Friday, October 03, 2008

"Braniac" to competitive skater in six weeks flat!

Meet Whitney Jo Lawson. This story is kind of incredible and I can't wait to see it on MTV this Sunday on the show "MADE." I just love this show...sometimes it's kind of cheesy but I can't help it...I love it!

This young lady who is a Senior at Fairfield High School in Cincinnati, and she's smart! She leaves after first period and drives to Miami University's Hamilton campus, where she's taking 17 credit hours. She returns late in the afternoon to tutor math students and practice her role in "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Talk about a full plate.

But what does this have to do with figure skating? When things weren't so hectic last summer, a two-person MTV crew chronicled her efforts to become a singles and pairs skater by training with Lauren Shmalo, a top skater with the Queen City Figure Skating Club. Most of the hour episode shows her struggle to stay on her skates. She chose figure skating as a tribute to her mother, Deborah, who died of breast cancer in 2001. Lawson had taken skating lessons at age 5 for about a month, but had to quit when her mother began chemotherapy. She remembers sitting on her mother's bed watching figure-skating on TV.

"I didn't pick something I thought would be easy. I like a challenge," says Lawson. "I thought this was the perfect way to fulfill a dream for her."

In late July, MTV flew Lawson to Los Angeles to meet one of her idols, Sasha Cohen.

"This is one of the most unique and amazing experiences ever, to accomplish something you didn't think you could," Lawson says.

"I didn't do it for the national TV publicity, but so that people would see I'm not just the smart girl sitting in the corner doing homework. I want them to see who I really am. I'm funny. I have a fun side.

"I'm more graceful now, and I'm more confident in myself, and feeling beautiful. That's pretty cool."

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