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AMISH MODEL'S big break; Stunning Kate Stoltzfus tells us how she has rebelled against her strictly religious and plain upbringing for the bright lights, photo sessions and catwalks of New York. She and four other Amish men and women''s lives are the subject of new reality TV show, Breaking Amish...

Byline: WORDS: MELANIE HANCILL

Many young people rebel against their parents and upbringing but few acts of defiance could match that of pretty Kate Stoltzfus.

The stunning 21-year-old has swapped the austere and quiet life of the Amish for the hectic world of a model in New York.

She has shed the plain floor-length dresses, aprons and bonnets for all the latest fashions and the chance to live life by her own rules.

The daughter of an Amish bishop and one of seven children, Kate had a happy, carefree childhood growing up in rural Pennsylvania, without modern conveniences.

Kate says, 'We grew up in the country and were always surrounded by nature. I didn't really miss anything because I didn't know how it was for other people.

'We had a lot of chores. As soon as I was able to hold a mixing spoon I was helping my mum bake in the kitchen.' There was also plenty of rules and a strict dress code. Kate says, 'At home we'd usually wear a big apron that starts at the top of your shoulders and goes to the bottom of your dress.

'Seams in the dresses are supposed to be a certain width too. We make all our own clothes and if the seams are too thin it's thought you are rebelling.' But instead of wanting to be a model daughter she dreamed of being a model. She explains, 'I was probably around 17 when I decided I wanted to leave. I really wanted to wear other things rather than the same old thing every day. I love dressing up and wanted to be able to put together an outfit myself.' She also disagreed with some of the Amish community's regulations.

She says, 'I wanted to do what I thought was right rather than following rules that weren't made for the right reasons.' Kate admits that like many Amish children and teenagers, she was not always on the straight and narrow.

'I think viewers of the show expected us to be young and innocent. I can honestly say I have done things before the show that Amish people wouldn't normally do.'

Before Amish teens join the church - usually between 16 and 25 - many will go out and try different things. 'I did have a car before the show, it's frowned upon... and I was arrested for a DUI (driving under the influence). My dad threw me out when he found out I was being filmed for the show. I went to Florida to stay with some Amish friends. It was a very big mistake.'

When Kate finally made it to New York it was a massive culture shock.

'I had never really been in a city and having a camera follow you around was something to get used to.' Kate and the other four Amish adults breaking away from their old lives - Jeremiah, 32, Abe, 22, Rebecca, 20, and Sabrina, 25 - experienced a lot of firsts.

She explains, 'I'd never been on an airplane or the subway and I had never had room-mates before.'

Now Kate is living in New York and has succeeded in her dream of becoming a model. 'I joined a modelling agency and they put me forward for castings. It was fun trying on the different styles of clothes. It's definitely changed my life and taught me a lot. I'm very inquisitive and always want to learn more.'

Kate's family have had difficulty coping with her leaving the community. 'Initially they were just worried I'd get into the wrong crowd.

'My family hasn't done anything wrong, the Amish way of life is just not for some people. We still keep in touch but they think of me as different.'

And looking to the future... 'I don't think I'd want to raise my own family in an Amish community but I'd want to teach my children a lot of things my mother taught me.'

Watch Breaking amish on TLC, tonight, 9pm

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Kate, Jeremiah, Sabrina, Abe and Rebecca in Breaking Amish Kate shows off her model looks
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The People (London, England)
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Jun 2, 2013
Words:679
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