He was Mr. Oakcrest in 2012, with a combination of funny Youtube videos and singing performances. Now John Berchtold, 19, of Laureldale in Hamilton Township, is one of six people picked from hundreds of auditioners across the U.S. in ABC's online "Make Me a Star" contest.
"The winner gets $10,000, a six-month contract with ABC, and the opportunity to land a TV show," he said. "It's a real shot at the acting industry."
The rising sophomore at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia is studying film production. He stumbled across the contest online, he said.
Berchtold already has 8,000 followers and a half-million hits for his daily Youtube videos, which he's been doing for three years, he said.
The contest required entrants to read from one of the scripts ABC provided and submit a video online. Berchtold chose a comedy routine centered around people in a coffee shop, he said.
Girlfriend Casey Bailey, 19, of Mullica Township, read the offscreen lines of two others in the scene, he said. Bailey is a student at Atlantic Cape Community College who has a paid internship as third host and producer of the "Mike & Diane Show" on WAVY 95.1.
Egg Harbor Township miss hopes to win
Le'Keisha Fambro, 18, of Egg Harbor Township, is competing today and Monday in the National American Miss New Jersey pageant in East Brunswick, Middlesex County.
Fambro is active in choir, track and basketball, and was a National Honor Society member in high school, she said.
A rising sophomore at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Va., she is the daughter of Walter and Carol Fambro.
Ocean City poet has new book
Ocean City's publicist Mark Soifer, 81, has published his eighth book of poetry, "A Nation of Things." Its 121 poems explore the relationship between people and inanimate objects, he said.
The book is illustrated by Jerry Lukas, of Vineland. The cover art is by the poet's twin brother, Jesse, of Philadelphia.
Soifer has been published in many magazines, including Reader's Digest and the "Pup Tent Poets" column of Stars and Stripes.
"A Nation of Things" is available for $9.95 at Sun Rose Words and Music, 756 Asbury Ave. in Ocean City and on Amazon. Call 609-364-4010.