Student competes for stardom
GYPSUM – Imagine being selected to participate in a competition, where there was a good chance many of your theatrical dreams might take flight in one fell swoop. For 17-year-old Jenny Parmenter that is exactly the odyssey she is about to undertake.When the Eagle Valley High School senior takes off for winter break this holiday season, she is looking to receive a gift or two long after Santa leaves town. Along with a group of 35 Colorado girls and boys, Parmenter will compete in the 30th Annual International Modeling and Talent Association competition in Los Angeles. During the remainder of her holiday vacation, Parmenter will try to seize one of the competition’s numerous opportunities to star in TV, commercials, magazines, film or on the runway. “It’s incredible,” Parmenter said. “It’s a big competition. It’s a way to get yourself out there in the business.”The International Modeling and Talent Association is an international association of training centers designed to produce modeling talent. Each year, it puts on two large competitions – a winter event in Los Angeles, and one in New York in July – for models, actors, singers and dancers.There are cash prizes, but the competition’s largest award is the chance to perform and audition before hundreds of top fashion and talent agents, managers, casting and film directors, and television industry professionals from the United States, Europe, Australia and Japan. From Jan. 3 to Jan. 8, Parmenter will join 1,400 other young hopefuls in Los Angeles in runway, singing, dancing, fashion and acting competitions. Getting that kind of experience can take years of effort and tens of thousands of dollars.
Getting a jobParmenter will compete in five areas:• The “soap” competition includes reading a script in front of the camera for a possible TV soap opera spot. • The commercial photo shoot is a chance to perform in commercials• The local head shot competition searches for photogenic models. • “TV real people” is a chance to impress the judges, with an off-camera script reading. • “Ready for my close-up” is a runway competition, with an impromptu line to be delivered at the end.Casting directors and talent agents will be watching every move.”I am really happy about it all. I have a lot of different ways I could go,” Parmenter said.
The week will wrap up with the “overview,” a last chance for agents and directors to look at all the competitors, and an evening, black-tie gala, where awards will be handed out.But many of the competitors will have already received their own rewards during call backs earlier in the day, where interested directors and agents arrange to meet individually with the competitors about professional work.”If somebody is interested in you, they meet you here,” Parmenter said. “It’s mostly just about getting jobs and stuff.”Standing out in the crowdParmenter was chosen out of 200 to 300 girls and boys at a Denver audition, where she had to read lines in front a camera, talk one-on-one with judges and participate in a photo shoot. The one-day audition produced just 34 lucky girls, and one lucky boy to go to the International Modeling and Talent Association competition. “I didn’t think I was going to make it. A lot of the girls there had a lot of experience,” Parmenter said.Parmenter already has some modeling and acting experience, beyond drama club and a stint with the Children’s Theater summer productions. She has worked with a Colorado modeling agency since June of 2003.
“I’m working my way up,” Parmenter said.She also recently co-starred in a Denver movie called, “Survivors.” Just like in the movies, Parmenter was cast, in part, by happenstance, when she began talking to a woman at a coffee shop near the Community College of Denver, which she was checking out because she is also interest in a veterinary career. The woman happened to be the director of the Colorado Film School, and in the middle of casting a movie.”She said she liked my look,” Parmenter said. The woman asked her to stop by and audition for a part in her movie, and Parmenter came away with a starring role. Although the film is currently only distributed in Colorado, it may be featured in the upcoming film festival in Denver.The experience made Parmenter thirst for more acting jobs. “It was a lot fun. I thought I might as well pursue it,” she said. “It seemed like something I wanted to do.”How do mom and dad feel about their daughter’s foray into Tinsel Town and the lure of bright lights?”I’m really excited about the opportunity for her,” said dad, Jim Parmenter. The experience, he believes, is invaluable. “I hope to get a job,” Jenny said, “but I’m going to have a lot of fun with it. I want a career out of this more than anything.”
But the young animal lover hasn’t given up her dream of becoming a veterinary technician, either, she said. “I’d like to do that on the side,” she said. ==========================================Competition contributionsJenny Parmenter is still looking for sponsors to help defray the costs of travel and competition fees for her trip to the International Modeling and Talent Association in January. Call her for more information, at 390-2937.Sponsors who have already lent their support, include Collett Enterprises, Mayne Block, Markos, Columbine Market and the Tool Clinic.==========================================Vail, Colorado