I got scouted in the mall and went in to an open call. After that I had another meeting, which was where we were accepted to go to the event for my music and modeling.
Was modeling something you had considered before?
We had considered it and were thinking about it, but had never really looked into it. We didn’t really know how to go about it, so this helped us look into it and get started.
What are your thoughts about the VIP Talent Connect Summits?
It helps a lot. I was nervous when I first got there, but it helps you come out of your shell and you become more comfortable as the day goes on and you meet everyone. VIP Talent Connect helps you network and you get good results from it. We were amazed with the access that we had to the top executives in the industry that we were able to meet with. We never thought that could happen.
What came of the Summit for you?
At the Summit, I met with Terri from Wilhelmina. About a week after the event, I got a call from them wanting me to meet me in New York, which led to me signing a modeling contract with them. I also got to meet with Ryan Colby, and after meeting with him, he sent me to Teen Vogue where I got to meet with Laura, who does the castings for their editorials. It was so cool just walking into the Teen Vogue building because the elevator has all the magazines like GQ and Vogue on the walls.
What was that experience like? Were you nervous? Excited?
I was nervous at first because I wouldn’t be allowed to go in with my parents-which was the same procedure Wilhelmina. Then, she asked me basic questions and took some pictures-a short meeting.
But the day didn’t end there!
I then had a photo shoot with Ryan Colby in Tribeca. We had to take 5 cabs that day to go everywhere we were told to go! After the photo-shoot, we got the call about Wilhelmina wanting to send over a contract to sign with them, which I was super excited about!
What do your friends at school think of all this and you becoming a model?
They are so excited and happy for me. Some of them tell me that “my mom said that you could be a model.” Someone already asked me for an autograph too-jokingly though.
What do you think of everything that’s happened so far to you?
It let us get a taste of how it is. Things happened so fast for us. The week following the event was when we got the call about meeting at Wilhelmina and the next week we were in New York.
What would be your dream modeling job?
I’m so excited just to be signed with Wilhelmina! Someday, I hope that modeling can take me places all over the world, like Paris, to both work and just be able to visit. I also hope that this opens doors for a music career as well. I’m open to trying acting, but I don’t have as much experience. I’ve done theatre camp and school plays, so it’s definitely something that I’m open to trying. I’m definitely interested in doing commercials and would love to be a Cover Girl for the cosmetics line.
My dream magazine cover that I would want to be on would be Seventeen Magazine. I like to read it and it would be very cool being able to be on the cover.
Heidi Klum, Adriana Lima, Gisele Bundchen.
Growing up, my friends and I used to play a game called America’s Next Top Model and I would always be Tyra. I would give good tips and would let the other girls borrow my clothes, walk and they would have to have a certain look. It was a lot of fun. I would practice posing and walking in my mom’s high heels as a kid.
Who do you look up to singing wise?
Adele, Beyoncé and Taylor Swift. Taylor Swift because she loves her fans and really shows that she loves her fans and is a really good songwriter. Beyoncé because of her voice and how great of a performer she is. Adele because of her voice and her soul that comes through when she sings. Her voice is so different, which is what I love, even before she was famous.
If you could record an album with anybody, who would it be?
Bruno Mars or Chris Brown because I love their music.
Who are your favorite Actors/Actresses?
Rachel McAdams because my favorite movie is The Notebook.
Who is your inspiration and why?
Taylor Swift because at a very young age she learned guitar, she sings, is very humble, and is an all-around nice girl. She had so much determination to get her career started, and she rose despite everything that was going on around her when the Kanye West incident happened and in school. She didn’t try to be anybody but herself, even if she was different and is very gracious in how she handles things.
What are you looking forward to in the future?
I’m so excited to start getting jobs. I’m excited for my 1st job just to see how it is.
What are your goals both in life, modeling, and singing?
In modeling, I want to do my best and be able to expand and travel. With singing, through Wilhelmina, I want to be able to open doors for myself and touch people’s lives with my music. In Life, I want to always do my best with everything that I work on and always stay positive and dedicated. As I go on, I want to hopefully make money, give back to others and do community service.
Have you had the dream of being world famous and surrounded by paparazzi?
Definitely yes. I’ve always dreamed about being famous. I’ve been to LA a couple times. I won a contest to go to Justin Bieber’s movie premiere from my singing. Seeing all the famous people on the purple carpet, the different news outlets, and everyone walking down the carpet, made me want that someday. I’m in the director’s cut version of the Never Say Never movie and have gotten to meet a bunch of famous people already like Asher Roth, Selena Gomez and Sean Kingston. We went back to LA for my spring break and I love it there and want to live there. Our last night there we got to see the premiere of the movie Prom and met a bunch of Disney Channel stars. The entertainment industry is either LA or New York, but for modeling New York is good. The only downside to New York is that it’s so fast and hard to get used to as I’m getting older, whereas LA is more laidback.
What hobbies do you enjoy?
I like to hang out with my friends, go shopping and to the movies and go out to dinner. My favorite TV shows are Jersey Shore, Gossip Girl, and Pretty Little Liars. In middle school, I played field hockey and lacrosse, and I play guitar now too.
