How This Amish Girl Had a Drastically Unexpected Turn in Life
1. Growing Up Amish
Kate Stoltz, born Kate Stoltzfus, graced this world on January, 1991 as the middle child of seven. She was raised in rural Myerstown, Pennsylvania by a strict and devout Amish family and has over 300 cousins and step-cousins residing all over the U.S.
With her father acting as bishop in the local church, Stoltz and her family chose to forego the traditional comforts associated with the modern world and focused more on family and God. This meant that Stoltz’s exposure to cars, electricity, telephones, and clothing was very limited.
2. A Day in the Life
Stoltz would kick start her morning by going out to feed the cows before school. “After school I’d take care of the calves and make dinner for the family and spend about six hours at a time just out in the fields raking hay,” remembers Stoltz.
As pastoral things go, she also spent her time learning how to sew dresses, smocks, and bonnets at the age of nine for family and charity events, which would later prove to serve her well in more ways than she could have ever imagined. To learn more about the drastic change in her life, read on.
3. Getting an Education
Seeing that Amish communities embrace a simple life, Amish children are sent off to school up until eighth grade, after which they focus on producing large families dedicated to tending the land and committing to a God-fearing life.
Stoltz was fortunate enough to continue her schooling career beyond the eighth grade, but she knew that she would never have the opportunity to go to college to pursue a tertiary education. Little did she know how wrong she was!
4. Typical Teenage Antics?
Growing up, Stoltz kept a secret radio on which she would listen to Eminem all the time. She reminisces: “I first listened to music when I was about 13 or 14, but I was listening to music that was from the 1990s because I would listen to my older brothers’ and sisters’ music. They were a little older than me and I didn’t really understand pop culture until I left.”
Stoltz also had a lot of catching up to do on music, movies, and TV shows. Despite her growing up with no internet and limited technology, she said that she had no issues catching up with current technological trends. She stumbled across Facebook a year after she bought her first cell phone when she was 16. “My friends and I got a family plan and all got cell phones together. We had an older sibling sign the contract for us, and we all used money from our jobs.”
5. TV Stardom
In 2012, Stoltz became a star on the TLC reality TV show “Breaking Amish.” The show was launched in 2002 and followed Amish and Mennonite youngsters as they leave home to pursue dreams and get a first taste of the modern life in New York.
On the show Stoltz revealed it all: “I always knew that there was a culture outside the one that I grew up in. It just slowly seeped into my life. We would go shopping for groceries at the same supermarkets that everybody else did. I would see people driving cars, dressing differently. We saw the people that weren’t in the community as worldly and living a lifestyle that isn’t necessarily a good thing.” Could Stoltz return to her community after tasting the modern world?
6. At a Crossroads
During Season 1 of “Breakish Amish”, Stoltz revealed that the Amish community kind of brainwashes the members of the community: “It’s kind of like brainwashing. We didn’t really understand that there’s nothing wrong with driving a car, listening to the radio, or living somewhere else from where you grew up in. We lived in a very warped and different community that everyone else does.”
Out of all the cast members, Stoltz was the only one who chose not to return to her Amish way of life and instead moved to New York when she was 21. But what exactly gave her the guts to take the big leap and move to the Big Apple?
7. It’s Not All Smocks and Bonnets
During the show, “Breaking Amish,” Stoltz also had some good things to say about her upbringing when she emphasized that there are lots of misconceptions the general public has about the Amish community. When people hear the word Amish, the first thing that comes to mind is people living on an isolated farm barred away from the rest of the world. She said: “We have property just like everybody else does. Our neighbors could be Catholic or Jewish or any religion. We’re not living together on one farm or one fenced off area.”
Stoltz went on to explain that some people assume that teenagers in an Amish community can move out of the house, but that they actually still live with their parents. “The only things that change is that they have a little bit more say about how they can dress. They’re not allowed to go out and get cars, but they can do that because they’re teenagers and they want to rebel. They’re also allowed to meet up with their friends every weekend. That’s usually at a friend’s parents’ house or under parental supervision, not just wherever they want to,” she emphasized. But was she going to rebel further against her family’s beliefs?
8. From Carts to Cabs
After the small screen, Stoltz’s life changed overnight. The star of “Breaking Amish” caught the attention of Major Model Management, one of New York’s top modeling agencies, for her good looks and drop dead gorgeous figure, and she was immediately signed by the U.S. and European-based agency.
