In an effort to increase awareness about hunger issues in the state, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma has formed the first inaugural Celebrity Council. The Council consists of a group of community leaders who have stepped up to join us in the fight against hunger and become public advocates for the cause.
Keep up with the latest hunger-fighting moves of our Celebrity Council on our blog.
Participating members include:
Olivia Munn has melted the hearts of many with her star-bright smile and sassy sense of humor. Olivia was born in Oklahoma, raised in Japan and graduated from the University of Oklahoma. She is a correspondent on Comedy Central's Emmy-winning hit The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and recently starred in the NBC sitcom Perfect Couples. In theaters September 13, Olivia stars opposite Sarah Jessica Parker and Pierce Brosnan in the comedy, I Don't Know How She Does It. She will also star alongside Jeff Daniel, Emily Mortimer, Alison Pill and Dev Patel in a new Aaron Sorkin HBO TV series titled More as This Story Develops. Olivia also authored the book Suck It, Wonder Woman: The Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek.
Travis Brorsen and his boxer Presley are best known for winning the CBS hit reality show, Greatest American Dog. Travis has also appeared in over 15 national commercials and has guest starred on popular shows such as Bones, Desperate Housewives and JAG.
After winning the title of "Greatest American Dog," Travis and Presley traveled the country entertaining and teaching life lessons to children. Inspired by his interaction with children, he created Adventures with Travis and Presley, a book and DVD series that helps children to improve their manners.
Originally from Perry, Oklahoma, Travis now lives in L.A. where he is pursuing his acting career.
Danny Cahill was overweight from age seven to fifteen. As a sophomore in high school he didn't have a girlfriend so he worked hard and lost 75 pounds over the summer. Danny became popular, playing football and in a rock band after righting his life. But after high school and a few years in college, his weight steadily increased throughout the years to almost 450 pounds.
Danny wanted to win "The Biggest Loser" to save him from this unhealthy lifestyle. Originally from Midwest City, Oklahoma, Danny and his family live in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Danny is an accomplished musician, having played in Donny Osmond's band.
In 2009, Danny's dreams came true when he shed 239 pounds to become "The Biggest Loser Ever" and became the winner on the show.
Since winning "The Biggest Loser," Danny has appeared on Good Morning America, The Jay Leno Show, Larry King Live, in People magazine and many other television, radio and print media.
A rising star of the Oklahoma music scene, Sherree Chamberlain's career is now looking more promising than ever. With a main stage performance at this years' Norman Music Festival and a packed show at D-Fest, her name is becoming quite familiar.
Sherree recently completed her first long-anticipated full-length album, The Wasp In The Room, a collection of haunting melodies, including "Bird Song," a favorite among her fans. The new album includes a renowned list of collaborators, including Nate Walcott of Bright Eyes, James Mcalister and Casey Foubert of Sufjan Stevens, and Justin Meldal-Johnson of Beck, Air and Phoenix. The album was mixed and mastered by three-time Grammy award winner Chris Testa. The independently released album is now available at local record stores and on iTunes.
K.C. Clifford is a three-time Woody Guthrie Award-winning folk singer-songwriter from Oklahoma City known for her powerful voice, stage presence and courageous lyrical style. Music has always been a guiding force in K.C.'s life, and her talent and love of performing on stage revealed itself at an early age. She was two when she first sang in public and composed her first song at age seven.
A life-long battle with weight loss and depression began with her first diet when she was eight, following a family crisis. K.C. was bulimic, and lived with the disease for 12 years before being diagnosed and hospitalized during her junior year at Indiana University, where she was training for a career in opera.
After a lengthy recovery, she refocused her life, transferred to Belmont University in Nashville – a school she says she found serendipitously – and completed a degree in vocal performance. She found her voice in folk music during this time, and wrote and released her first full-length album: Times Like These (2000) to critical acclaim.
As K.C.'s career continued to bloom with the release of her second album, Teeth-marks on my Tongue (2004), health threatening food issues resurfaced, this time in the form of overeating. By 2007 she had become morbidly obese, tipping the scales at 278 lbs. With the help of friends and family, she began a fight for her life.
Her story was the focus of a special segment on the NBC reality television show "The Biggest Loser" in March 2009. During the previous year she had lost more than 100 pounds, on her own, and wrote a powerful song about hunger for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma called "Raise Your Voice." The experience has led to a series of performances at food banks across the country.
