(SALEM) - Every girl dreams of being on television at some time in her life, but for Stephanie Goerres, this dream will become a reality in May when TLC launches its new reality show, "Tattoo School."
The Salem Leader reports, Goerres, a 2009 graduate of Salem High School, spent March 3-18 in Shreveport, La. filming the series that details the process of learning how to do tattoos under the tutelage of Dr. Bill Pogue, owner of "The World's Only Tattoo School."
Goerres, who has always been interested in tattooing, happened to apply to "The World's Only Tattoo School" at just the right time. While the school runs two-week seminars throughout the year, at this particular time, the school had partnered up with World of Wonder Productions who produced other reality shows, such as "Rock of Love."
After submitting samples of her artwork, Goerres had to do a Skype interview with the casting director of the show. "He said that I was just what they were looking for, " Goerres said, "but he said the final decision was up to the producer." Even though there was no guarantee she would be chosen for the cast, the casting director immediately faxed release forms to her. He told her it would probably be a week before she would know if she made the cut.
By Friday of the next week, Goerres was notified that she was a finalist, but it would be another week before she would know if she should start packing her bags to travel to Shreveport. The call came early the next week, letting her know that she'd been chosen. Twelve people were chosen to receive scholarships which paid the $5,600 tuition cost to go to the school. The only thing Goerres would be responsible for was her transportation to and from Louisiana. With such short notice, plane ticket prices were astronomical. Goerres' mother and stepfather, Susan and Jerry Prater, agreed to drive her to Louisiana.
They planned to leave for Shreveport on March 2, but with the tornadoes that ripped through Southern Indiana, they didn't get started until early on March 3. Goerres and her family drove straight through to Shreveport, arriving about 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning after being stuck on the interstate for two hours in Arkansas because of a traffic accident that had occurred, which re-routed them and delayed their arrival time.
"Mom helped me carry my bags up to my room, kissed me goodbye and told me she'd see me in two weeks, then she and Dad started driving back to Indiana," Goerres said. She said her parents arrived back home about 10 p.m. Sunday night.
On her first day in Shreveport, Goerres spent most of the day at the Holiday Inn where the other cast members were also staying, although she wasn't able to meet anyone until the first day of classes on Monday. That Sunday, she had a photo shoot and did her preliminary interviews with the film crew. Goerres said that interviews that day were intense. "They asked me questions that they knew were going to make me cry. When I got upset, they just kept on filming because they wanted to capture my emotions. I asked them for a Kleenex and they just looked at me," Goerres remarked.
"Stephanie called me as we were on our way home, in tears. She was upset that she had cried on camera, and was worried about how they would edit her remarks together," said Susan Prater. "I told her that she knew going into this that reality television was anything but real, and that she should just enjoy the experience."
After the first day of classes on Monday, Goerres felt better. "I knew by the end of the first day that I could draw a rose better than anyone else," she laughed. Students went to class every day, and were doing tattoos on patrons in Pogue's shop by the second week. "It was strange having a microphone taped to me every day and a camera in my face, but after a while I just learned to ignore it."
More than anything, Goerres said the trip was a collection of learning experiences. "There is nothing real about reality television," she said. "Whenever Bill (Pogue) would do critiques on our artwork, it wouldn't be his words. It would be what the producer wanted him to say. I wish that I could be in a room with everyone when this show airs so that I could tell them what was really happening at the time."
Each of the 12 scholarship winners will have an episode that is all about their experience at the World's Only Tattoo School, and Goerres says that editing will make it appear that they are all there at different times. She will most likely appear in another student's segment because he tattooed her during filming, but her face won't be shown. Goerres had to sign confidentiality agreements and she can't reveal the outcome or winners of the "Golden Gun" until after the series airs.
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