Local girl appears in upcoming Adam Sandler film

By Julie Fann

Keeping your dreams alive may not be easy, but one local girl isn't afraid of the struggle.
   Daphne Wilson, a Unaka High School sophomore who has dared to dream large since she was small, is on her way toward making her dreams reality.
   "I've always thought that, if you can dream it, you can do it, and I think that if it's something that you want, you should go for it. I'm gonna go for it, and if nothing ever happens or comes of it, then I know that I've tried," Wilson said.
   What has this small town girl achieved? She recently returned from the Big Apple, where she played an extra in Adam Sandler's new film, "Anger Management".
   Her big dream, however, is to be a Vogue model.
   From whence do such large dreams come? According to Daphne, they come from being overshadowed by an athletic brother. She was determined to find something that belonged only to her.
   "I watched the models on E walking down the runway, and I wanted to do that, so I started going to model searches that I heard about on the radio," she said.
   That was when Daphne was a mere 11 years old. Later, she heard about a modeling school in Knoxville named Barbizon, and, every other weekend for three months, she attended the program, receiving intensive training for runway modeling.
   "I graduated. Then they took us to a convention in Hollywood, which was neat. But when I got back from that, I just didn't feel like I was getting the representation I needed," she said.
   Daphne and her mother began looking for an agent who could help her develop and maintain contacts with those who might move her closer toward her goal.
   As a result, she began receiving tutelage and promotional assistance from the Brenda Wilson Modeling and Talent Agency located in Kingsport, which she said has been helpful in her pursuit of "getting connected" in the modeling world.
   Both Daphne and her mother lauded Brenda Wilson's knowledge and talent.
   "I went up to New York with her my first time for five days, just enough to get the feel of it when I was 13. Every time I went up, I would get my foot in the door with more agencies. Then this last year, I went up for a whole month," Wilson said.
   During her month-long stay in New York City, Daphne shared a three bedroom apartment with 10 other aspiring models in Tribeca, one of the city's trendiest, artistic districts.
   According to Daphne's mother, Lisa, the girls learned a lot about independence during the time they lived together.
   "They had to work together to make life go. They had to learn to do their own laundry, pick up for themselves, cook for themselves. And they had to keep up with each other's schedules since they weren't allowed to go out in the city alone," Lisa said.
   While in New York, aside from appearing in "Anger Management", Daphne met with modeling agent Luiz Mattos, from Brazil. She also attended the May Day celebration in the city and visited Ground Zero.
   "It was unbelievable. I was in awe. There was nothing there, and it was stunning because I had just been up there the year before and seen the buildings, and then to go back there and for them to be gone. It was just terrible," Wilson said.
   Achieving the "big time" in modeling, though, will take time, according to those who advise Daphne. "They tell me I need to get a little bit taller and get rid of the braces," she said.
   A sensitive, motivated teenager, Daphne has also appeared as an extra in an episode of "The Education of Max Bickford", starring Richard Dreyfuss. She also achieved a role in a Japanese documentary titled "The Kennedy Family Project".
   According to her mother, keeping Daphne beautiful is constant work. To save money, she has taken many pictures of her daughter, helping to develop a portfolio that reveals Daphne's versatility and depth.
   "She won a fashion show in Hilton Head wearing a second-hand dress I bought at a second-and store," she said. "You learn to have an eye for what will work."
   Daphne won first place in the runway competition at the Models of the South Convention in Hilton Head, S.C. in 2001, where she was one of more than 100 other models.
   In the near future, Daphne will appear at a fashion show for Wiseman's on Oct. 5. In November, she will again attend the Models of the South Convention in Hilton Head.