If you can make it there …

Catch up with three Stark County natives making big names for themselves in New York

Catch up with three Stark County natives making big names for themselves in New York

That Erin Wyatt is a successful model in Manhattan should surprise no one. Just look at her. The 2003 St. Thomas Aquinas grad has done campaigns for Avon and Estee Lauder, graced the covers of Brides New York and Trump World magazines, and recently shot an Internet campaign for Puma.

She appeared with Alec Baldwin in a commercial for Hulu that aired during the 2009 Super Bowl and has a cameo as a lingerie model in the Matthew McConaughey comedy “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.”

Not a fashion-show catwalk model, Wyatt primarily does print ad campaigns and catalog work. She is signed to Elite, one of the world’s top modeling agencies.

She travels to Europe for jobs more often than many of us go shopping. “I’ll fly over for a fitting for one day and come back, then the next week, I’ll fly back to actually shoot it,” Wyatt, 24, says.

Asked about her modeling success, Wyatt says, “I guess it’s the blond thing, that all-American healthy cornfed thing.”

It helps that she is 5-foot-11 and, according to the Elite Model Web site, 34-26-36.

So is she forever worrying about diet and exercise? “You’re definitely more aware of those things. I go to the gym six days a week. I love to work out. I try to drink a lot of water and get sleep,” she says. “But I also really like to eat and have a good drink. You only live once.”

Wyatt shares an apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side with her boyfriend.

“It’s next to Central Park and near Lincoln Center,” she says. “I love it.”

About the big-city hustle and bustle, she says, “I’ve been here three years, so it seems like home to me. It’s not that big, really. I’m going to multiple castings and auditions almost every day, so I’m always on the subway or the bus. I don’t miss not having a car.”

Surprisingly, Wyatt’s biggest fashion show to date was the Pro Football Hall of Fame Festival one in Canton.

“I did it when I was 19 or 20,” she recalls. “My mom got me in there and taught me how to walk.” (Her mother, Cathy Wyatt, graced the cover of About magazine’s first issue in May 2008.)

Asked if she ever has had to model anything truly hideous, Wyatt says, “I was on an episode of ‘Ugly Betty,’ and they put me in this ridiculous black-and-yellow dress with a banana hat on my head. It was fun, like playing dress-up.”

New York City is seeing a lot of John Moauro these days. He’s a cast member in the Tony Award-winning revival of the ’60s rock musical “Hair,” the hottest ticket on Broadway these days. In the show’s first-act finale, he bares all.

“We’re all naked. It’s crazy. I don’t even think about it anymore,” says Mauro, a 2001 McKinley High School grad. “There was no way I wasn’t going to do it.”

The “Hair” crowds have included plenty of celebrities, with Tom Hanks, Keanu Reeves, Whoopi Goldberg, Aretha Franklin, David Schwimmer and a group of actors from TV’s “Brothers & Sisters” among recent attendees. There have been plenty of hometown well-wishers, too. “I’m surprised by how many people from the Canton area have come to see the show,” Moauro says.

Moauro and the “Hair” cast have performed on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “Good Morning America” and the Tony Awards telecast, where the show won as best revival.

“I’m still kind of giddy from that,” he says. “For the rest of my life, I’ll be able to say I was in a Tony Award-winning show.”

“Hair” was only the second show for which Moauro auditioned in New York. Originally, it was to be just a three-night concert version of the show, but its success led to an acclaimed Shakespeare in the Park production in Central Park in summer 2008, and now the hit Broadway production.

“We’ve known each other for two years now, we’re a close-knit family,” he says about the “Hair” cast.

The show, which includes such familiar songs as “Let the Sunshine In” and “Age of Aquarius,” features plenty of crowd interaction.

Moauro lives “way uptown” in Manhattan, at 200th Street and Broadway, in an apartment with a changing cast of roommates.

Excitement is palpable in his voice as he talks about his life onstage and off in New York City.

“It’s so weird when I think about how far I’ve come,” he says. “From the Players Guild to Broadway!”

Think of Whitney Spaner as Canton’s answer to Carrie Bradshaw of “Sex in the City”— a spunky, funny Manhattan career girl who writes about Broadway and other showbiz topics for Paper magazine, a downtown hipster’s bible published monthly.

It’s amusing to imagine this 2000 McKinley High School grad navigating the New York City whirlwind.
— She rode the subway to one early job in a cowgirl costume before discovering how deeply uncool that was.
— She took a lawyer date to an off-off-Broadway play she was reviewing in which, to her horror, a male clown stripped to a G-string and began doing unprintable acts.
— She pays $1,100 a month for a windowless bedroom in a West Village apartment shared with two roomies “on a street with a bunch of tattoo parlors and sex shops.”

“Everybody here knows I’m Midwestern,” Whitney, 27, says. “I have a little bit of a different sensibility that I don’t ever want to lose.”

Spaner’s interview conquests are impressive — Jennifer Hudson, Will Ferrell, Cyndi Lauper, Jeff Daniels, Ellen Page from “Juno,” Elizabeth Moss from “Mad Men” and oodles of current stage stars.

Covering the Tony Awards for Paper several years running, she has encountered the holy trinity of Oprah, Elton and Liza.

“I love theater so much. I go two or three times a week,” she says — with tickets provided free. “Tonight, I’m going to see Anne Hathaway in ‘Twelfth Night’ in Central Park. Last night, I saw Phylicia Rashad in ‘August: Osage County.’ ”

Writing about the theater scene, actors and new shows is her main focus at Paper and its Web site,

“One of my regular features is writing about cute boys on Broadway,” she notes. She is assistant editor at Paper, where she has worked for four years.

Asked if she has endured any “Devil Wears Prada” moments in the competitive magazine world, Spaner shares an anecdote from her early days in New York.

Assigned to review an off-Broadway play for the Village Voice, she accidentally left at intermission, thinking the play was finished, which caused the play’s peeved publicist to phone her editor.

“I got yelled at, but I pulled it together,” she says. “It does get pretty stressful sometimes.”

Where to buy

The Repository
Select Rite Aid Stores
Spee-D Foods
Buehler's Fresh Foods
Fishers Foods, including 44th Street NW, Tuscarawas St. W, Fulton Drive, Lincoln Way E. and Cleveland Ave. NW locations
Aultman Hospital Gift Shop
Mercy Medical Center Gift Shop
Gervasi Vineyard Marketplace
Carpe Diem Coffee Shop, downtown Canton and Belden Village Mall locations
News Depot
Avenue Arts Marketplace
Yum Yum Tree Alliance
Grapes in a Glass