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Stories from the Mission Field

From AMTC to Seattle’s Top Model 2011


Jen Kelly with her Parents & Seattle’s Top Model Announcer

Dear AMTC,

I auditioned for AMTC at the age of fourteen during May of 2009. At the time my family’s vehicle had been under repair, so my father drove us to auditions via dirt bike. Pelted by hail en route, our arrival and introduction to Actors, Models, and Talent for Christ was nonetheless an extremely positive one. After passing preliminaries, I continued on to join the AMTC [Winter] 2009-‘10 student body, competing in nine separate Orlando showcases: Runway, Swimsuit, Creative Runway, Monologue, Cold Read, Scene Read, TV Commercial, Photography, etc. At the week’s conclusion, I was blessed to be awarded “AMTC Overall Actor 2010,” having received callbacks… So much has gone on since that I must update you.

Roughly one year later, I have participated in 4 separate theatrical productions, 5 musical read-throughs, and my first national skincare and couture photo shoots, respectively. I have been honored to work with very talented designers, artists, and photographers, and am most fortunate to be represented by and to work for/intern as an assistant pose director with America’s Print Models/PIMA, run by Mr. David St. John. I auditioned for Mr. St. John some months ago, auditing both his agency’s modeling and acting classes. Soon after I enrolled in them both, coming under both David’s and his instructor’s tutoring, all of which are very talented and dedicated. I also make a point of remaining in contact with several former AMTC acting instructors, classmates, and friends, one of which, NC singer/songwriter Kara M. Dunn, has become one of my closest and dearest friends. I find that the support, advice, and guidance AMTC offers all of us, students and alums alike, to be an invaluable aid for all artists aspiring to create careers in the entertainment industry.

In terms of work, I have been doing more modeling than acting due to an increasingly demanding schedule. I was in my first fashion show by Cotton Candy Punk Designs this May, auditioning for Seattle’s Top Model soon after. At the urging of Model Placement International’s Aaron Dario, my family and I drove up to compete, running into an old AMTC alum. While celebrating our reunion, I had the chance to meet several other wonderful and very talented models. During Seattle Top Model competitions, we were judged very similarly to AMTC’s criteria— on attitude, poise, adaptability, and overall modeling potential. Post hair and makeup, we completed runway walks and interviews before a panel of judges in addition to submitting head and full body shots. During the second day of competition, we performed additional walks and interviews for a fresh audience and panel of judges in an official and advertised runway show. The designers, photographers, agents, stylists, and models were nothing short of fantastic to work with. As we were narrowed down to the top 12, then to the final three, I believe that in our individual ways, each of us had already won something more valuable than money- the chance to meet and network with others having the same dreams, goals, professions, and hopes as we had.

As I was announced the official winner of Seattle’s Top Model 2011, finding the words to offer the necessary thanks, appreciation, and respect to all the people who have supported me was next to impossible. I owe my family a great deal, and AMTC is a part of that family. As the first place recipient, I received a $1500 grand prize, a trip for two to Vegas and the Magic convention (one of the largest fashion events in the whole United States), and was most recently featured in both Seattle’s D-List magazine by Ms. Rebekah Rochelle, as well as in my community college’s event’s article.

Since returning to Portland I have attended a fitting with Neodandi House of Couture’s designer, Niilartey de Osu, and his creative team. We are currently in negotiations concerning upcoming shows and shoots, and I walk for avant-garde Portland designer Joseph Churchman’s collection this Thursday at the Portland R.A.W. Fashion Show. I greatly anticipate enrolling full time in college this fall while simultaneously starting my senior year of high school. I believe ignorance to be the one thing we can no longer afford, and as students of our respective crafts and life, we must expect nothing less than the best of ourselves.

Throughout my experiences these past months, I have learned that not everything will go as planned. Schedules, shows, and choreography will change. You might one day be given a walk with one soundtrack, then the second before you hit the runway, it will be altered, swapped, or scrapped altogether. The important thing is to be flexible, to grow, accept, and adapt to each challenge presented to you. Change is most often what we make it. People will change as they react to your dreams and aspirations. Especially when you start to succeed, or even when you haven’t yet, you will more than ever have to rely on yourself and a strong supportive network as you pursue your goals. AMTC helps you in this aspect long after convention is over. It’s been a year and a half since my flight to Orlando, but I still message my teachers when I need their guidance or opinions, and I enjoy updating them on my progress. To our successes now and in the future, here’s to all future and current AMTC alumni!

Jen Kelly


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