While other Macon County students were heading back to class after Christmas break, 15-year-old Kellie Trammel was flying across the country to take to the catwalk.
The Franklin High School student was selected out of more than 200 other females from all over the country to fly to Los Angeles, California to participate in the International Models and Talent Association (IMTA) competition.
IMTA is a professional association of the finest and most successful modeling and talent training centers in the world. Since 1987, IMTA has become the recognized leader in putting new faces in front of the people whose business it is to identify the next rising star or supermodel. An impressive and constantly growing list of people who were first seen at IMTA conventions are now seen in magazines, TV, movies and fashion shows.
IMTA produces multiple weeklong competitions, including one in New York, and Los Angeles, consisting of modeling, acting, singing and dancing. Hundreds of fashion and talent agents, personal managers, casting directors, network representatives and music producers judge IMTA competitions while searching for new models, actors, singers and dancers to work in the fashion and entertainment industries.
Organizers with IMTA contacted Trammel in August and invited her to audition for the January competition in L.A. Trammel first got her modeling start in the Spring of 2012, when she signed up for Barbizon Modeling at a shopping mall. “I had been asking my mom to try modeling for more than two years now,” said Trammel. “Whenever my friends or my dad's coworkers would tell me that I could be a model, I would go back and tell my mom about it and finally my mom gave in.”
After auditioning and being selected for the show, Trammel had to travel to Charlotte once a month to prepare as part of a team of 55 people who would be competing in January.
Once in L.A., Trammel describes the experience as being “Go, Go, Go.” Going to L.A. was the farthest trip West I had ever made,” she said. “As soon as I got there I was nervous, but after I started preparing for the competition and saw the other models, I felt like I really belonged in the industry. It was go, go, go the whole week I was there.”
Trammel participated in modeling classes that focused on public speaking, healthy nutrition habits, and photo shoot tips.
After landing in California, Trammel had the distinct honor of being one of 13 females selected specifically by Michael Maddox, an internationally known runway expert on directing and producing fashion shows all over the world, to participate in a fashion show featuring clothes by Angela Dean.
While preparing to appear in the Angela Dean Fashion Show, Trammel competed in the IMTA Modeling and Talent show, walking away with four trophies and two medals, including being named third runner up in the Junior Miss Model of the Year competition, where she won $50.
While competing individually categories such as in Fashion Print/Runway, Jeans, Makeup, Swimwear and TV Beauty, Trammel competed as a team in Team Fashion.
Since returning to Franklin, Trammel said she has just been focusing on catching up on sleep. “I just went nonstop while I was out there, so I have been catching up on sleep and trying to adjust to the time change,” she said. “I am still on cloud nine.”
Trammel's mother, Dawn Trammel, who accompanied her daughter on the trip, said she couldn't be more proud of her daughter's drive and accomplishments in such a short amount of time. “Kellie has been begging me for two and a half years to model, and with everything you read and hear on the news about the industry, it is hard to let your daughter get into an industry notorious for exploitation,” said Dawn. “But after going with her this week and seeing everything firsthand, I am a little more openminded about letting her move forward with her dream.”
Trammel credits her success in California to the experiences she has had in Franklin. “I think being active in the shows put on by the Overlook Theatre Company and in my high school drama club really gave me an edge in L.A.,” said Trammel. “I was used to performing and competing for spots, so it wasn't entirely new for me.”
In addition to performing at the local shows, Trammel is a pretty typical teenage girl. She plays volleyball, basketball, swimming and soccer.
Trammel is currently managed by Ice Agency, which acts as both her manager and talent agent. “I have been scouted by big name agencies like Wilhelmina and New York,” said Trammel. “Right now I am trying to convince my mom to home-school me so I can do modeling full-time. Some of the agencies have already said that I would need my entire summers to prepare for things, so if I wanted to be able to do this, I would have to be home schooled.”
While her mom is not too keen on the idea of letting her teenage daughter grab life by the horns just yet, Dawn is considering home school as an option. “I plan on doing modeling for as long as I can, and then when that is done, I want to move into film acting,” said Trammel.