NEWS & VIEWS
Editorial By Ashley Burns
Era of the Underdog
I t seems like there are at least a dozen new award shows each year for every genre of the enter-
tainment industry, from the Teen Choice Awards to the Golden Globes and the ESPYs to the
MTV Movie Awards, and it’s hard to keep track of which actors, musicians and entertainers are
winning which awards for what performances. But when it comes to what 30 Rock famously de-
clared the EGOT—Emmys, Grammys, Oscars and Tonys—we all still watch with breathless an-
ticipation, because those are the biggest spotlights for the world’s biggest stars.
One of the best parts of any awards show, too, is the surprise that a win can elicit from a
young, up-and-coming star, as country singer Taylor Swift has perfected for each of the 10 billion
awards she has won since breaking through. At this year’s Emmy ceremony, though, we witnessed
a young actor in his moment of genuine shock, as Aaron Paul won the Emmy for Best Support-
ing Actor in a Drama Series. And while his show, Breaking Bad, may be a little too intense for
some of us, I can assure you that he certainly deserved to win.
Who is Aaron Paul? To answer that question, you’d have to go back to the 1996 Internation-
al Modeling and Talent Association competition in Los Angeles, where he ﬁnished as the overall
runner-up and signed with a manager on the spot. Since then, Aaron has modeled, made guest
cameos on popular TV shows, appeared in music videos, and ultimately found the role of a life-
time as Jesse Pinkman on AMC’s heralded series. Now, he’s a Hollywood leading man after being
cast as the main character in the upcoming big screen adaptation of the blockbuster video game,
Need for Speed. All because he took a chance at IMTA.
In this issue, you’re going to read our own personal, family tale of underdog success, as
Pageantry CEO Carl Dunn and Pageantry Fashion Coordinator Snejanna Dunn took their own
sons, Andre and Austin, to IMTA in New York City for a feature story in this issue [see page 50].
Not only were they unprepared, but they were vastly short on time and had to make up for it with
crash courses in everything from acting to walking the runway. Sometimes, as it turns out, crash
courses are just what it takes to inspire success, because with the help that the Dunn boys received
from our friends and contributors alike, they’re both steps closer to satisfying their acting bugs.
Also in this issue, you can read about the many success stories of actress, singer and former
Miss Georgia Bobbie Eakes, who is proof positive that not only can the small town dream evolve
to success, but also that there is such a thing as longevity in the entertainment industry. Bobbie’s
career spans four decades and numerous genres, as she has been an Emmy-winning soap opera
star, a pop singing icon, and a tale of inspiration for young girls across the nation as they shop for
their ﬁrst pageant gowns in hopes of winning a local title.
People who advertise themselves as Hollywood insiders have long wanted us to believe that
the entertainment industry is the world’s most prominent gated community, in that only the most
exclusive people are welcomed. But we know from so many recurring underdog stories that this
just isn’t true. Otherwise, why would we continue to run features from industry geniuses like
Adam Hill if there wasn’t a belief that success really can happen to anyone.
As technology advances, so does ambition. Austin and Andre Dunn were able to cram for their
competitions by using Skype to meet with their acting coach, and because of a simple app like
that, people can now reach casting directors, agents and managers without having to put every-
thing on the line by moving to Los Angeles. Just ask Jeff Vanderpol, who introduced us in our
summer issue to his groundbreaking project, “My Big Movie Break”, which allows young talent to
make a feature ﬁlm without having to jump through the hoops and climb over the industry’s gates.
As Aaron Paul showed us, a successful career will
take time. But he decided to take a chance when he
was just 17, and now at 33 he’s already knocked down
Hollywood’s gates, leaving a path for thousands more
to follow. □