Knox McKay ’14 Featured in Ad During Olympics
Chris Ramey '14, Web Features Editor
August 26, 2012 • 804 views
Filed under News
Many Staples students watched the summer Olympics in London thinking about what it would be like to be a competitor on the world’s largest stage. While most of these viewers sat and awed at the athletes, they may have missed one Staples student who got involved in the event in an atypical sort of way.
Knox McKay ’14 was featured in an AT&T commercial aired during the Olympics that was seen by 200 million people all around the world.
According to McKay, it was, put bluntly, a fairly unique experience.
McKay started modeling and acting in commercials a year and a half ago, walking into Wilhelmina Models, and getting signed on the spot. It’s a challenging job, according to McKay—a job that has her heading into Manhattan three to four times a week after school on the train, going to multiple castings, and riding the train back. She’s usually home by around eight o’clock, which is when she starts her homework. Her teachers though, according to McKay, accept the challenge her calendar demands.
“They are really supportive and let me do my job and be a student,” she says. “I’m just grateful that they’ve been so understanding about my schedule. Their policy has been that as long as I get my work done, there’s no problem.”
But, despite the challenges, McKay says the job has its perks.
“I really love it because I get to travel all over the world—China, Australia, and London so far—I meet a ton of interesting people, and because saying ‘I’m a model’ is a really good icebreaker,” she said.
Why does she do it? “My mom worked as a model for twenty years, and I’m paying for my entire college tuition with the money I’m making.”
An average commercial filming consists of “waking up early, maybe four a.m., getting hair and make-up done—which doesn’t usually take that long because they want us to look natural so that we appeal to the audience the ad is for—and running through what the director wants as many times as it takes for him to be satisfied. It could be four takes, like a Macy’s swimsuit commercial I did, or, in the case of the AT&T commercial, we might do over a thousand takes,” she said.
The AT&T commercial that took a thousand takes was a part of the “My Journey” marketing campaign, in which teenagers are shown setting goals based on U.S. swimmers’ winning times. McKay’s block was based off Rebecca Soni’s time in the two hundred meter breaststroke, in which she got a gold medal for the second Olympics in a row.
“We took over a thousand takes because we had to have a shot for every possible result. I stood at a whiteboard all day, just writing number after number after number,” she said.
McKay sees modeling as a springboard to her dream job—a sports broadcast journalist.
“The modeling and acting in commercials, along with being involved with STN are both things that I think will really serve as a springboard for that as a career,” she said.