Girls Inc. trio to appear in ads

June 23, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

Three local "strong, smart and bold" girls got a lesson on lights, camera and action while filming a series of commercials for the national Girls Inc. organization last month.

Girls Inc. of Washington County members Kierstein Peacock, 11, Cassidy Thompson-Colla, 11, and Brittany Gibson, 9, were chosen to star in a series of the organization's "Tell Me" advertisements, which show 17 Girls Inc. members from across the country speaking to adults about the issues important to them and the messages they need to hear, said Amy Witmer, director of development for Girls Inc. of Washington County.

Witmer said 276 Girls Inc. members from across the country auditioned for the commercials, which will air in late August.

Girls Inc., a national nonprofit organization, works to "inspire all girls to be strong, smart and bold," Witmer said.

The girls spent two 12-hour days filming the commercials just outside New York City.


They also spent four days taking in the sights of the Big Apple, including the Empire State Building, Toys R Us, the World Trade Center site and the Statue of Liberty, with the national organization picking up the tab, she said.

Kierstein, who will be a sixth-grader at Western Heights Middle School in the fall, was chosen to star in a commercial, during which she played with toads and worms.

"I had to hold a frog," she said, rolling her eyes dramatically.

She remembered her lines because she was asked to say them over and over.

"Tell me snakes and spiders and worms are interesting," she said quickly. "Tell me getting my hands dirty is fun."

Kierstein said she kept falling off the swing set.

"I was like 'OK, cut,'" she said.

Brittany, who will be a fourth-grader at Fountaindale Elementary School in the fall, and Cassidy, who will be a sixth-grader at Western Heights Middle School in the fall, were filmed playing kickball.

"Everybody was, like, 'don't look at the camera,'" Brittany said. "It was hard because the camera was in our face all the time."

Cassidy said doing the voice-overs got boring because she was in the studio doing them for 20 minutes.

Her lines were, "Tell me to take risks. Tell me that a skinned knee is an athlete's badge of courage. Tell me that when I fall, to get back up and try again."

Kierstein and Brittany chimed in, "Tell me. Tell me. Tell me."

But the repetitiveness of being actresses didn't make the girls turn up their noses at the perks of the profession.

They rode in a limousine after taking in "The Lion King" on Broadway. Kierstein mapped out the layout of the limo's back seat.

She also mapped out the girls' hotel room, equipped with two queen-sized beds, two bathrooms and a pullout couch.

"It was like a house," she said.

After tasting the celebrity life, the local commercial starlets have a few words of advice for aspiring young actresses: Don't mix Pop Rox in Sprite martinis.

They almost had perfected their martini concoction of Sprite, ginger ale and gummy worms before they dropped in some mouth-popping Pop Rox.

Kierstein made a grossed-out face.

But celebrity also didn't spoil the girls, who saw plenty of poverty on the streets of New York.

Witmer said the girls discussed how there are people less fortunate than they are.

But the larger lesson came from the reinforcement found in the lines the girls had to repeat so many times.

Cassidy said her take on the commercials is that, "I'm the person I'm going to be and you should support that."

She wants to be a forensic scientist when she grows up, or at least play one on television. Brittany and Kierstein want to be wrestlers.

The Herald-Mail Articles