1995 Alumna Reflects on Her Catawba College Experience
December 13, 2007
When she came to Catawba, Amy Jordan '95, a student from Baltimore, Md., loved musical theatre and dance. But after she took just one psychology class on campus during her freshman year, she developed yet another fascination and interest.
Catawba College Professor of History Dr. Charles McAllister says Amy was one of those rare Catawba students who seemed to be able to do it all without sacrificing any of her interests.
Amy majored in psychology, but also spent plenty of time taking music and theatre courses. She almost double majored, but not quite, she says; she ended up one course and a recital shy of a second degree in musical theatre. The flexibility she enjoyed to pursue her different interests at Catawba is what she remembers so well about her college experience and what she credits for helping shape her into the woman she is today.
Now married with two children and a third on the way, Amy makes her home in Orlando, Fla., and stays busy doing film and television, while working part-time at the Disney theme park in the MGM Studio. The part-time job allows her to go to more film and television auditions, she says. She performs as Marion, Indie's girlfriend, in the "Indiana Jones" stunt show. There's a lot of rope swinging, running through fire, and even a 40-foot high fall off a building. She substitutes as Belle in "Beauty and the Beast" show and in the theme park's Christmas show, she performs as a singer, dancer and a stuntwoman.
"It's a fun place to work," she says. "I can live a normal life and have a family and not have to live the gypsy life."
Amy actually met her husband, Brent, while working at the theme park. She had just been handed a heart-breaking rejection after her third call back for the role of Cosette in the national tour of "Les Miserables," but the very next week, she hit the Disney audition and got her job at Disney in Florida. Brent (husband) was playing the role of Indiana Jones at MGM and "we were learning the show for the first time when I met him," Amy recalls.
"People always worry about what they're going to do with the rest of their lives, but it sort of takes care of itself. My husband was a communication arts major and a professional soccer player first, then a stuntman, and now he's a financial advisor for Smith Barney."
Amy says that now that she's a mommy, she's a little smarter and a little more leery of her stunt work. She played Rene Rousso's double in "Big Trouble," falling down steps. She worked in the "Celestine Prophecy," doubling Anna Beth Gish and had role in "Patriotville," a teen flick which was filmed in the North Carolina Mountains, near the South Carolina border, where she took a 45-foot jump off a dam into murky water.
"I stopped jumping off buildings a couple of months ago," she jokes. "I did that until I was nine or ten weeks pregnant and then I stopped."
Although pregnant with the third child not due until the end of January or early February, Amy's staying busy. She recently completed a pregnant modeling shoot in New York City for Expecting Models, a modeling agency which specializes pregnant models and new moms and babies. She says that she "doesn't recommend modeling a bikini when you're six and a half months pregnant," although she did just that.
Following is Amy in her own words on discovering Catawba, giving advice to current students on both her career and on being a mom:
On Discovering Catawba:
I'm originally from Baltimore, Md. And I had never even heard of Catawba. They found me and sent me some literature about their theatre department and auditions. My parents and I drove down for a weekend for an open house and a big theatre performance. We saw a couple of shows, met with some professors and I auditioned for a scholarship in musical theatre. I fell in love with the campus and the small town, although it was not what I thought I wanted initially.
Making Career Plans at Catawba:
My plan initially, after getting the acting bug out of my system, was to use my theatre experience and my psychology degree to work with children with disability and autism – to incorporate all of my interests into dance therapy. I was very involved in the dance program at Catawba. I was a ballet dancer from the time I was five until I was college age.
Advice to Current Students:
Get to know your professors and let them get to know who you really are – they're here to help you make decisions. Pick something that you're passionate about – graduate with a degree and to really find out who you are, who you've become and who you want or strive to be.
In the real world, with careers, what really matters in the end is your character, your work ethic and your drive and just being comfortable with who you are in real life.
On Who She is Today:
I'm Mommy stuntwoman with a psych degree, but my true passion, my true heart and soul will always be theatre. I am so proud of my theatre dorkism. I'm still athletic, and am using my ability and staying fit.
I still have interests in my psychology background, but I'm very involved in theater and I have very different groups of friends – performance friends, academic friends – and I'm very interested in many different things. It makes it easy when you're meeting new people to find something in common – I'm not just a one pony show.
Photography right now is a big interesting hobby for me – real life photo journalism of my children, Julia and Brent, Jr. – capturing great real life photography moments.
On How She is Different Today:
I'm much more comfortable in my own skin – I'm not concerned about what people think of me and if they'll approve of me – I'm who I am and comfortable with who I am and I think people are comfortable with me.
As a wife and mommy, I put my family first. My family is the most precious thing in my life and my children are my proudest accomplishments.
Amy's Favorite Catawba Memories:;
- The lifelong friendships I've made. ;
- Opening nights of any performances that I was in – a big highlight – at Catawba, it was great. ;
- Dr. McAllister invited students up to talk him in his office – my powwows with him – neat moment to have that sort of relationship with a professor. Not even a professor in my major – he took a real interest in the kids – always there with advice or if you had had a bad day. ;
- Homecoming games were fun – choir would always sing "The Star Spangled Banner" – they were great times.
Editor's Note: Amy would love to hear from friends and classmates. Contact her via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.