- Associated Press - Monday, October 24, 2016

FLORENCE, S.C. (AP) - Books are often referred to as a voice from the past. One Florence teen has now become the actual voice for history at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

“There is an app that came out,” Jada Hunt said. “It is a storytelling app. Instead of pushing buttons for the exhibits, nowadays you download the app and listen to it. I did the kids’ section. There were nine stories.”

Hunt said that the concept of providing a voice for the app was something new to her.

“I had never heard of voice-over before,” Hunt said. “My voice coach, Lisa Biggs, was working for my agency and she did the voice-over portion. She had me record a demo last year, in January, and she submitted it for this. I happened to get chosen out of the dozens of kids that submitted.”

Though it was different, Hunt said she liked it.

“It was a new opportunity for me,” Hunt said. “I really enjoy acting, and this is part of that.”

Though it was an interest in acting that led her to voice-over work, it was yet another pursuit that brought her to acting: beauty pageants.

For the past three years, Hunt has been participating in pageants, using acting for the talent portion. Eventually, she decided to pursue acting even outside the pageant world.

Hunt traveled out of state to do her part for the app.

“I worked at a studio in Charlotte, North Carolina,” Hunt said. “It was really just two hours in the studio. The people from Washington called in on a conference call to direct me.”

Hunt’s mother, Denise Smith, said she is immensely proud of her daughter.

“It was amazing that she was chosen,” Smith said. “It was an opportunity that was unbelievable, because we are just from a small town, Florence. To be chosen was incredible.”

Even having done something that will reach thousands of people, Hunt said she doesn’t want to boast.

“I like to keep to myself with these things,” Hunt said. “I only told a few of my close friends but the people that I told were excited and proud of me.”

Participating in pageants can be difficult, especially when it comes to standards that others might have for what a young girl should look like.

“I would say that I have always been myself, but that would not be completely true,” Hunt said. “I have struggled a lot with wanting to be accepted by others, and I still do struggle with today. It’s a lot, it really is. I’m doing my best to go my own way right now, just doing my own thing. I’m a free little bird.”

Hunt and her mother said they can’t wait to get to Washington, D.C., to see the new museum and follow the app through the exhibits.


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