They Started in Erie
By Ginny Tonkin GoErie.com staff blogger
They Started in Erie celebrates those successful stars who've lived and started out in our big, little town.   Read more about this blog.
 Phone: 814-870-1915
Posted: August 17th, 2010
Erie’s own Next Top Model

You might recognize this rising star from a magazine fashion spread or the small screen—she made it to the top four in America’s Next Top Model in 2004.

Packing her bags, she left school and moved to the Big Apple for a chance at the top.

Today, she’s living the dream. And if she has her way, you’ll see her on TV again—with an Emmy in hand.

Ann Markley, model and rising actress

Ann Markley, model and rising actress. Photo shot by Justin Macala.

Who’s who: Ann Markley

Why care: Markley made a big splash in 2004, making it all the way to the top four in America’s Next Top Model, Cycle 3. This working girl has made a name for herself in the industry, making magazine covers, ads, and commercial spots, and is gaining notoriety as an actress.

Erie link: Markley attended Mercyhurst College, earning an athletic scholarship playing water polo. With most of her family in Erie, she loves to visit—and with childhood friends all getting married, she says finding excuses to come home are better than ever.

Spotted in Erie: First spotted at an Otters game, Markley was introduced to industry agents at New York’s IMG Models. Although they were interested in the budding model then, Markley refused to move to the big city—a requirement for the industry. She went to college, continuing her modeling interests through The Talent Group in Pittsburgh.

Lucky break: Top Model aired in the fall of 2004. Right after the episode eliminating Markley aired, NYC’s Elite Model Management called, asking to meet with the college senior.

Never looking back: Pulling out of Mercyhurst with two trimesters to go, Markley moved to the Big Apple with only $2,000—and without a job guarantee. But Markley said she’s never looking back. “I have traveled all over the world to different cities to model and have made my way and am still going and don’t plan on stopping.”

See her work: Currently, Markley has ads with Champion, Wheat Thins, and Under Armour.

Sporty Spice: Because so many athletic brands are spending more on advertising, Markley has snagged jobs as the “sporty girl,” getting paid to play soccer outside. Although, she’s truly a swimmer at heart and jokes that she’s “holding her breath” for that water polo job.

Big dreams: Markley has dreamed of acting since she was young, and she is working toward becoming an actress. In January, look for her on the TV show “Lights Out.”

Success is: “Doing what you love and following your heart.  It’s setting a goal in your mind and accomplishing it.”

Water polo zen: Markley plays pick-up water polo with an all-guys team for fun and to keep her sane.

Overcoming pressure: Although the pressure to conform to the industry’s perfect body image is huge, Markley said the way she’s found success is just to be herself. “Being confident is the best image to have,” said Markley. “Just staying positive, focused, and not being willing to accept no for an answer has made me successful.”

Who do you want to see? Let me know at gtonkin@goerie.com.

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