Stars in Emy's eyes
SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Emel Rasim of Palmerton was one of 25 chosen out of a 1,000 young people who auditioned at the The Talent event in Philadlephia to continue the next phase in Florida. Here she is showing off her official The ID as she prepares for the competition held at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando.
Emel Rasim has stars in her eyes.
Someday, she hopes to see her name in lights.
It is a dream this Palmerton 12-year-old has had for as long as she can remember.
"When I was very young, I would dance a lot and hum. I like to sing so much," says Emel, who likes to be called Emy.
Her mother, Gulnar Rasim, says that ever since Emy got a karaoke machine a few years ago, it seems the microphone is always in her hand. To her and her husband, Reggie, owners of Palmerton Pizza, Emy, is already a star in their eyes.
"She's never been shy. She does these things that make us laugh. She's very funny. And when she sings, she is so emotional. She was singing this one song and it made her cry. She sings so much from the heart," says Gulnar.
Emy and her older sister, Sibel, 16, like to make videos.
"When I come home from a long day in the restaurant, they say, 'Come watch what we made for you' and it takes all the tiredness away," says Gulnar.
Emy tries to emulate her favorite stars on television.
"They seem so outgoing, very spunky. I love that. I want to be like that," says Emy.
Two of her role models are Demi Lovato and Selina Gomez.
"Demi Lovato because she's not afraid to show who she is. I almost always cry when she sings. Her slow songs show how thankful she is for what she has."
Her other role model is Selina Gomez, especially after she read her biography. "She has been through many tough times. She's gentle, very sweet, very nice and knows who she is. I really admire her because she respects her family."
Emy made her informal singing debut in second grade. She asked her teacher, Mrs. Fantasia, if she could get up in front of the class and sing a song. Mrs. Fantasia gave her permission and Emy sang "America the Beautiful" and a song from the hit show "High School Musical."
"When I was done singing, everyone just looked at me. One person started to clap and then my teacher clapped and then everyone else started clapping, too," Emy says.
Everyone told her how good she was.
Those stars were beginning to shine.
Emy's next public performance was in Mrs. Ambrosiano's fourth grade class.
"They gave me a standing ovation! It made me feel so appreciated."
The stars were getting brighter.
Emy performed two songs for her fifth grade class, singing "This is Me" by Demi Lovato and "I Learned From You," a Miley and Billy Ray Cyrus duet. Again, she got a standing ovation.
In fifth grade, Emy volunteered to be in "Talk Show" at school. She sang "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus and it was broadcast all over the school.
"About 100 people told me I was really good," she says proudly.
Now the stars were twinkling like mad.
All she knows is, when she stands up in front of people and sings, she feels like this is what she is meant to do.
A few months ago she was listening to radio station B104 and heard about a The (pronounced Tay) Talent audition being held in Philadelphia for a chance to be on Nickelodeon's hit shows "iCarly" or Disney's "Wizards of Waverly Place."
"I heard it once and called the station and learned it was for the first 200 callers to get into the audition. I called my mom. I was crying. I said, 'Mom, I heard this thing and it's a chance to be a movie star. Please Mom, can I call?'"
Her mother gave her the OK.
"First I got a voice message, then I spoke to a girl who asked for my name, age and other stuff."
Emy was told she would have to call back with her mother present. They did. Then it was a waiting game.
"We were in the car, my mom, my sister and my grandmother, when I got the call that I made it for the audition," says Emy. "I kept screaming and screaming and my sister kept telling me to shut up."
Her mother told her, "Emy, you better strut your stuff."
Sibel and her mom keep telling Emy that she has "the spark" and the talent.
"They say if it's meant to be, it will happen."
On Dec. 5, Emy arrived in Philadelphia at the West End Hotel. She was competing against 999 other kids from ages 5-18 and only 25 would be chosen to go on to the next phase. Emy had to submit a photo, resume with her stats (height-4'5", weight-90 lbs., blue eyes, light brown hair) her signature and write an essay on why she wanted to be in show business.
She remembers writing about being determined to get into show business but if she didn't make it this time, she would continue trying.
Two hours later, Emy and Sibel were in the ladies room washing their hands when Sibel noticed the name tag of the lady next to her. Her name was "Wen."
Sibel turned to Emy and asked her, "Do you know what 'Wen' means in Turkish? It means, 'win.' Emy, that's a sign for you right there."
"I started jumping around and got really excited."
