A Passyunk Square teen takes New York by storm during the 2011 International Model and Talent Association Convention.
On her drive down to the Shore last week, Angela “Chickie” Pagano, 15, was still reeling from everything that had happened in the last few weeks. After attending The International Model and Talent Association Convention in New York City, she had left with multiple awards and was in talks with management firms about representing her.
“My main goal [at the convention] was I wanted to find a manager. I wanted management and John Robert Powers is a great school to attend to prepare for the convention. They have pretty good connections,” Chickie said of the Philly-based model/acting agency and school with whom she worked to prepare for the convention. “I have a lot of other callbacks I’d like to meet [before signing], but right now I think John Robert Powers is really, really great.”
At the convention, Chickie placed in multiple categories, including singing, acting and other entertainment-related competitions. Her proudest accomplishment was a second runner-up finish in the singing competition.
“I came in second runner-up to two boys. I was really happy, but the boys are rare to find so that made sense, and of all the girls, I came in first,” Chickie, who lives at 10th and Federal streets, said.
In her 13- to 15-year-olds division, Chickie estimates there were more than 100 contestants in some of the categories. Of the competitors, only six were selected to perform for talent agents and casting directors in the night’s “showcase” where the awards were given out. Chickie, as one of the six chosen, had the opportunity to show her stuff.
“I think everyone gets excited-nervous. I was not nervous. I’m ready to go and have a great time. It’s what they want. They want to see you’re having a good time,” Chickie, who spent the week in New York City with her mom, Janine, said.
Chickie’s mom and dad, Greg, are her biggest fans, and the aspiring singer/songwriter/actress recognizes her support network and the toll her demanding dream may take on the entire family.
“It’s really hard. I have two other siblings,” the soon-to-be sophomore at Girard Academic Music Program, 2136 Ritner St., said. “Practicing, that’s on a daily basis, at least an hour a day, especially my singing. If you want to be competing with the best, you have to be on top of your game 24/7. You have to be prepared for everything that comes.
“Practice makes perfect. If you put a lot of hard work into something, things will come to you.”
Though she is only 15, Chickie already had a moment of clarity that put her on the path to becoming a singer and actress.
“About four years ago was when I really got into it and got into the singing. I heard somebody my age and she was a friend of mine. She had a demo out at the time and I was really impressed. I went and I cried a little bit because I knew I was that good, but I needed some lessons,” she said. “I started pushing my mom to get me lessons and I just kept begging.”
Since that time, Chickie has committed herself to pursing an entertainment career. She began writing and recording her own music, and people can hear her jams on iTunes.
“I started writing music when I was in sixth grade,” Chickie said. “The album is called ‘Here Comes the Show.’ It came out last year.”
Her singing repertoire also includes belting out the anthem for the Philadelphia Phillies two years ago and being called back two weeks ago during the Phillies-Giants series to lead the crowd in a rousing rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” But her personal taste is a little different than your average game-day fare.
“I’d really like to do film and commercials. For my singing, I really enjoy R&B and blues, pop — kind of like a Lady Gaga or Joss Stone,” Chickie said.
Though she has had success in Philadelphia, Chickie recognizes her career may take her out of the area and this is something she is willing to consider.
“I think it has its pros and cons. I think New York and L.A. are both really awesome cities, larger cities,” she said, “but I am from here, and, in that sense, I don’t want to leave.”
What motivates the Passyunk Square native is a dream to share her gift with the world and if that’s what she is pursuing, there is little that will stop her.
“I’d really love to go on tour, tour the world and just perform. I’d also like to definitely, definitely do a film. If it’s with any celebrity, that’s cool with me,” she said. “This will probably sound corny here, but maybe with Robert Pattinson. I’d also like to work with Meryl Streep, or someone of her caliber. She’s just an amazing actress. But singing-wise I’d probably want to work with Joss Stone and Christina Aguilera — and Lady Gaga.” SPR
Knot on her watch