She was indecisive about trying out, but at the last minute she grabbed an application, filled it out, and turned it in. Two weeks later she received a phone call that they were interested and wanted to perform casting interviews as soon as possible. Next came the long phone conversations and a camera crew following her around for two days straight. After an endless amount of tests and interviews, Anderson University freshman Kaitlin Smith was chosen for MTV’s hit reality television show, Made.
Kaitlin was a senior at Mount Vernon High School when MTV arrived to get students to apply for the show. Made has had 10 successful seasons and is still proving to young viewers that dreams really can come true with commitment, hard work, and some extra help from MTV and the Made coaches.
[PHOTO: Kaitlin Smith and her Made coach Malcolm McCassy.]
Smith wanted to achieve something that, she thought, was out of reach. By having a “girly girl” reputation, she didn’t think anyone would take her seriously. Smith was ready to prove to everyone that she could get a little dirty and play it rough. She was ready to be made into a motocross racer.
“I’m pretty girly. I love doing my hair, nails, and makeup, but I have a not-girly side to me as well,” said Kaitlin. “I love tubing, wake boarding, skiing, and had never tried motocross before, and knew it would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I wasn’t scared about doing it or being on the show at all.”
The hardest part for Smith was learning how to use the clutch and how the bike worked. She had to keep telling herself “go faster” and “you won’t crash,” over and over again.
Before Kaitlin was picked for the show, her parents were a little concerned with the time commitment and how the episode could portray their daughter. “Her father and I had never heard of the show nor had seen anything on MTV that had much of a positive image,” said Smith’s mother, Andrea. “We watched several episodes before agreeing to let her do it. We have always encouraged Kaitlin to pursue her dreams, but we felt motocross was a little out of her league.”
For Kaitlin’s parents, the biggest concern was her safety and how MTV would edit over 700 hours worth of film. “I was very surprised that they included the clip of her father and I praying with Kaitlin before her final race. I didn’t expect them to include that,” said Andrea.
[PHOTO: Kaitlin Smith at the starting line with Malcolm McCassy before the motocross race at Wild Cat Creek in Rossville, Ind.]
Having every day documented from the moment you wake up, until you go to bed for several weeks in a row may seem tiring and stressful, but Smith found it very entertaining. “It was really fun. I got out of class sometimes but also got behind on homework. There were times when the camera crew wouldn’t leave our house until midnight, so my mom started making them leave no later than 11 p.m. so I would have time to fit in my studies,” she said.
People tend to wonder how real reality television works. Is it scripted? Are they telling them what to say or how to go about their normal everyday lives on camera? “It’s not scripted, but they manipulate your words and cut out bits and pieces of what you say for more dramatization,” said Smith. “It’s like they ask you one question in several different ways until they get the answer they want to hear. They also made my coach Malcolm McCassy look more intimidating on camera than he really is.”
McCassy is the president and vice president of marketing for Ethika & FMF Racing in Orange County, Calif. He took several weeks of his time to train Kaitlin.
“At first I went into this laughing and ready to have fun, but once I showed up in Greenfield, Ind., I realized how serious this was,” said McCassy. “Her safety was in my hands and the challenge became more intense with her school schedule and the biggest rainfall that Greenfield had seen in almost two decades.”
McCassy enjoyed his time with Kaitlin and was proud to help a girl step out of her comfort zone and accomplish her dream. “She went after her goal, worked hard, didn't give up, and accomplished it,” he said.
Though Kaitlin placed last at one of the biggest motocross races in the Midwest, she jumped a double and achieved her dream. “The girls I raced against had 10 years or more experience on me. I wasn’t expecting to win, just give it everything I had and finish,” she said. “I learned that dedication and perseverance are the keys to accomplishing your goal and this was definitely an experience I will always remember.”
— Laura Overman is a junior from Anderson University, majoring in Mass Communications. Overman is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2009, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the sixth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.