For her audition, Emy had been sent by email a script about a week or more before the audition. It was about an almond chocolate bar and she had to perform it in front of agents, scouts, producers and the other contestants.
"I said one word and couldn't catch my breath. I felt like I couldn't even think. I'm like, 'Whoa, I can't believe this is happening!' I told them I was going to start over, and I did."
One professional said, "Wow! Good job!"
"I felt good about it."
All that remained was to go home and wait to see if she qualified to go on to the next phase being held in Florida.
Monday morning Emy was in Mrs. Hassler's PSSA practice class when an announcement was made on the PA system, asking her to come to the office.
"All the kids were like, 'Ohhhh, maybe you got the Florida thing."
When Emy arrived at the office, her sister and mom were there.
"They were freaking out and I said, 'Did I get it?' and my mom said 'You got it!' I was so excited."
Emy's parents drove her back to Philadelphia and they met with Wen from The. She told Emy that she was beautiful and spunky and has a special spark.
"She told me even though I'm short and not perfect, I have 'something' and she wanted to see me make it."
She asked Emy why she wanted to be in the business.
"I told her it has been my dream for more than five years and I love to entertain people and I know I can be dedicated to the business."
Emy received scripts and practiced, practiced, practiced.
Then it was off to the land of dreams, Walt Disney World, named after a man who encouraged "wishing upon a star." The next round of The Talent auditions was held in March, at the beautiful Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida. Emy was accompanied by her mom, sister and grandmother.
Emy participated in the TV Talent portion where she auditioned for a mock commercial for Limited Too.
In the TV Beauty and modeling portion, she did another mock commercial, this one for Smack Lip Gloss.
"It was fun," Emy says of the experience.
She had to prepare a one-minute monologue. She chose one about her sister taking over her brand new computer.
"It had a lot of attitude. And that's what I've got, a lot of attitude."
For another event, she received a one-line punch line script and had only 20 minutes to memorize it.
For the modeling, she had to walk the runway in a white shirt and jeans, then a swimsuit and a casual outfit.
Emy performed and modeled in front of over 60 industry professionals from all over the country. On the last day, all the participants had to pass out their headshots, Zed cards and resumes to each.
But it wasn't all work and no play.
One night there was a dance with a professional Disney DJ with Disney characters.
"It was so much fun."
Emy even got to meet a few celebrities at the Red Carpet event.
"I was like star struck when I stood next to David DeLuise. I got my picture taken with him and he gave me his autograph."
David DeLuise, actor, director, the youngest son of actor and comedian Dom DeLuise, is currently co-staring as Jerry Russo on the Disney Channel hit series "Wizards of Waverly Place."
But what really sent Emy over the moon was meeting Robert Adamson. He starred as Donnie in the Disney Channel Original Movies, "Princess Protection Program" with Demi Lovato. He also guest starred on Lovato's show, "Sonny With a Chance."
"Oh my gosh! That was big!" gushes Emy. "I met him personally two times. The first time was when I wanted to ask one of the professionals a question and I got to ask him. He hugged me and called me 'Honey.' I was so freaking out!"
The second time was when she was with her family to get an ice cream and they met Robert there. He signed her and her sister's autograph book and was giving her tips and advice for show business.
"I totally forgot the conversation because inside I'm saying 'I love you!' He was so nice!"
Emy will always remember her trip to Florida.
"It was a great experience!"
Her mother agrees. Gulnar has seen such a boost in Emy's self-esteem since the experience.
"It was the best thing that could have happened. Sibel and Emy got really close. Sibel calls herself Emy's manager now. And Emy made a lot of new friends. It's worth every penny we spent to give her this experience," says this proud mother.
Gulnar and Reggie are originally from Bulgaria so Emy can speak Turkish, which really impressed one of the professionals she talked to in Florida.
"She slapped her hand on the table and said, 'You're getting a call back!'" says Emy.
So far, there has not been a "call back." Yet.
"I try not to think about it because it could take months, even years, but I know it will come."
She'd like to attend a performing arts school in the future.
In the meantime, Emy goes about the business of being a happy go-lucky-kid preparing for junior high school. She's going to be getting braces soon, she continues to play basketball, loves hanging out with her friends, shopping and helping her parents in the pizza shop.
"But my heart is set on acting and singing. The word is out that I have talent. I can't wait for what's next!"
Emy's hoping the stars in her eyes may someday lead to a star on a dressing room door with her name on it.