She had no desire whatsoever to return to her Amish life and landed her first photoshoot for the Spiegel catalog and began to get more and more modeling jobs. However, things wouldn’t stop there.
9. The Amish Model’s First Major Modeling Job
Direct marketing company, Spiegel maintained their affinity for Stoltz even after featuring her for a retro catalog. She appeared extensively in the magazine’s 2013 catalog donning some sophisticated but sexy women’s wear.
Making the pages of the Spiegel catalog was a big deal for Stoltz because fame and a hot bod are not the only determining factors to land one a spot in the catalog. Stoltz exhibited an air of sophistication besides for her gorgeous figure and her recent rise in fame. After that, Stoltz’s modeling jobs just kept on coming, and they were getting more and more provocative.
10. A Lingerie Model in the Making
Soon after the Spiegel catalog, the Amish beauty got her first lingerie gig for the men’s magazine, “Maxim.” After that first gig, Stoltz appeared in many lingerie shoots slipping on loads of sexy and sultry bedroom pieces. Besides for lingerie, she was also chosen to model clothes and items for interesting commercials.
With no desire to return to the Amish way of life at the rate she was going, Stoltz made lots of plans for future ventures and planned to appear in the second TLC spinoff series called “Return to Amish.” But how did her parents react to their daughter’s new, provocative venture?
11. Becoming a Lingerie Model
“If I were to show my father face to face a lingerie picture that I took he would probably burn it and tell me that I’m going to hell,” Kate Stoltz told the Daily Mail. She went on to explain that before her unexpected career change, she was forbidden to even be photographed fully clad in a smock and bonnet.
Stoltz went on to explain: “the Amish think that modeling is one of the worst things a woman can do, they see it as flaunting your body and being vain,” however, the Amish culture has nothing against donning some lingerie. So where does Stoltz fit into all of this, and how did her dress code change from ankle-length smocks to smoking hot attire?
12. Reaching for the Stars
By Season 2 of “Breaking Amish,” Stoltz appeared to be a fully-fledged fashion and lingerie model, so much so, that she had to leave the cast of the reality show behind in order to go to modeling shoot in Miami.
Stoltz featured in the “New York Post” for the story covering the 100th anniversary of the brassiere. She made headlines when she appeared on the pages of “Maxim” in a sexy spread in the man candy periodical July/August 2013 issue. The Amish model’s dreams just got bigger and bigger, but she would face some obstacles.
13. Dream Big, Girl
The week before Stoltz left for New York she started doubting herself and wondered if it was really what she wanted to do. “I never pictured myself as someone that would go on TV. I never wanted to be part of that world. I thought I’ve always wanted to experience New York City and this is my chance to do it,” she stated. A year earlier, Stoltz never thought she would become a lingerie model. “I don’t know if I’ve become more comfortable with myself or with the idea,” she relates.
Stoltz had to keep reminding herself that the reason she joined the show “Breaking Amish,” was to become a model. “I want to be on a billboard in the middle of Times Square and I want to be the first person in my family to ever have a college education,” she said. But what challenges did the young Amish model face?
14. The Challenges and Fears
Hot and single, Stoltz slowly settled into the fast-paced reality of New York and the modern world. It didn’t take her too long to get to grips with all her social networking platforms and iPhone applications, where she shares modeling snaps with fans.
This doesn’t mean that Stoltz didn’t experience lots of doubts and fears. She told HNGN: “It wasn’t easy at first. I absolutely detested New York when I first stepped inside. I never expected to stay.” She went on to say “I actually found it hard to get used to New York; it’s loud and there’s so many people.” It wasn’t just the challenges; with all the attention came disclosure on personal information that Stoltz would rather not have shared with the world.
15. Everyone Has a Secret
Miss Stoltz broke the strict rules of her Amish faith long before she landed her lingerie modeling gigs. During “Breaking Amish,” Stoltz had to admit certain things she did during her life that she isn’t so proud of.
Before the show, Stoltz was arrested for DUI charges. As she emphasized in her interview with the “Daily Mail,” the Amish people aren’t that secluded and an average teenager’s and adolescent’s running in with the law isn’t so far-fetched. That wasn’t the only secret she kept hidden!
16. Some More Secrets
Several blogs also revealed that the Amish model had submitted several images to modeling agencies before she left the Amish community. Online records reveal that she posted an image on exploretalent.com in 2010 in order to enter a Best Smile competition. This was all at odds with the Amish stance on photographs and modeling.