Widely tipped as one of last year's artists to watch, singer-songwriter Graham Colton has enjoyed breakout success with his hit single, "Best Days." The song has been all over radio airwaves and widely licensed for television, receiving massive exposure from "American Idol" as the coveted 'exit' song in five episodes, Oprah's "The Big Give," and national promo campaigns on ABC, MTV, and HBO among others. Colton himself was the subject of national exposure, with national television appearances on The Today Show, the Ellen DeGeneres Show, Live with Regis and Kelly, the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the Late Show with David Letterman, and the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.
Colton's latest release, 'Here Right Now', debuted at #2 on Billboard's Heatseeker chart. On iTunes, the album debuted at #4, on the Top Pop Album and #11 on the Top Album charts with "Best Days" selected as 'Single of the Week' and with Graham selected as 'Editor's Choice' for Top New Pop Artist; yielding over 750,000 downloads in one week alone. The album is an evocative collection of Colton originals that examine relationships with a deft, unflinchingly honest point of view. No stranger to the road, Graham has toured with John Mayer, Kelly Clarkson, Maroon 5, Dave Matthews Band, Counting Crows, Gavin DeGraw, Vanessa Carlton, and more.
Mayor Mick Cornett
The Honorable Mick Cornett is in his second term as Oklahoma City's 35th mayor. He was re-elected in 2006, receiving over 87 percent of the vote, the highest percentage in the city's history. As mayor, Cornett has prioritized education and jobs. The city is currently rebuilding every school in the inner-city district and providing nearly 150 million additional dollars for capital improvements in the suburban districts. Meanwhile, over 72,000 new jobs have been created since Mayor Cornett took office.
He is well known for securing an NBA team and for putting the city "on a diet," but Cornett is also a tireless advocate for other Oklahoma City issues and has spearheaded initiatives aimed at improving city streets, building more sidewalks, and improving public transportation. In his pursuit, as Mayor Cornett says, "to create a city where people want to live," Cornett pushes higher design standards, and more opportunities for sports and the arts.
Nationally, in 2007 he was elected as a Trustee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the highest governing body of that organization. He is also the national president of Republican mayors.
The mayor is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, and he spent 20 years in local television news and sports before starting his own business and entering politics. He and his wife Lisa have been together since they began dating as sophomores at Putnam City High School. They have raised three sons: Michael, Casey and Tristan.
Ryan Cunningham was born, raised and educated through high school in Oklahoma. While in high school, Ryan realized that his love for creating art was transforming into a serious passion. During his school years he achieved numerous award for his work, was published and was chosen for the prestigious Young Talent in Oklahoma award.
After taking a number of years off, he revived his art career with a stunningly successful debut one man show that left almost no piece unsold. Since that time, Ryan has followed up that success with representation with esteemed galleries in both Oklahoma and Arizona. He continually participates in both group and solo exhibitions.
His work was recently honored by winning 'Runner up' for the West Region of New American Painters national competition, jurored but the Curator of the Modern Art Museum of Ft. Worth. Ryan has been profiled in numerous interviews and magazines. Oklahoma Today magazine hailed Ryan as part of Oklahoma's "new class of talent."
Ryan recently gained national attention by being featured in Studio Visit magazine. The State of Oklahoma recently honored him with a one man exhibition in the East Gallery of the Oklahoma State Capitol. The exhibition was curated by the Oklahoma Arts Council. Ryan's work has been acquired by collectors for both corporate and private collections. His work can be found in collections stretching across the country and even internationally. Ryan looks forward to pursuing his burgeoning art career and continuing to share his love for creating art.
A recipient of numerous awards and honors including two Emmys and the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Heartland Division, Gary England is Oklahoma's top rated television meteorologist. Gary England is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and meteorology. He is an internationally recognized authority in severe weather and holds the distinction of being the person who implemented with Enterprise Electronics, the world's first commercial Doppler radar.
In 1981, Gary England became the first person in history to use Doppler radar for direct warnings to the public. The author of four books and the subject of another, Gary England is also a popular public speaker. Besides appearing in the Steven Spielberg movie, "TWISTER", he has become a much sought after consultant for weather specials produced by international channels from all areas of the globe.
Of special distinction in 2006 was his being asked to be a keynote speaker for the dedication of the new National Weather Center in Norman, OK. Additionally and in conjunction with the Oklahoma Centennial celebration in 2007, Gary England was immortalized by the sculpting of his bust which honored '100 Heroes and Outlaws' of Oklahoma repute during the state's first 100 years.
