AMTC, Actors, Models & Talent for Christ, is a three-generation family business started in 1982 by industry icon, Millie Lewis and her daughter, Carey Lewis.
Millie Lewis was New York fashion model in the late 1940’s, landing a cosmetic campaign and contract offers from 20th Century Fox and MGM. But by that time, she had already met her future husband, Jack Lewis, a WWll fighter pilot who became a stunt pilot for the newly formed US Air Force. Millie was hired to stand on his float during an air show in New York City.
When they married, Millie moved back to Jack’s hometown of Columbia, SC. She started a talent development dynasty, when she opened her first modeling and finishing school in 1960.
Millie was a TV and radio personality, a member of the New York Fashion Group, and helped pioneer the civil rights movement in South Carolina. Millie was inducted into the International Models Hall of Fame by the Modeling Association of America.
When Carey grew up, she joined her mother in business. They decided to host a talent convention for their top performers:
“It was a safe and cost-effective way for local talent to meet national agents in one time and one place—to see how far they could go without the travel and risk of trying to do it alone,” said Lewis.
Their first convention was held at the Sheraton Hotel in Charleston, SC, in 1982. It hosted 150 performers and 15 agents from New York—small by today’s standards, but just the beginning of a 32 year adventure. Young unknowns like Denise Hopkins, Megan Fox, Mena Suvari, and Matthew Underwood set the stage for the rising stars of today.
AMTC’s star power also increased in the panels of agents, managers and casting directors who came to their events looking for new faces. Top names in film, television, modeling, and music descended on AMTC’s conventions, now held in Orlando, Florida.
The company’s growing success ultimately became hollow for its founder, Carey Lewis. Personal challenges and professional betrayals brought her to her knees. In this desert, the true shaping of AMTC began. Carey, who at the age of 51 saw herself as a burned-out CEO, gave her life and her company to God.
She became a committed Christian and AMTC’s mission changed. Within two years of her transformation, both her daughters and son-in-law, Adam She (now AMTC’s Executive Director) became Christians. God had a plan, and they were part of it.
But this family’s transformations were about to start a revolution, because AMTC was about to get bold. Carey calls it her ‘Treadmill’ experience:
“A few months after surrendering to Jesus, God spoke to me on the treadmill. He told me the name of AMTC would change. We were AMTC before we were for Christ, but the ‘C’ stood for ‘Competition’.”
“God said we would no longer be ‘Actors, Models & Talent Competition.’ We would become ‘Actors, Models & Talent for Christ’ because that’s what the ‘C’ was always meant to be.”
“I was thrilled,” says Lewis. “I finally knew the purpose of my life. Even so, friends and co-workers were initially negative—afraid that our mainstream talent executives would not support such a boldly Christian company.”
“But my friends were wrong. The agents who had been with us for so long stayed loyal, and what they discovered at the ‘new’ AMTC surprised them. They saw a face for Jesus they never knew existed: they saw beauty, talent, love, integrity and purpose. They didn’t feel judged, but inspired!”
“Pretty soon, Christian casting directors wanted to support this movement, too. So today’s AMTC now hosts both mainstream and Christian media executives, because God wants His stars everywhere.”
“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.”
In 2012, Carey and her family gave up ownership of AMTC. Actors, Models & Talent for Christ is now a 501c3 non-profit Christian ministry with the purpose of making good bolder in film, fashion, music and theater.
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