The odds were about a quarter of a million to one when Kimberly Van Antwerp took a photo of her 11-year-old son James and submitted it to the GAP Casting Call.
The international clothing store chain went looking for a boy and a girl to appear in a GAP print ad and received over 200,000 entries from all over the country and Soldotna, Alaska.
"Actually my sister Sonya was going to enter her baby in the contest and brought over the entry forms and her camera and we snapped a few shots of James and sent them in just for fun," said James' mom Kim. "I never really gave it another thought. I had the typical thinking of an Alaskan that we are so far away that we didn't really have a chance," added Van Antwerp.
When the call came from GAP, she took it pretty seriously, "The lady calling was really pretty excited to be telling me, but it was pretty much a shock for me and it took awhile for that to wear off. I think the lady was a little put off that I didn't seem more thrilled," said Kim, who admitted having some reservations about sending James to San Francisco on such short notice. The bottom line was that James had been selected as one of the GAP's four finalists in the boys division who were to be photographed at a professional modeling session in San Francisco.
According to James, he didn't really know that his Mom had even entered him in the contest. "She sent them in without telling us because she didn't think we would get picked, but when they called that Saturday morning, that was the first time I had heard about the whole GAP thing," said James. Four days later, James was making his first trip ever to San Francisco with his father Ted for a five-day photo shoot compliments of GAP.
"Modeling is harder than what people may think, during my interview they had really shiny lights all around me, so I could hardly keep my eyes open," said James. He also got to see his favorite team the Green Bay Packers beat the San Francisco 49er's during his visit.
James, a sixth grade student at Redoubt Elementary School, says nothing really has changed since the word has gotten around that he might become the "GAP Boy." To acquire that title and be featured in the GAP print catalog James will have to garner more Internet votes than the other three finalists in the boys division.
The voting will take place January 20th 28th, at www.gap.com. All people have to do to vote for James is go to the website and click on Casting Call. There you can also see photos and a video that was made of James in San Francisco. The Van Antwerp's hope that friends and community members will encourage everyone on their e-mail lists to check it out and vote for their favorite candidate. Those who do cast a vote also have a chance at winning a $500 gift certificate to the GAP.
James and his Mom leave for New York City on Friday for a live appearance on ABC's "The View" scheduled to air Monday, January 27th at 9:00am on Alaska's Superstation KIMO, Channel 13, translated to the Peninsula on Channel 3. All of the GAP finalists will appear in a fashion show modeling GAP apparel on the program. By the time James and his Mom get back to Alaska on the 29th, the votes will be in and everyone should know if James Van Antwerp has won the title of being the GAP Boy from Soldotna, Alaska.
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