In 2009 Gary, his weather team and News 9 were awarded the National Edward R. Murrow Award for best in the nation in the category of breaking news/weather in competition among all large television markets.
Mary "O" Esparza
Mary “O” Esparza was born and raised in Altus, Oklahoma who attended Western Oklahoma State College and the University of Oklahoma majoring in Elementary Education and Spanish. After working as the Youth Minister for the Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Altus and later the Financial Development Officer for the Southwest Oklahoma Chapter of the American Red Cross, Mary moved into radio broadcasting, which has been her passion for over 10 years. Her job responsibilities include: News Director, radio sales and production and on-air radio personality for three stations: KWHW 1450 AM, KRKZ 93.5 FM and KQTZ 105.9 FM. She hosts “El Sonido Mexicano” on KQTZ, the only bilingual radio program in Southwest Oklahoma and North Texas, every Sunday night from 5:30 p.m. to midnight.
Mary is extremely active in her community dedicating her time to Harvest for the Hungry Food Campaign, City of Altus Easter Egg Hunt, Altus Christmas Parade Committee, KWHW’s annual Beautiful Baby Contest, the Golden Years Expo, the Cinco de Mayo Fiesta as well as Hispanic Heritage Month events. Along with helping these events, Mary is President of the Altus Hispanic Association, Southwest Oklahoma Chapter of the American Red Cross Board Member and Jackson County Health Action Team Member.
On her free time, Mary enjoys scrapbooking, reading, traveling and spending time with her family, friends and her two dogs, Snowball and Princess.
Lauren Nelson Faram
Lawton, Oklahoma native Lauren Nelson Faram was crowned Miss America on January 29, 2007. During her time as Miss America, she dedicated her much of work to Internet Safety for Kids. In 2008, she received the Ten Outstanding Young Americans Award for her work on Internet safety and for her service as Miss America.
After fulfilling her duties as Miss America, she returned home to Oklahoma where she is a Public Relations major at the University of Central Oklahoma. She continues to travel and speak on behalf of many of the companies that emphasize Internet Safety.
On October 24, 2009, Lauren married Randy Faram. They live in Edmond, Oklahoma where they are active members at Edmond's First Baptist Church. Lauren enjoys leading worship and being a part of the youth ministry, and she spends much of her time there.
She continues to be an advocate for Children's Miracle Network, the Miss America Organization, ChildHelp, and has said she honored to serve on the Regional Food Bank's Celebrity Council.
Neill & Amanda Harmer
Neill and Amanda Harmer were two of the 20 contestants on the 5th installment of the NBC hit reality show "The Biggest Loser" in 2008. Married for five years and parents to a four year old and an almost-one year old. Neill is 30 years old, from Peru, Indiana, and Amanda is 31 years old, from Bethany, Oklahoma.
At the first weigh-in, Amanda hit the scales at 204 while Neill weighed 317, for a not-so-grand total of 521 pounds. At the live Finale, Neill dropped an amazing 88 pounds, and Amanda dropped 64 pounds and gained an amazing smile.
Neill and Amanda are now both certified fitness instructors sharing their tough-love-in-your-face-kick-your-butt approach to exercise at Eldon Lyon park in Bethany where they lead Operation Boot Camp five days a week to help anyone who is brave enough to endure their beat downs and ready to make the decision to change their life and shed those unwanted pounds for good. As well as being a fitness instructor Neill is now an addicted-to-triathlons triathlete, having run in many triathlons, ranging from sprint to Olympic distance, with goals of a full Ironman.
Johnathan Kayne began his education at Volunteer State College with a full academic scholarship, majoring in veterinary medicine. During this time, he took a job as a sketch artist for a local pageant boutique in Nashville, and became totally enamored with fashion. He transferred to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2002 and winning the Critics Choice for evening wear. Following graduation he opened Kayne's Clothing Boutique back home in Nashville, which afforded him the opportunity to create custom ballroom dance costumes, evening wear, and wardrobe for the country music industry. He moved his custom design business to Norman, Oklahoma in 2003 and became a partner in an already established pageant and formal wear boutique – Southern Charm/Alter Ego.
In May 2006, Johnathan Kayne was chosen to compete on the hit Bravo TV Show Project Runway 3. He quickly became an audience favorite and was a Top 5 contestant. One of the challenges during the show was to design a gown for the reigning Miss USA, Tara Conner, to wear when she competed in the Miss Universe Pageant. He won this challenge, and Conner was wearing the gown he created when she became fourth runner up to Miss Universe later that year.
