Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Is “Breaking Amish” Real? How TLC’s Hit New Show Was Exposed by the Internet”

"Faking" Amish: 1 is a former bartender, 2 cast members have a child together, 3 have criminal records, and ALL of them have been out of the Amish community for years! 
A self-admitted reality TV junkie, I’m all ears (or eyes) when a new show premieres. When I saw the previews for “Breaking Amish” on TLC, I was intrigued. Billed as a show following the journey of five young Amish men and women as they break free from their ultra conservative religious communities and try to start a new life in New York city, the plot seemed interesting. While so many reality shows are just carbon copies of the same formula (insert: cheesily decorated house + group of young attractive 20-somethings + unlimited supply of booze and throw in a sexual orientation or racial conflict or two) this seemed slightly different.
I probably know as much about the Amish community as the average American. In other words, not much. When asking friends what they knew about the Amish culture I heard the same comments over and over: they dress like pilgrims. They ride in horse and buggys. They don’t have electricity or any modern conveniences. They live on farms. I was hoping that “Breaking Amish” would provide insight into their somewhat secretive world and give me a glimpse into what it’s really like to live life in one of the most conservative sect of people in the US. The show seemed pretty convincing from the previews. After watching the first couple of episodes, red flags went up, particularly with how the cast members spoke. How is it possible, that these individuals who had been so sheltered from modern civilization their entire lives, were using slang expressions so regularly? This didn’t sit right with me and as I rewatched episodes smaller things began to pop out. Sabrina talks longingly about a life where she can sing, wear jeans and earrings. But as I paused an up-close shot of her I noticed her ears were pierced. In Episode 3 as Abe’s mother sits in his hotel room begging him to come home and away from sinful New York City…a pack of Camel Menthol Cigarettes were sitting on his nightstand. Noticing these discrepancies brought me to the internet to do some digging. What I found was more shocking than I could have imagined.According to TLC’s website: “Breaking Amish provides a never before seen look inside the lives of young men and women as they for the first time trade horse and buggy for taxi cabs to break out from their respective Amish/Mennonite communities in their pursuit to chase big dreams in the Big Apple.” News articles state the show began filming in May and June 2012. Is this show really following the tears and struggles of oppressed adults? Or are we looking at a very crafted, staged and misleading show bending the truth for ratings? Check out the below information on cast members retrieved from public internet profiles, social networking sites, and public records and you be the judge! Should “Breaking Amish” be called “Faking Amish”?
REBECCA and ABE SCHMUCKER
From the moment they locked eyes on “Breaking Amish”, it seemed love was in the air for Rebecca, 20, and Abe, 22. Both confided in their cast mates they had budding desires for each other and one couldn’t help feel for Abe as he nervously asked out Rebecca on a date  during Episode 3′s most awkward moment.
Not so fast! The internet is a-buzz with rumors that not only are Abe and Rebecca a certified couple…but they have been for years! LONG before the show began filming. And allegedly, they have a daughter who is almost two! While there isn’t a date stamp on this photo of them, we can make the assumption it was taken before the show for several reasons. Both look noticeably younger (my guess would be a year to two years younger) and the big giveaway lies in Rebecca’s smile. We learned on Episode 2 Rebecca wears a full set of fake teeth, and here she is with her original choppers.
Rebecca Abe Breaking Amish Baby
Breaking Amish Teeth: Rebecca's Dentures Hidden in her bonnet
On Episode 3 Rebecca and Kate score an interview with a modeling agency. When the agent’s assistant asks them to get into bathing suits (typical protocol when auditioning for a modeling gig), Rebecca not only flat out refuses to, but acts horrified and insulted stating “I believe in modesty. Spreading yourself out for the world to see is not modesty.” Funny, because this young lady seemingly found no problem in donning her best bikini at a pool party in 2010!
In Episode 2 of breaking Amish the cast members bond on the hotel balcony, enjoying a bottle of wine, something supposedly frowned upon in the Amish community. While Rebecca declines due to the fact she is underage, Abe opts out as well, commenting that he can’t stand to be around drunk people. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Check out Abe’s mug shot from 2008 when both himself and the person he was with were arrested for public intoxication!

Abe Breaking Amish Mug Shot
KATE STOLTZFUS
Kate, the mischievous Bishop’s daughter, is no stranger to the outside world. We know the was arrested for a DUI in Florida after being kicked out of her house. Reports also surfaced that Kate has been out of the community for years and was working as a bartender at a Ruby Tuesday's in the area. Kate has her eyes set on the stars, and dreams of becoming a model. In Episode 3 we saw her and Rebecca act seemingly clueless on how to break into the industry, asking a hotel employee for help on finding a modeling agency. Both acted “wow’ed” by the hotel’s computer center, saying they were unfamiliar with technology as they searched for a modeling agency. Being in the entertainment/modeling industry myself, I knew the modeling interview was totally staged and set up (you don’t just pick up the phone and call a major NYC agency asking for an interview and get in the same day. Most won’t even let you through the door without seeing photographs and measurements and then you are instructed to go to an open call with a room full of other hopefuls). But what do we have here?! A picture Kate posted on an INTERNET talent/modeling website in 2010. So much for her lack of computer skills, and clueless act on how the modeling world works! On the website profile it also states she lives in El Paso, TX….a far cry from her supposed Amish home turf. (Note: The profile has since been taking down, most likely an attempt at damage control but you can view a cached version here: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:www.exploretalent.com/contestants/best-smile-contest-august-2010-42/kate-stoltzfus-kate-33724#.UGOSvfk-uAU )

Kate Breaking Amish Model
SABRINA LAVON HIGH
Sabrina the singing Mennonite says she dreams of wearing normal clothes and earrings. Funny, because in this recent Facebook picture she appears to be doing just fine in her “English” clothes looking newly fir and trim. You go girl!
Oh! And should we mention Little Miss Sabrina is actually a MRS.?! She was married in 2009 in what seems to be a regular ceremony.
JEREMIAH RABER
32 year old Jeremiah’s constant swearing, pursuit of women with nice derrieres, and general behavior set off alarms bells for me. Makes sense, because apparently he has been out of the Amish community for 14 years and is a divorced father of 3. His ex-wife, Naomi spoke to CBS 21 WHPTV and stated they were married for 6 years and  “The kids and I suffered for years at the hands of this man.” Remember the scene in Episode 3 where Jeremiah speaks of his dreams of driving a cab and enrolls in driving school? According to his ex, he has had multiple cars and was never shunned from the Amish community, which he has not been a part of since he was 18 years old. In Episode 3 Jeremiah gets a tattoo of a cross with the names of three people very important in his life. Were these the names of his three children?
What do YOU think about the controversy surrounding this “reality” show. Just how real IS Breaking Amish? Do you have an experience in the Amish culture? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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