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Uncover Your Inner Celebrity - Caressa Cameron

It is amazing what appearing on the cover of Pageantry magazine can do to raise a career profile, and when that cover girl is Miss America 2010 the sky is the limit. My inbox was filled with questions about beautiful titleholder Caressa Cameron when the summer edition hit the stands. The story behind the story illustrates the importance of the total commitment, focus, training and passion required to eventually realize a dream.

Caressa Explains it All: ‘Never say never. And never stop trying.’ This could well be a motto for sensational Caressa Cameron, Miss America 2010. Caressa is a perfect role model for any young girl wanting to break into show business.

 

At the International Model and Talent Convention (IMTA) in New York in July, I chatted with Caressa’s talent manager Stevi Meredith of Meredith Management in Los Angeles, and she is half of a dynamic career-making team. Michael Jay a songwriter and record producer who owns Jambo Studios in Los Angeles is the other half. Stevi told me:

“From time-to-time Michael and I get together to scout singers. When we find someone I groom them and get them ready and Michael picks the songs for them to record. He makes a demo and then we shop them as a package. A few years ago we were here in New York at an IMTA event and we heard a beautiful African-American girl, Caressa Cameron, sing. We were mesmerized. She had an incredible voice. She had poise. She had it all. We knew she was ready right then.

“At the time she was preparing to be a senior in high school. We talked to her parents who were from Virginia and they came out to Los Angeles. We recorded two songs with Caressa and did a big photo shoot to complete the package to present to the record companies.”

However, being a true manager, Stevi sensed that Caressa was often distracted. Something was bothering her. She asked her what was wrong. Caressa told her: “Well there is a pageant coming up and I would really like to be in it. I love doing pageants. I like what I am doing now but I really think I want to be Miss America.”

So Stevi said, “Okay. Call us if you ever want to sing. Over the years we kept up with her progress and talked to her mom. A couple of times we did a sponsorship for her. Then one night I turned on the television and the Miss America pageant was on. Suddenly I was rooted to the spot. Miss Virginia introduced herself. There was Caressa Cameron!

“I was in Ohio so I called Michael in Los Angeles because with the time difference I knew he would not have seen it. He was so excited! His sister was a stage manager on the pageant so he texted her and asked her if she had the chance, to tell Miss Virginia—Caressa Cameron—that Stevi and Michael said, ‘Hi.’

“Caressa did the talent and her voice was amazing. She looked stunning. The count down went on from fourth to third to second and then first runner-up. Caressa was Miss America. I just started bawling. All I could hear was her quiet little voice saying “­I want to be Miss America’ and now she was.

“I texted her mom congratulations, because it was such a testament to her parents, as well as Caressa. She did all the work but they believed in her and made the sacrifices to pay the expenses. The next day my inbox was full with everyone wanting information. Perhaps when she has fulfilled her title obligations she may want to record. If so, Michael and I will be right there for her.”

There are valuable lessons in this story on what it takes to succeed in any area of the entertainment business. Caressa became Miss Virginia on her fourth attempt. She had to handle immeasurable rejection and patiently and persistently focus on her goal. Her parents provided constant support, which is a vital ingredient to success. Michael and Stevi, consummate professionals, were willing to accept that at that point Caressa’s passion was to become Miss America. Aware of her immense talent and potential as a singer, it must have been hard to encourage her to pursue a different dream. But they did. The pageantry, modeling, commercial and acting worlds intertwine. One door leads to another. Although Caressa is 5-foot-4, which is considered too short for a runway model, her celebrity status overshadows this. From a commercial standpoint, Caressa will be in demand for commercials and advertising campaigns.

Lasting success is the result of dedicated collaboration on the part of many people, resilience, persistence and loving family support. Caressa is a shining example and an exemplary role model for all of us in the industry.

Many models are interested in modeling in Asia. The following question comes from a working model who is specifically interested in Hong Kong.

 

Q. Can you tell me something about the markets in Asia, especially Hong Kong?
A.
The Asian market has opened up with remarkable force in the last few years. European designers have flocked to China, in particular. Tokyo, Osaka, Singapore, Taiwan, Taipei, Thailand, Korea, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing are the main centers. In my book, “Model Scoop & Acting Info,” I give in-depth information on all of the markets, requirements and opportunities in this part of the world.

 

Her luminous beauty and charismatic personality are assets that have earned model Jessica Cambensy a trip to Asia where she has become a celebrity.

Jet-Set Jessica: Her luminous beauty and charismatic personality are assets that have earned model Jessica Cambensy a trip to Asia where she has become a celebrity.

 

Here is an interesting story about a young Chicago girl who has become famous as a model in Asia, which will illustrate what it takes to be successful there. I chatted with Canadian Heather Scott who owns Power Model Management in Vancouver just as she arrived back from Hong Kong. Heather acts as a liaison between “mother agents” in this country and Canada, and she is known for her uncanny ability to place models with just the right Asian agencies.

Heather had been in Hong Kong to provide support and management for a beautiful young model known professionally in Asia as Jessica C (for Cambensy). Heather told me: “I found Jessica when she was 15 at an IMTA convention. She had been brought there by modeling school owner Charles Nemes. Teresa Pollman, owner of IMD Models and Entertainment in Oregon, was representing her. From there she went to Hong Kong to start her modeling career. She worked in other markets where she did a lot of commercials and direct bookings. She has been in Asia for six years.

Some months ago she returned to Hong Kong and did a television commercial with a famous actor and immediately people took notice. She is now a celebrity. She is in the newspapers every day and the paparazzi follow her everywhere. That’s why I went to Hong Kong. Jessica has been so busy she needed management. I wanted to pull her back a little bit to give her some time off.

Heather has this advice for new models: “They must realize that it doesn’t happen overnight. And a good attitude is a must. Jessica is a great role model. She is amazing to work with. She never complains and the clients love her. She is a natural and makes everyone feel great.” She added: “In today’s economy the Asian market is not as accepting of new faces and it is difficult for the newcomer. Agents are getting very picky. You have to develop a great book and you do this by spending time developing and testing, testing, testing. You must also be the exact size that you need to be. Be cautious! China and Korea are opening agencies left right and center. Make sure that you are dealing with an established, legitimate agency.

 

Eve Matheson is the author of The Modeling Handbook, a bestseller in the industry. She has been writing about the modeling and acting world for over 20 years. The newest edition of Model Scoop And Acting Info is now available and provides a wealth of information on how to have a happy, successful, safe career. Eve is a journalist and the mother of a former international model. She has worked as a model, and in radio and television as a writer and presenter. Eve lives with her husband, Ian, a plastic surgeon, in Tampa, Florida.

 

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