Since coming home from Project Runway 3, life has been hectic. He has established a Johnathan Kayne Shoe Line produced by the Benjamin Walk Company, in Burlington, New Hampshire. WOW! Prom & Pageant in Atlanta, GA produces the Johnathan Kayne Pageant and Prom Lines. Johnathan Kayne LLC was formed in 2007 with its corporate offices in Norman, Oklahoma. Norman is also where Johnathan Kayne does all of his custom design work and maintains his design studio. The Johnathan Kayne Swim Wear Line as well as the Kayne9 Doggie Couture Line are available as of spring of 2009.
David Kelso has been a radio personality on 107.7 KRXO since 1991. He's an OU graduate who likes loud Rock N Roll and Family Guy reruns. He's a beer snob of the highest order and thinks Jerry Garcia's birthday 'oughta be a national holiday. David wishes strip malls and chain stores would stop ruining the view of great Oklahoma sunsets, and notably, also loves to fish. Other likes include: peanut butter and feathers and long walks through the CD section at Best Buy.
Samantha Lamb is a freelance photographic artist who studied at the University of Central Oklahoma. Inspired by "morning light, beards and banjos," much of her photography is taken on her farm "Early Bird Acres" in Hobart, Oklahoma, where she lives a country lifestyle. Samantha is highly interested in agriculture and supports local farming and sustainable living practices. She enjoys picnics in the meadows, her banjo collection, and folk/bluegrass music. She is also well known for music photography, and has photographed many musicians, including the Avette Brothers, Sherree Chamberlain, the Uglysuit and Samantha Crain. Her work is featured at Cuppies & Joe, the Red Dirt Emporium, Collected Thread and Frame Master.
Notably, she has also had art openings around Oklahoma City and most recently has extended artistic installations to New York City and Portland, Oregon. She has had three coffee table books of her photography and a book of poetry published. In addition to being a member of the Regional Food Bank's Celebrity Council, she is also the official Celebrity Council photographer.
Growing up, weight was not an issue for Lisa Mosley until around the age of 19. Lisa was diagnosed with severe anxiety disorder, and was ecstatic that there were treatment options that could help her. The medicine gave Lisa her life back, but in six months she noticed her weight increasing. Over the course of the next 10 years, Lisa’s weight shot up about 120 pounds. She knew the medication played a part, but at this point Lisa had developed a serious dependence on food as a source of comfort. By the age of 30, Food had become one of her closest friends and best coping mechanism.
In 2010, Lisa had seen a commercial about a casting call for “The Biggest Loser.” So she waited in line for seven hours to speak to a casting director. She had only one minute to impress. Lisa was given the opportunity of a lifetime and was cast in Season 10 of The Biggest Loser, and her weight loss journey was played out on national television.
Now the finale is over, and Lisa has a huge, bright, healthy future in front of her. She hopes her experiences have and will help others. Since her experience on The Biggest Loser, Lisa has started The Ranch Camp to help others in their weight loss journey.
"Magic Man" Jeff Roberts
The Magic Man (also known as Jeff Roberts) was born in Oklahoma City, but grew up in Bethany. After sustaining an injury in football his sophomore in high school, he became interested in a career as a radio personality. Throughout his high school and college years, he pursued a career in radio. Now – 27 years later – he is one of the best-known names in radio on Magic 104.1 KMGL, where he hosts Magic Mornings. Outside the studio, he enjoys going to the lake, playing video games and outdoor activities. Jeff is married to Janet and together they have three children: Stephanie, Luke and Mark. They reside in Edmond.
Amanda Taylor can be seen weekdays co-anchoring the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. news and going to bat for Oklahoma consumers. Since joining the News 9 team, Amanda has won multiple awards for her work as our Consumer Watch reporter. These include a number of Emmy's, Association of Broadcaster's awards, Associated Press honors, and Society of Professional Journalist awards. However, she is most proud of a picture that hangs on her wall. It is a courtroom sketch of Amanda taking the stand in a federal case. It was her story and testimony that helped put a con-man behind bars.
Amanda's also been very involved in News 9's partnership with the Regional Food Bank's Food for Kids Program. It's her own father's personal story of growing up as a hungry child that inspires her to help.
When she's not working Amanda's hanging out with her husband Nick and their two Wheaten Terriers, William & Sonoma.