On a dark night along the Spooky Nights haunted trail, a blood-stained zombie growls at passersby. Folks shriek and scramble to get away. Judging from people’s reactions, 15-year-old Morgan Prewett is convincing in her creepy ghoulishness.
The teen usually draws intense reactions. The spooky disguise hides almond-shaped eyes and a delicate bone structure. Hers is a clean, natural beauty that can convey innocence or sophistication. “Everyone says I’m so good at modeling,” she says modestly.
But when she first stepped out on the fashion runway three years ago, she was a frightened kid. First, she had to balance in a wicked pair of high heels. So before the show, she strapped on the shoes and walked around downtown. Her feet burned, but later on the runway, she managed to keep her balance. Then her fears faded.
Soon she had opportunities for other runway shows, as well as magazine and film shoots. For the Trash and Fashion Show, the homeschooled high school junior wore an offbeat wedding dress made of bubble wrap. And “I got it sold!” she exclaims. “I’m following my dream. When I was little, I watched the Disney channel and wanted to act. And I loved watching girls pose on America’s Next Top Model.”
Her adventure started with one stunning shot taken when she was 12. At the time, she was enrolled at John Casablancas Modeling and Career Center. A friend had taken the photo, experimenting with lighting for a class project. It worked out for both girls — a good grade for her friend and attention on Facebook for Morgan. Photographers called, which lead to modeling prom dresses for Justine magazine and back-to-school-wear for Click magazine. She did freeze modeling for Memphis Fashion Week, too.
“Morgan stands out; you never forget her,” says photographer John Mathis, who used her for a bridal website. “On set, she flips a switch and the role consumes her. She has a level of believability that is stunning.”
When we meet, Morgan sounds like a typical teen, chatting about learning to drive and going to the Delta Fair. Yet she has more commitments than many 15-year-olds. At Indie Acting Studio, she takes lessons from Forrest Pruett. Through class Morgan has met local directors who have cast her in short films; she’s even acted in her first feature film, The Last Earth Girl. Again, a Halloween theme crops up in her work. “I always die in films,” she says with a mischievous grin.
At the studio, I watch Morgan rehearse. As a nanny interviewing for a job, she has to deflect a paper wad hurled by an unruly brat. Her teacher praises her, saying “Morgan was feeling the scene and reacting.” In another, she works on scenes from The Exorcist. “I can do the Exorcist voice for you,” she offers. I decline; though I’m sure that she would do it well — too well, in fact.
With paychecks coming in, Morgan has opened her own bank account. She’s up at 4:30 a.m. each morning, helping out at her mom’s restaurant. Lisa Prewett is a partner in The Cottage, and for now, the teen works as a cashier. Currently, her mom is her business manager. The two have discussed making a move next year to New York or Los Angeles.
Yet there are still unknowns. At 5 feet 7 ½ inches, Morgan is hoping for one last growth spurt. “I was told that to model in New York, I’d need to be 5 feet 9 and lose a few inches in the hips. Initially, I was upset about it. But I want to model, so I’ll try to exercise and stay fit.” The teen enchants, even while wearing a plastic wedding dress. We’re betting she finds a way to stand out.
Morgan will model for Tied In A Bow’s concept shoot, “Phantom of the Opera,” the story of the Phantom told through fashion.