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
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!
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!
If you’re one of my website visitors from Kentucky, you may have heard about the remarkable salon/boutique called Voce in Lexington. Word about Voce made it’s way to me a while back when I noticed their edgy advertisements in Tops in Lex. These advertisements increased my curiosity and made me want to find out about this up-town boutique in a southern Kentucky town. Come to find out, the owner Mickey Binion, is an amazing stylists who moved here from LA. He left his previous lifestyle of styling celebrities such as Britney Spears to come to the bluegrass. Not only is he experienced, but Mickey is simple one of those people who can make anyone feel like a million bucks. I can see why people are continuously drawn to his salon and why Voce was voted third runner up by “Salon Today Magazine” for Salons of the Year 2010! When clients walk out, whether they are pampered by Mickey or any of the other sweet stylists, they walk out feeling just like the Hollywood stars Mickey is used to working with.
Almost half a year ago Mickey contacted me to model the quality brand clothing Voce carries in their boutique. However, this request came right during market season for prom/pageant dresses when I was almost constantly traveling from state to state doing shows or shoots for Tony Bowls. Therefore, we had to patiently wait until our schedules matched up. I’m thrilled to say we have finally made it work and I’ve shot with the photographer Karl Schroeder for the boutique several times! I plan to make the drive to Lexington again Friday in order to visit them again! I always look forward to shooting with them since they let me relax and be myself, which often means picking Karl while he is shooting me I have to admit, I am pretty impressed that he has been able to get many serious photos since I am often laughing hysterically the entire day!
I am incredibly impressed by Mickey’s styling, his taste of quality clothing, Karl’s talent, and also the hospitality of each member of the Voce family. Even though it’s been a short time since I’ve met them all, they have truly made me feel at home. This is a place I highly recommend checking out whether you’re aiming to leave with celebrity-like hair or with the exact same clothes the celebrities wear! A beautiful-chic boutique like this is not a common find here in the South, so check it out!
You can find everything you need to complete your look from jewelry & shoes to hair and makeup at Voce. Some of the brands carried at Voce include J Brand (you’ve gotta try their jeans, they’re awesome!), Free People, Funktional, Rory Beca, Walter Baker, Cynthia Vincent, and much much more!
Since it’s the season for online shopping, which is what many of my photos have been used for, please visit: http://www.shopvoce.com/.You may also find me in Voce’s advertisements in local magazines such as Tops in Lex, LexScene, and more!
Check out the most recent clothing and accessory additions at Voce by checking out their facebook page called ‘Voce on Clay.’
Voce is located at 124 Clay Avenue in Lexington, Kentucky. You can also call at 859-252-8623. Hope to see you there!
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