Not many high school seniors graduating in the next couple of weeks are certain where their lives will lead them. Some will be going on to college while others plan on working and maybe even getting married. The future, for the most part, is unknown.
For one River Valley High School graduating senior the future is now, and the time has come to embark on a career.
That motivated student would be one Amber Beeson, daughter of Bryce and Lisa of rural Correctionville, an up and comer in the world of modeling.
A peculiar career choice for a farm girl in small town Iowa, Amber took the initiative and grabbed the bull by both horns when she started running down her dream at the young age of 15, which paid off earlier this year when she was awarded runner-up at the Miss Hawaiian Tropic modeling contest in March at the Hard Rock Cafe in Florida.
Following that contest, Amber took part in a photo shoot in the Keys and one of the photos from that shoot landed on the cover of the Key West Models internet magazine for the month of April.
"I never realized how huge the contest was until after the whole thing was over," Amber noted on her trip to the Keys. "The contest was the greatest experience ever. Everyone was so friendly and helpful there. I traveled the furthest to get there and everyone thought it was so cool to get to meet an Iowa country girl. They had a hard time believing I live on a farm. Apparently they think you have to dress in Wranglers, cowboy boots and wear cowboy hats everywhere you go!"
Since the contest, Amber has been offered many other jobs and opportunities to further her modeling career and build her portfolio - which is important because that's what she shows to agencies and photographers to see if they want to use her or not.
Although it's been great to have the many offers for paid and test shoots, Amber is quick to warn the many young girls out there looking into modelling to read contracts carefully and watch for scams.
"A few years ago when I first started, I would always get so frustrated at my parents when we would go to different model scouts," Amber explained. "These so called 'scouts' would try to sucker you into paying for your shoots and I even had some people ask me for as much as $1500 to $2000 just for them to either take my pictures or give me modeling lessons.
"Of course I didn't have a clue and would want to pay that much thinking it would help me get my foot in the door, but my parents refused. They would tell me the same thing over and over again; 'Never pay any money for them to teach you how to model. If a photographer or agency thinks you have the look they need, they'll pay you.'"
Amber also noted that her parents made her be patient and told her she soon would be thankful she didn't spend her money on something she didn't need. "Sure enough, it did happen," Amber said. "Being patient pays off."
Amber started modeling at 15 when an agency out of North Dakota traveled to Sioux City to shoot her. This led to other things such as the contest in Florida, hair product promotions and photo shoots in Illinois, one of which landed her on a postcard for a photographer.
Offers to Amber have included lots of things, but she cited the most interesting as being when she was offered to pose as Daisy Duke with the General Lee in Arkansas to promote a special event. Unfortunately, a sister's wedding interfered with the date.
Although Amber has dreamed of being a model since she was a little kid walking in her mother's high heals down the carpet rug runway she built, she still is realistic about where her career is heading and is cautious not to put all of her eggs in one basket.
"I would love it if my modeling would take off well enough that I could rely on this being my career, but that's having pretty high hopes," she explains. "I would much rather just do it as a job/hobby on the side for now, because you never know when you'll be offered another job. You could get as many as five different jobs in one week, then not get any for the next three months. It's not really something you want to rely on."
Amber does plan on attending college in the fall, but she has yet to determine exactly where she will go.
Amber returns to Florida this month for a photo shoot with different photographers in the Ft. Lauderdale/Key West area and then plans to go back for the next Miss Hawaiian Tropic contest which offers bigger prizes and this time the winner moves on to the over all Miss Hawaiian Tropic contest in Hawaii.
The sky is the limit from there.
Other than modeling, Amber spent a lot of her time in high school, before graduating mid semester, doing dance and gymnastics as well as participating in band, choir, volleyball and drill team. Also a good student, she was a member of the River Valley TAG program and was one of four girls who made it to state in Future Problem Solvers.
Amber has also used her skills on the farm to help her dad break baby calves and show cattle in the summer. She can also be found twirling a whistle as a lifeguard at the Kingsley Pool.
Although Amber keeps herself busy at all times, she always finds time for her family which includes three sisters; Angie (24), Kristin (19) and Kaitlyn (13) and one older brother Shane (23).
For now, Amber has her sites set on walking to the podium during commencement Sunday, May 22, at the River Valley High School gymnasium to receive her diploma.
After that it's back to business as she climbs on a plane the next day for a shoot in Florida.