when I’m starving and in a hurry to eat! Also, remember you can burn calories from things like shoveling snow, playing with the kids, or any other activity you find more fun than the gym. Below are some common activities that send that extra piece of cake into calorie burning fuel!
*Playing dodgeball with kids
*Boggie Down for a real sweat session and laughter!
*Wrap yourself warm and go on a hike
*Cleaning house for your relatives – lifting heavy furniture or loads of laundry only adds weight lifting!
*My favotire…Shop until you drop!!! – use an app like “map my fitness” to see how many miles you walked and calculate the calorie burn.
Remember to check my recipe tab above for ways to turn your favorite recipes into healthy treats as well as recipes that sound crazy – but are surprisingly good!
Blessings to you all – stay in touch!
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
I arrived back in Atlanta for my fourth year of m0deling in runway shows for Tony Bowls at the Atlanta market, where buyers from stores across the nation come to pick out this coming season’s newest styles to sell in their store. Needless to say, Tony’s gowns were remarkable, classy, and just drop dead gorgeous! This year was a bit different than previous years as Tony was aiming for a sleek look. All our hair was pulled back the same into buns or ponytails and the makeup was centered around simple dark eyes. Double lashes placed by our hair and makeup artist, Joel Green, pushed this edgy look to the top! We were asked to have fun on the runway and let the music inspire us as every other year, but this year Tony wanted to increase the edgy elements in our choreography. So, there was much more still posing at the back of the runway and some not so smiley walking compared to previous years. Additionally, during the line of “Tony Bowls Collection” there was simple violin music that really set the mood for this breathtaking line of pageant and red-carpet gowns! You would have thought you jumped right in NYC fashion week! There is nothing like it when the audience goes wild and cheers for your gown – although it makes it very difficult to keep a straight face. I particularly loved my collared, black, jersey dress with huge crystals around the neckline. It provided a perfect means for getting me into the edgy vibe. The other girls and I even joked that with my straight hair I was wearing during rehearsals, I was able to play up the vampire vibe . Our smiley, approachable, and sometimes dancing on the runway selfs reappeared for other lines that were more geared to the prom girls age group. Showing ever color option of each dress this year and a decreased number of models made for 44 or 45 gowns per model for the 2 hour show. Therefore, the composed walking on the runway and super face jetting into and out of dresses I considered adequate for daily workouts. We had an average of 3 shows per day. I calculated that I walked the runway approximately 720 times that week! Whew!!! But I absolutely love it! I can’t be more honored to work for such a talented designer who knows each model personally. It truly is like a family when I come to work for them. Who would have thought when I first met Tony when he was designing my Miss USA gown that we’d still be so close as we are today? Great crew, great guy, great dresses!
This year working at market was just as fun as any year as I met up with some of my best friends from across the country. I’m starting to learn that except for some close friends from KY, most of my friends are relatively spread out across the nation! Therefore, I love week long jobs such as these to get to see them. The only (major) difference was that my roomie from Miami, Chicago, best friend, and girl I dreamed of “one day modeling in a big city with” wasn’t there due to her foot injury. We all missed Ashley greatly! Nonetheless, two new girls became close friend – Sarah Liz Carter and Liz Cardillo. Additionally, I’m really looking forward to spending time with Liz because she lives in LA! Which by the way… I may be spending some time there soon as I signed with Wilhelmina Models back in May of this year! This news is just now coming out as I’m just now going to have time to devote to working there. Not only that, but Ashley Durham (the roommate I was just speaking of) signed with them as well! She called to give me this good news while we were in Atlanta. I almost screamed!!! These major modeling agencies, only accept a few girls per agency from across the world. Therefore, it is just nothing but “a God thing” that we are both with the same 3 agencies (FORD Models – Chicago, Miami & Wilhemina LA). Especially because no sweet talking or name dropping from either of us was involved when the other signed with the agencies!
Besides that, other good news came in this week – my grad school professor accepted my externship request for this upcoming semester. This is another praise because most externships aren’t allowed to have alternating schedules week by week. However that is exactly what mine needed due to my unpredictable schedule with working for the agencies. You gotta take work as it comes! I have 3 externships I must complete as a student clinician providing speech therapy in 3 different locations to graduate with my Master’s degree. The supervisor at this location in Lexington was wonderful in accepting my idea of submitting my schedule to her on a week to week basis. Lastly, I simply can’t tell you how good it feels to finally be home! It seems that this year has been one short-term move after another for modeling and for school: Miami for 3 months, home shortly, Chicago for a month, vacation for a week, then Bowling Green for my graduate school intership. Regardless,I wouldn’t trade a second of those moves for anything!!! I loved every minute of them and especially living with my best friend in those cities and doing what I love. Additionally, I’m grateful to have got my one and only time that I’m required to be on campus for my Speech-Language Pathology online program complete (my internship in Bowling Green at Western Kentucky University’s Campus in July). From here on out for a while, I will be living in KY. attending my externship for an average of 3 days a week, and just fly out once or twice a week or as needed for jobs! I started my time of living back in KY right with throwing my friend a bachelorette night out with going to a concert and dinner (who is the Miss KY USA I crowned, didn’t know at the time, but became best friends with and later EKU roommates). The concert featuring Rascal Flatts in Louisville, with Eli Young Band and Little Big Town, made this night one to remember forever!
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!