It seems that modeling became second nature to her, but Stoltz didn’t exactly want her family to know what she was up to while she still lived under their watch with the strict Amish rules and code of ethics. But how did they react when they finally found out?
17. The Amish Stance on Lingerie
In a recent interview, Stoltz said that the Amish culture might not approve of women baring their skin publicly, but they actually don’t have anything against sporting some sexy lingerie. She even reminisced about the ‘Sisters Day’ her mother, sisters, and aunts used to enjoy now and then.
She recalled how much fun these days were, full of joking and laughing, and something her aunt said stuck in her mind: “My aunt once made a joke, ‘Well we have to cover up, but we wear pretty lingerie to make up for it.’ Not every woman will wear pretty lingerie, but they are allowed to and they do wear nice lingerie. It’s the way of making them feel beautiful.” Does this mean her family would accept her lingerie modeling gigs?
18. A New Look
The Amish model wasn’t going to let her own flaws hold her back. After Stoltz made up her mind about becoming a model and making a name for herself, she decided to do anything possible to make it happen, even if it meant to go against her family and community’s traditional views.
This included changing her own physical appearance. In May, 2015, the formerly Amish model underwent her most dramatic adjustment yet– a nose job. In the Amish community, she would have never gotten plastic surgery as they only get surgery if it is crucial to their health.
19. Model Galore
Stoltz continued to gain popularity in the modeling industry with continued appearances in “Spiegel” and “Maxim” constantly developing her portfolio and connections, but she wasn’t about to stop just there.
She also modeled in fashion shows across New York City and other shows across the country with famous fashion designers like Cesar Galdino and Cynthia Rowley. This exposure led to many other important business and modeling ventures in her career. To find out what those are, read on.
20. Spreading Her Wings
Stoltz wasn’t just having success in the modeling industry; she also started moving up the social scene ladder in New York City. The young Amish model was invited to events where she would mingle with super famous people and models.
As her star power grew, Stoltz started to get invited to high profile red carpet events, with celebrities such as Adriana Lima, Alessandra Amborsio and Paris Hilton. The young model even uploaded several photos from the event to her personal Facebook page, saying: “Had the time of my life at my first red carpet event. Admit the cameras flashing were a little overwhelming! Paris Hilton was the deejay. Can’t wait to do it again tonight!!” Clearly, her former life was becoming a thing of the past.
21. Social Media Exposure
At the Leather & Laces party Stoltz attended, she posted a photo on Facebook captioned “Justin Bieber skateboarding at the Leather and Laces party on Saturday night. What an amazing event!” The photograph featured a blurry cell phone image of Biebs hoping on his skateboard.
Stoltz would continue to defy the odds of her Amish upbringing and become more and more famous within the modeling industry, landing many interviews and jobs. In other words, her ready-to- mingle attitude landed her lots of exposure and jobs. So what else was to come?
22. What Happened To Her Family?
Stoltz had no intention of returning back to Pennsylvania and her Amish community. Her family and community didn’t take well to her modeling career. “I mean my dad’s a minister in the church, he of course does not approve but then again he also knows that he can’t control my life,” she declared.
She made a difficult decision leaving her family and her old life behind to pursue her dream of becoming a model. Does that mean that her family has completely cut her off because of her career and lifestyle choices?
23. Unconditional Love
Although Stoltz’s parents aren’t particularly supportive of her career, she says they still have a close relationship and that she still goes to visit once or twice a year. During an interview she expressed that “The thing about knowing that my parents don’t support my career is that I know they’ll they still support me, and that’s the most important thing.”
Stoltz also stated” “They’re always welcoming me back home, so I’m very fortunate. Even people outside of the Amish community aren’t welcomed back home because their parents don’t approve of them: either they are pursuing careers that their parents don’t approve of, or they changed religions or something like that. I’m not the only one that has parents that really don’t approve of my career, but I’m fortunate enough to have parents that welcome me back home no matter what. I couldn’t ask for better parents or better brothers and sisters.”
24. Furthering Her Education
Stoltz became the first member of her family to pursue a tertiary education. Her passion for modeling actually began because of her love for making clothes when she was younger. She learned how to sew at the tender age of nine. Living in New York City gave her the opportunity to study to be fashion designer.
