Monday, February 23, 2009

SCPA students prepare to get first taste of fame

By John Kiesewetter • • February 22, 2009

After six months of filming, MTV's new reality series finally became very real to School for Creative & Performing Arts students Saturday.


About a dozen students spent the day posing for publicity shots for the new one-hour series premiering March 19. They return to the Over-the-Rhine school today for MTV promotional videos.

"Now it's real. We're very excited about it," says Jasmine White-Killins, 18, a senior dance major from the West End.

MTV cameras have been following SCPA students since August shooting a real-life "Fame," the 1980 fictional movie about New York performing arts students pursuing their dreams.

Nick Lachey - singer, reality TV star and 1992 SCPA grad - pitched the concept to MTV two years ago. He's an executive producer on the show, which still doesn't have a title, says a MTV publicist monitoring the photo shoot Saturday.

"I always wanted to be on MTV someday, but I didn't think it would happen this soon. I can't believe it," says Malik Kitchen, 17, from Walnut Hills, who wants to dance and choreograph on Broadway.

The 10-week series running through May will focus on five students: Kitchen; White-Killins; Tyler Nelson, 18, a junior dance major from Mount Auburn; Shaakira Sargent, 17, a senior dance major from Westwood; and Mia Carruthers, 17, a senior instrumental and vocal music major from Mount Lookout.

Other students will appear in supporting roles, including Nelson's brother, Chris Lucas, 12, an SCPA seventh-grader.

"This is a dream come true for all of these kids, but especially for a singer-songwriter who wants to get her music out there," says Carruthers, whose family moved into the city from West Chester Township so she could attend SCPA.

"I feel like I'm in a dream, and I'll wake up someday and they (the TV cameras) will be gone," she says.

Actually, MTV's cameras will be around through graduation in May, Lachey has said. He wants to chronicle the entire school year for MTV, which signed a contract with Cincinnati Public Schools in December 2007. MTV is paying $10,000 for each episode, the contract says.

SCPA's soon-to-be TV stars say they can't fathom being seen by 96.3 million MTV homes.

"I try not to think about it a lot" White-Killins says. "It kind of makes me nervous."