Until recently, Mike Meuret had no idea how talented his 24-year-old daughter, Tiffany Kuenzi, was as an actress, singer and comedian.
He went with his daughter to Florida in January where she competed in the Actors, Models and Talent for Christ competition (AMTC).
More than 12,000 would-be stars from the United States and South Africa were whittled down to 866 who competed in Orlando.
She was the runner-up for the best overall actor and won the Crystal Award in the competition.
“In all honesty, I never realized how talented she was,” Meuret said. “She said she left it in the hands of God. To not be proud would be ridiculous after watching her take second out of that many people in front of judges who are world-famous.”
Meuret said the judges talked about how they were searching for people to be great role models “who aren’t like the Lindsay Lohans and Paris Hiltons of the world. I think they found what they were looking for in Tiffany.”
Since the competition, Kuenzi’s life has become a whirlwind of possibilities.
To pay for her five-weeks at the
New York Conservatory of Dramatic Arts,
Tiffany Kuenzi is selling a CD with five songs,
including I Hate This Town for $10.
It can be purchased at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To see her perform I Hate This Town,
VH1 wants her to try out for Saturday Night Live. She is reading for a movie script and has a possible hit song on YouTube.
Originally planning to sing Crazy, written by Willie Nelson and made famous by Patsy Cline, Kuenzi changed her mind and went with her own song, I Hate This Town.
The agent from Capitol Records told her he loved the song and asked her to call him and remind him that she is the I Hate This Town girl. A representative of EPIC records has talked to her after viewing her YouTube videos.
The movie script she has been asked to read is confidential at this point, but she does say a little discomfort came into play when she learned the part “was about a pothead and I have to smoke fake marijuana.”
An executive from the New York Conservatory of Dramatic Arts offered her a scholarship to attend the prestigious school in June. The school receives 10,000 applications each year and only 100 are accepted.
There were more than 180 agents at the competition that asks contestants to sing, read scenes, do improvisation, make judges laugh, do film auditions, and read for scripts and commercials.
World-renowned director Barry Shapiro told contestants he discovered actress Meagan Fox at the AMTC.
Kuenzi’s comedy scene made one judge laugh so hard he spit out his coffee. The event fit perfectly into Kuenzi’s approach to life, as its mantra is “We’re looking for people looking to be a light in a dark industry.”
More impressive is the fact that out of the 866 contestants, Kuenzi was the only one with no performing background.
“I wasn’t even in choir and they all assume I’ve had a lot of training and am a regular performer in public,” she said laughing.
Before the competition, Kuenzi already had a busy schedule. She helps her father run Pacific Northwest Transmission and Auto Repair in Woodburn; is a big sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters Organization, and mentors a child in reading.
The Silverton resident works with Habitat For Humanity, volunteers with Woodburn Chamber of Commerce, serves as a national spokeswoman for E-Notions (an on-line awareness campaign designed to combat the bullying of children), is a member of Kiwanis, and is active in her church while being happily married to husband, Dustin.
How is her husband taking all this?
“He is super supportive of my efforts and is ready to go to New York, Nashville, Los Angeles, or wherever this takes us,” Kuenzi said. “He is drop-dead gorgeous and doesn’t even know it, but a few of the people talking to me invited him to come to LA and become a model.”
Dustin Kuenzi said his wife’s busy schedule keeps him on his toes.
“With Tiffany, I really don’t know what’s going to happen the next day,” Dustin Kuenzi said. “She’s constantly go, go, goes! It’s like she runs circles around me. I never really know what the plan is, or what’s going on till that day… then I just go with it!
While Dustin Kuenzi is excited for his wife to attend school in New York City this summer, he worries about her being alone.
Even though she’s got a lot on her plate, Dustin Kuenzi said, “She always finds time to take care of me even in her very chaotic lifestyle. I love her very much.”
Kuenzi said her father is her best friend, and along with her late maternal grandmother, Gerrie Kuerschner, has served as the greatest positive influence in her life.
“He’s like the dad to all my friends, and I called him Mad growing up because he was both mother and father.
“My grandmother, who passed away last year, always told me that she would love me until the twelfth of never. She made me promise to pursue this.”
Her grandmother is the subject of a tender song, Grandma’s Lullaby.
What the future holds exactly for this bright, talented and spiritual young lady who grew up singing tunes from The Little Mermaid remains to be seen, but she knows what she hopes for.
“Acting may be fun, but I really do want to sing and be in Nashville. I want to make people smile. There isn’t a greater feeling in the world.”