She set a new goal to learn everything she could about garment construction and couture fashion design. In 2015, Stoltz was accepted into the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City as a student majoring in fashion design. “Even though I have 15 years of sewing experience, there’s so much more that I want to learn about the fashion industry. I’m a full time student at FIT right now and I love it,” she told HNGN.
25. The Fashion Institute of Technology
After being accepted to the Fashion Institute of Technology, Stoltz became an honors student and a Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society member. She dedicated herself to mastering each technique she learned in every single course.
Stoltz enrolled in industry design pattern marking, garment construction, sketching, and other fashion design subjects, but her will to strive for perfection didn’t end just there. What else did Stoltz take on while modeling and studying at the same time?
26. A Fashion Intern
During semester breaks, Stoltz was given the opportunity to work alongside the international fashion designer Cynthia Rowley. She worked as an intern in Rowley’s studio in New York City to hone in on her skills and get more exposure.
Stoltz helped create patterns, collected swatches for new garments, and cut and sewed couture garments for fashion shows. She also assisted with the production at Rowley’s Midtown factory and performed various other tasks that the design team assigned to her. But it didn’t end there.
27. Not Just a Pretty Face
Stoltz dedicated herself to designing and producing local products to encourage fair wages and to eliminate garment waste by heading several small productions. She had a personal desire to minimize her own impact on the earth and wanted to relay that message to others.
Stoltz focused on providing high quality and sustainable clothes for clients that have the smallest environmental impact as possible. Her motto became quality over quantity and she carried this forward onto possibly the biggest deal of her career.
28. The Amish Model’s Own Fashion Line
Stoltz established the Kate Stoltz NYC label. Each of her pieces became one-of-a-kind garments that can be worn years after purchasing them. Her environmental goals were carried through to her personal clothing line.
Stoltz wanted to make everyone conscious customers who can wear her garments with pride and stand out for the incredible quality and design, instead of blending in with everyone else on the streets of New York. But it didn’t end just there.
Stoltz said that she launched her own eponymous line to focus on women’s dresses, quilts, and pillows. She was quoted as saying: “The reason I started my brand is because I see a lot of fast fashion companies selling clothing that only last for a week. You wear it twice, and then it doesn’t look good anymore; it falls apart. My ultimate goal for my brand is to create something that people know they’ll be able to wear for 5 years and it will still look good.”
In 2014, Stoltz was honored the Demiurge Award for her work in fashion design and modeling. This “small town” girl would never have dreamed to succeed like this, but again, Stoltz didn’t stop there.
30. Philanthropic Causes
As part of her website, Stoltz heads several philanthropic causes one of which is Developing Faces. She is the spokeswoman for the charity and joined the Board of Directors in 2015 and travels to Guatemala.
In 2016, Stoltz was named Head of the Event Committee for Developing Faces which provides high quality surgery and care to babies and children that were born with or incurred facial abnormalities. This cause focuses on children from developing countries.
31. Curing the Wanderlust
It must be because of her humble beginnings in Penn, but Stoltz likes to get out there. She is curing her wanderlust by touring the world either for work, volunteering, or leisure. She emphasizes that she isn’t who she was a few years ago and keeps discovering new things about herself.
She documents her travels on her blog and recommends many places to her readers with inviting pictures and stories. She has traveled to Aspen, Bali, The Hamptons, Indonesia, Aruba, and many other places. That’s not all she’s been up to, though.
The Amish model’s website, Kate Stoltz NYC, has many different features to explore, one of which is her blog section. Besides for the travel part, Stoltz writes about her website, her clothes, fashion and style, her personal journey, recipes, and philanthropy efforts.
Her website is just a reflection of how a person can grow and expand further and further if there is passion and dedication. She came from basically nothing, but today she has created her own empire.
33. Her Transformation
“Now that I’m outside of that, I realize the world is so large, and the only thing that matters is who you are and whether or not you’re happy.” Her happiness seems to be extremely important to her professional and spiritual growth.
The young entrepreneur feels like her transformation is a never-ending adventure and that she has much more to learn. She wants to develop herself as much as she can to make up for her lost time growing up in a more simple kind of life where she couldn’t reach her full potential.
34. Where Is Stoltz Today?
Despite the success, Stoltz hasn’t forgotten where she comes from. She remains in touch with her Amish family and visits them, especially making time for them during her jam-packed schedule. After all, it is the fact that she was Amish that led her to stardom.
Most information about Stoltz can be found on her website where she posts updates and sells her high quality couture fashion. She constantly blogs and lets the public in on her business and personal undertakings.
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