H anging out with friends, talking on the phone, text messaging -- in many ways, Taylor Newton spends her time like any other 15-year-old girl.
But, Taylor has a talent agent. In fact, she has two. And during summer vacation from school, these agents keep her busy.
Two years ago, Taylor and her mother, Beth Newton, traveled to New York City where Taylor spent two months auditioning for different media projects, playing extra parts in movie scenes and participating in a photo shoot for a Sears advertisement.
"She was auditioning pretty much every day during that two months," Mrs. Newton said. "We stayed pretty busy."
Since then, they have returned to New York several times for various bigger auditions for Broadway, the Disney Channel and a movie.
"If they call, Mama handles it and we just get on a plane and go up there," Taylor said nonchalantly. "My friends say 'Oh, I wish I could fly to New York,' but I don't think it's different. It's just what I do."
Taylor is not the first in her family to experience the celebrity life. Her older brother, Alex, also had some auditions in New York and small parts in movies. Alex's picture was featured on a billboard and on the side of a bus in Augusta and in an advertisement for Doctors Hospital approximately 10 years ago. When he was in ninth grade, Alex secured a part in The Sound of Music musical at Thomson High School. He came home from school and announced they were looking for a little girl to play the part of Gretel in the musical, and asked if Taylor would like to do it.
"I was in first grade, and I've been doing plays ever since," Taylor said. "I've been singing at church (First United Methodist in Thomson) since I was little, too."
Taylor has performed in several musicals with the Augusta Players and the Augusta Opera. She has taken lessons from Marilyn Bellman and is a student of Jeanie Joesbury.
"One day, I heard someone singing in the back of the house, and I wondered who had turned the radio on," said Joe Newton, Taylor's father. "When I went back there, it was Taylor singing. And I thought, 'We need to do something with that.'"
Taylor and her mother traveled to Florida several years ago, where Taylor competed in Actors, Models and Talent for Christ (AMTC), a talent convention in which participants are invited to perform in front of top scouts, industry leaders, talent agents, managers and casting directors, according to the AMTC website.
There, Taylor placed in the top 10 out of 2,000 participants in every category she entered. She won first place in singing, cold reading, and third place in monologue and commercials.
"The coolest thing about commercials was each kid has to make up their own product and commercial for it. Mine was 'Chew 'n Grow' gum. You chew the gum and it makes you grow," Taylor said.
Her success at the AMTC resulted in phone calls from casting agents John Shea of New York and Margo Gabriel of Real People in Atlanta.
"When you make money, then of course, they make money," Mrs. Newton said. "So, they only pick kids who they think will make it."
The competition to "make it" is tough -- not only because of the large number of others trying out for the same part, but the requirements of the part itself.
"You have to be tough, and that's why training is good," Mrs. Newton said. "We learned that it's not that they don't like you. It's that you don't fit what they're looking for. It doesn't mean you're not talented, or won't get a role in the future. A lot of times with children, they want a certain look that will blend with other models to create a family. When you're sitting in the waiting room at an audition, you can look around and tell who else you might be put with."
Taylor said the most nervous she's been was at the Georgia Independent Schools Association's Literary Competition. As a freshman at Briarwood Academy, Taylor won first place in girl's solo in the region competition, then third place in the state competition.
"That was hard because in a musical, there's a bunch of people on stage performing with you," she said. "But there, I was standing on stage by myself."
As if standing solo on stage in front of a thousand people and judges wasn't stressful enough, Taylor said it was harder because she was singing an Italian song.
"Taylor's got a beautiful voice, and she's very conscientious about learning the academic part of the competition.," Mrs. Joesbury said. "She did an outstanding job. She's just a hard working little girl and she loves to sing."
Most recently, Taylor has secured a part in an independent film being shot in North Carolina in August. The film will be entered in a film festival.
"It's a murder movie, and I got the part of the mean girl at school," she said. "There's no pay for it, but it's good because I will get a reel from it and that can go online on my profile. That's really good to have, because agents don't have to hear me, they can just look at that."
Taylor sang the same Italian song in an audition to attend Davidson Fine Arts High School in Augusta next year, and was accepted. But, she said she wants to attend Thomson High School. Since she'll be a sophomore, she's starting to think about her future. But, she doesn't have the details ironed out.
"Whatever I do, I'm going to major in music," she said. "Acting is a side thing, but singing is what I've wanted to do ever since I was little. So, I hope it works out."