GRAFTON — She wasn’t one of those little girls who had always dreamed of being in the spotlight.
While she has been dancing since she was 5 years old, it was always more of a passion than a career goal. And she definitely didn’t imagine herself as a movie star — at least, not until she was about 16 years old.
That’s when Brooke Smith, a Midview High School graduate, discovered Applause International Inc., or more appropriately, they discovered her. Today, the 21-year-old is well on her way to becoming a star, and she shared how she got there Friday during a Career Day at East Elementary School in Grafton.
Her message was clear: Pursue your dreams, no matter what.
“Whether you want to be a singer, or a doctor, or a lawyer, whatever it is, you will always have someone telling you that you can’t do it,” she said. “I’m proof that you absolutely can do it.”
Kim Myers, founder of Applause International, and Linda Motznik, a former educator, coach and counselor in the Midview district and the director of education for Applause International, believe it, too.
The international talent scout agency will be holding open call auditions Tuesday evening at East Elementary School for anyone 4 to 84 years old.
Myers and Motznik travel all over the country, and the world, searching for talent. This month they will be in New York, Savannah, Ga., South Carolina, and Puerto Rico.
“Most people really don’t have a good understanding of the business,” Motznik said. “Whether you are interested in film, catalogue modeling, Broadway, we can help. Why not come out and have the opportunity to be evaluated by an international talent scout.”
In addition to the auditions, Myers will give a presentation to help people understand how to pursue a career in the entertainment industry — safely — and explain the different ways to get represented.
“It’s pretty informative,” Motznik said. “We have a good time and we find some incredible people with incredible talent. We’ve changed people’s lives across the country and beyond.”
That may be an understatement. Have you heard of Megan Fox? You know, the sultry brunette famous for her role in the Transformer movies?
Yea, Applause International discovered her, Myers said.
The little boy who played Reba McEntire’s son on the television show “Reba,” Applause discovered him at the age of 3.
Or how about the elderly man without his teeth eating Oreo cookies in the Oreo television ad? Yep, that was Applause International, too, Myers said.
Many other talents are appearing in Broadway shows or have made appearances on Disney Channel and Nickelodeon shows, among others.
Applause International Inc. was founded in 1993 by Myers, also a Midview High School graduate. Her goal is to offer a safe, family-friendly environment to those interested in pursuing a career in the entertainment industry.
“I want to create new role models,” she said. “My mission is to change Hollywood one role model at a time.”
Her approach seems to be working for Smith, who has appeared in commercials for Cedar Point and Axe Hair and Body Spray. She also has a couple of movie credits to her name, “The Many Monsters of Sadness” and “Young Harvest.”
Smith, who won a summer internship to study at the New York Conservatory for the Dramatic Arts when attending the biannual Applause Rising Talent Showcase a few years ago, eventually hopes to move back to New York to pursue a career in acting, dancing and modeling.
But for now, the soon-to-graduate Lorain County Community College student is content to pursue her dreams from here.
“A lot of people don’t know that if you live in Ohio, you can still have these types of careers,” she said. “It is really important for them to know.”
If you go
- WHAT: Open auditions with Applause International Inc.
- WHEN: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday
- WHERE: East Elementary School, 13070 Durkee Road, Grafton
- FOR MORE INFORMATION: To register to attend, call (800) STAR-102.
Contact Christina Jolliffe at 329-7155 or firstname.lastname@example.org.