Brittney Cicotte did not let bullying get in the way of making a name for herself.
The Canton senior, who has been a part of 12 modeling agencies and was featured in two movies, has dealt with an uneasy childhood and school bullies since her earliest school years.
“When I was in elementary school, I had a hard time fitting in with all the girls and guys,” Cicotte said. “I was always the tallest, which made me stand out like a sore thumb through all my years until high school.”
The bullies would often compare Cicotte to a giraffe, labeling her an anorexic because of her stature. It got so bad that she had to change schools more than once.
Cicotte’s uncle, Greg, admits that going through the bullying with his niece resulted in some of the toughest moments he’s had to experience.
“It was difficult for everyone to see Brittney go through it,” Greg said. “She didn’t let it take her down though. She stuck to her guns and beat it.”
Cicotte put up with the bullying until the end of middle school. By the time she got to high school, she was done putting up with the abuse.
“Once I entered high school, I grew a backbone,” Cicotte said. “If someone came up to me, I would tell them to say what they had to say, and then I’d keep walking.”
Cicotte kept that attitude throughout high school and eventually became the homecoming queen.
“I never thought I would win homecoming queen,” Cicotte said. “I always tried to be myself because I’m different, and I’m not going to change who I am just to fit in with anyone else.”
Cicotte is now an avid supporter of anti-bullying causes, using her position as a model and actress to advance those causes.
Modeling has been a major focus of Cicotte’s life ever since her first professional photo shoot when she was 13 years old. Even though she has had fun with it, she said modeling isn’t all fun and games.
“The toughest part about being a model is finding work that is fit for you,” Cicotte said. “A lot of the photographers, especially in the Detroit area, want to give you a poor image by making you do nude and lingerie shots, which are things I’d never do. “
From finding friends within her profession to taking on odd assignments, Cicotte has seen it all. One of the strangest photo shoots happened a year after her first shoot.
“When I was 14, this girl made me a bathing suit out of a torn t-shirt, and then we had to model out in the snow in the middle of freezing cold Michigan,” Cicotte said.
But the modeling life does come with its perks. Cicotte occasionally gets to keep merchandise after she performs in fashion shows.
Cicotte’s work history has contributed to getting traditional jobs, but her modeling experience has caused problems between her and past employers.
“When I found out from Hollister that I was hired for my looks, I quit the job since I didn’t want to get work just because I’m pretty,” Cicotte said. “I have a personality and many skills besides my looks.”
Aside from being a model, Cicotte has done some film work as well. She was a movie extra in “Hostel 3″ and in the 2012 remake of “Red Dawn,” where she played a “Bar Hottie.” But she had to pay a price to be in the latter.
“It was the first day of my senior year of high school, and I had to choose between being an extra in ‘Red Dawn’ or go to the first day of high school and see my friends,” Cicotte said. “I got to meet Josh Hutcherson on set, and then I saw him in the ‘Hunger Games’ and thought it was cool that I got to talk to him and know what he’s like.”
There was a moment after high school where the aspiring model contemplated choosing college or taking her modeling career to the next level.
“I was done sitting at home and I needed to do something that was good for me that had a legit outcome,” Cicotte said. “I decided that I was going to take the college path, and I found Central’s campus perfect for me.”
Cicotte now models as a hobby and plans to graduate from Central Michigan University with a degree in apparel merchandising. After she graduates, she plans on joining a business that she can make a career out of.
Even though she has appeared on the big screen and has a full portfolio, Cicotte’s greatest accomplishment might best be told by her mother, Bridgette.
“She struggled with making friends and finding her own identity,” Bridgette said. “Brittney proves that bullied children can still accomplish their dreams by staying strong and true to themselves.”