The idea for AMTC’s first convention began on a fateful day in the early ‘80s, while Carey Lewis and her mother were shepherding talented students to a convention in New York City. Carey, with the heart and mind of a young entrepreneur, turned to her mother and said, “Mom, we can do this better.”
And so, the first Convention was “born” at the Sheraton Hotel in Charleston, S.C., in 1982. The new event hosted 150 performers and 15 agents from New York—small by today’s convention standards, but just the beginning of a 30-year adventure.
The brainstorm behind that original convention is also still what motivates AMTC today. AMTC believed seeing a large group of agents collectively was safer, faster, less expensive, and more effective than trying to see them one by one.
As the convention’s reputation spread, other performing arts schools were inspired to join, which only increased the number of agents who wanted to attend. Eventually the Convention expanded in 1987 to become the Mid-South Models Convention (MSMC), and in 1992 the convention went national, transforming into AMTC: the American Modeling & Talent Convention.
While the convention’s early years focused mainly on models, increasing numbers of actors, singers, dancers, and comics were attending… and becoming stars. Young unknowns like Megan Fox, Mena Suvari, and Matthew Underwood were early graduates who set the stage for the rising stars of today.
Recognizing its position in career-making and its impact on the entertainment industry, the company renamed itself again. AMTC became Actors, Models, & Talent Competition, signaling another new era. The convention expanded in size and prominence, eventually drawing thousands of performers and families each year.
So many came in fact, that two yearly conventions were needed just to accommodate them. AMTC’s star power also increased in the panels of agents, managers and VIPs who came looking for fresh talent. Top names in film, television, modeling, and music descended on AMTC’s conventions, now held in Orlando, Florida. AMTC quickly distanced itself from other conventions looking to copy its success.
And yet, there was still a sense something was missing. The company’s growing success in the industry was ultimately hollow for its founder, Carey Lewis. She had accomplished what she’d set out to do. She could look back to that day she told her mother they could “do it better,” and know with confidence it was true. But it wasn’t enough.
In this desert, the true shaping of AMTC began. Carey Lewis, who at the age of 51 saw herself as a burned out CEO, turned her life and her company over to God. She became a committed Christian and the mission of the company changed course, again. In a few short years, one more name change would forever define the company’s core focus.
Throughout the years, the “C” part of AMTC had never quite gelled. Other “C’s,” like “convention,” “conference,” or even “coalition” were offered in addition to “competition.” It turns out the right “C” was finally found in “Christ.” In 2010, AMTC’s official, legal business name became Actors, Models & Talent for Christ. Says Carey, “I now see this as a divine path, though I didn’t know it then.”
“Even more, the deep roots that AMTC grew into fashion and entertainment through its first 24 years would now be used for God’s purposes—to promote His stars into key positions in the most pivotal mission field in the world: media. I was transformed, and so was AMTC—both for such a time as this,” says Lewis.
After years of dedicated, earthly focus, Carey and daughters Glynis and Lexy, with son-in-law and now Director, Adam She, changed gears with a greatly expanded team in purpose, excitement and urgency. The new mission: to launch not just stars, but stars who are role models for God in a world that surely needs them.
And changes have continued to come. 2011 saw more major adjustments when the company adopted a new logo, rebranded the bi-yearly conventions as SHINE, and renamed the training program that leads to convention as The Bridge. All these changes refine the identity of AMTC’s mission to be a light in the industry, and give AMTC’s performers a clearer understanding of the great responsibility before them.
As AMTC enters its 30th year, it is with great pleasure we announce the next God-inspired direction for the company: non-profit status. AMTC has become a fully-formed 501c3 corporation. AMTC’s new purpose: boldly proceed with godly transparency; its renewed mission: greater dedication to performers who are called to be positive role models in the industry.
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