New London-Spicer teen wins modeling offer after 'Made' reality show appearance
NEW LONDON -- Some say a person is defined by the way they walk, the way they present themselves.
If so, the definition of New London-Spicer student Anna Johnson somehow altered during the last 10 months.
"Apparently, I walk differently," the 17-year-old said, explaining how others have recently described her. "I'm much happier ... I'm so much more OK with myself."
But how does a typical high school student change her gait, and moreover her state of mind, in less than a year? For Johnson, it all started with an appearance on a reality show with two other teenage girls and a subsequent modeling contract offer.
Recently, Johnson appeared on MTV's "Made: Model Challenge." She spent two weeks in New York City during the show's filming in July.
While in the Big Apple, she was introduced to a bevy of high-profile modeling types, including Benny Ninja, the posing instructor of the TV reality program "America's Next Top Model." She also met Jaslene Gonzalez, "Model's" eighth-season winner, world-renowned makeup artist Bobbi Brown and inspirational speaker Julie Carrier.
Johnson said Carrier gave her the confidence to venture out of her comfort zone, a trait she called on when wearing a potato sack as she practiced her runway walk on the streets of Times Square.
"Initially when I went into this ... I wasn't very confident at all," Johnson said. "And after spending time with Julie (Carrier), I was so sure of myself. It really wasn't tough at all."
She said she had been told before that she is beautiful. It wasn't until she appeared on "Made" that she started to believe it.
But it wasn't all roses: Johnson butted heads with her "Made" coach, Glammo, leading to some truly unpleasant dealings.
"Right from the get-go, we absolutely hated each other," she said. "I'm really ashamed to say it, but I had never felt true hatred until I met Glammo."
But it was all worth it as Johnson was offered a one-year contract with Boss Models Inc. in New York upon the show's completion. Her first gig would have her appearing in a Cosmo Girl pictorial. The contract requires her to make a few trips to New York City over the summer. An entertainment professional hired by her family is currently reviewing the legalities of the contract -- previous modeling offers when she was younger proved to be scams.
Regardless of what lies ahead, Johnson says she is forever changed by her experience.
Following the episode's airing, Johnson said she immediately received hundreds of friend requests on Facebook.com, a social networking Web site.
"I have a lot of people that begin to talk to me because they think they're my friends now because, you know, 'she was on TV, she's famous,'" Johnson said. "It's absolutely ludicrous."
Johnson said she is proud of what the show gave her, but she will never participate in a reality show again.
"I hate to tell you, but reality shows are not reality," Johnson said. "They are not, and people don't understand it."