Denise, what were your initial thoughts about coming in?
I was skeptical at first, but I did research online. What really impressed me and made this ok though was reading all the articles and listening to Alycia Kaback’s radio shows. If this wasn’t legitimate, she wouldn’t have had a radio show. I felt comfortable going in and being open. This is something that you have to spend money on in order to get results, but we knew that going in and I felt that this was something safe and a safe environment. When dealing with your kid, you want people that you can trust and I felt comfortable with that aspect. There was a lot of opportunity for us to ask questions and there were enough meetings prior to the event that allowed us to have her prepared.
I would not have known what to do if I hadn’t had our meetings, from how to do a biography to what clothes to wear and what pictures to use. What we were supposed to do, we did down to the letter, from getting a portfolio book and putting songs on a flash drive and what to bring with us. We did all the stuff we were told, and it worked! I felt that if she had what it takes, it would be noticed, and it was!
Was it worth it?
It definitely was worth the shot and every penny. We are so excited for the next event and looking forward to it! VIP Talent Connect really helps you-it links you up with the right people. If you follow the instructions, it’s going to work for you if you have what it takes. I wouldn’t know how to go to NYC and get an appointment with Terri, but Alycia Kaback and The IT Factor gave us that opportunity. We had looked at sending photos online, but she isn’t 5’8”. We got the chance to meet with Terri, even though she isn’t 5’8”, because we were there in person and that’s what it takes sometimes. We are extremely happy with everything.
What would be your advice to people who are hesitant at first if this is something they should do?
Definitely do it, you can get results so quickly, which is amazing. Also, do your research so you have a comfort level going in. Networking is everything in life, and I really understood that when Alycia Kaback was talking about it. She wasn’t begging people-it’s more of a “you need us if you want it.” With anything in life, you have to have courage to take that step, and there is always risk involved. I’ve paid more money on a purse than going to the VIP Talent Connect Summit, but it’s a good investment. You’re not going to get something for nothing-it is impossible. You have to do whatever it takes make your dreams happen. At the event, we strategized how we were going to be meeting with everyone: we were not worried about eating, just making sure we talked to everyone we wanted to talk to and we worked the event. Even in life, you have to be assertive about going after what you want.
No, because we’ve made a decision that this is what we want to do. I approach her career like a business, and I’m organized in that way. Whatever it is we need to do, we will. I’ve looked into train and bus schedules and we’ll have to go talk to the school. We’ve looked into having a place in New York that we can have access to if it’s needed. She has our full support. She’s a great student so we’ll do whatever it takes. We do know that it takes money, but that’s the industry. We’re not going to let certain things stop us- if we have to buy something, we will. You got to be ready to jump on things when they happen. I’m on top of what needs to be done and stay very organized and prepared, as well as my husband, who works for the Ritz, so we can secure a hotel room when needed.
She definitely has to have at least a B in school because school is very important. Also, maintaining relationships with friends and just being a teenager is important. We didn’t want to pursue her career until a certain age because we wanted her to have a normal childhood. She has sang in competitions since she was 8 and had lessons and everything, but we didn’t pursue it further because we didn’t want to wear her out and we wanted to let her be a normal kid.
What are your thoughts on moving to LA or New York and the commitment that this is?
As a family, we’ve considered the possibility of moving to LA if her career takes her there. It’s something to think about in the future and something to work towards. I transitioned out of my job to be able to take her places and this is something we’re serious about. I’ve already looked into having a place in New York with friends when we have to be there.
What would be your dream job for her?
A shoot for Vogue. It would be wonderful to go to Milan or Paris also.
What is it like for you, watching all this happening?
I’m extremely excited about everything and I’m trying to be in tune to her needs. I make sure she has food in my purse and whatever she may need, like a sweatshirt. I was nervous when she went in to the meetings at Teen Vogue and Wilhelmina without me.
What advice do you give to Lauren?
I encourage my kids to dream big. We’ll be watching the MTV Movie Awards and I’ll tell her to practice your autograph and then will work with her to adjust or change it. When I found out I was having a girl, I wanted to name her a star name, so we did-Lauren Lee. We are always having discussions about how she would treat her fan base and talk about having the ability to influence someone’s life and how happy you can make them. We have lots of discussions about being accessible and humble, and how it is important to be nice to people and give back, like Justin Bieber did for Lauren.
Lauren: I follow Justin Bieber on Twitter and sometimes he re-tweets his fans. I also follow one of his fan twitters, and they got Justin Bieber to follow me and he sent me a Direct Message for my birthday and that made me so excited.
Denise, we know who Lauren would want to meet, but who would you want to meet?
Kris Jenner because I like how she creates this empire for her children and I would want to be her friend. I also like Oprah. I have a lot of respect for Kris Jenner in regards to how we relate with the entertainment industry and our children. I like family empires because family is extremely important.
To sign-up for modeling, acting and or music please visit The It Factor Productions at http://www.theitfactorproductions.com