Laura Hill and Karen Mott

Movie Stars in the Making

Two local ladies are no longer waiting for their ship to come in. They are headed to the airport instead, hoping to star in the movie that is currently playing in their minds. Best friends, Laura Hill and Karen Mott have their eyes on a dream, and both are willing to take the necessary risks for a chance at the life they envision.

Surprisingly, they are not headed for Hollywood, but to Fort Lauderdale, where they will undergo rigorous training and find out if they have what it takes to complete their own script: to become corporate flight attendants.

"Karen and I both try to live our lives out of vision-every day, running the movie of what we want life to look like," said Laura. "I picture working for someone great, doing a lot of traveling and having the flexibility to experience a whole different life."

Laura, who currently works as a loan officer for Hilton Head Mortgage, plans to keep one foot in the mortgage business while she tests her wings, but her ultimate goal is a new sense of freedom. "With the real estate the way it is right now, it just makes sense to diversify," she said. "For me, it's about the opportunity to have a career that lets me live anywhere. It opens up the world."

The career change is a practical matter for Karen, who currently works two jobs: as a waitress at Palmetto Bay Sunrise CafÈ and as an interior painter, operating her own business, The Barefoot Painter. "I love my life here-my friends and my jobs," said Karen. "One of the reasons I'm doing it is because I'm getting older. Unless I leave town, I don't ever take time off. I want to be able to afford my lifestyle without working seven days a week." If you think a corporate flight attendant is the equivalent of a flying waitress, think again. While napkin folding, flower arranging, cooking and food presentation are among the necessary skills, it's the emergency procedure training and rigorous safety standards that will occupy the minds of the students as they complete a six-day certification course. According to Laura, they are prepared to be dunked, as the program includes wet ditching exercises.

Forking over $3,100 each for the course with no guarantee of a job, Laura and Karen are confident that their investment will pay off. If things keep going their way, their movie is soon to be a blockbuster hit. "We have no idea where this is going to take us," said Laura. "It's just unfolding in ways we couldn't imagine."

"There's so much unknown," said Karen. "But with this positive vision that Laura and I have, the universe is making it happen for us."

Up Close
Laura: Hometown: Tifton, Ga. Family: daughter, Marie; granddaughter, MacKenzie Grace, age nine months When not working, find her: making speeches at Toastmasters, sailing, hanging out with her granddaughter, exhibiting her photos at art shows. Life Motto: "Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all."-Helen Keller Advice to others considering a new beginning: "Make sure you are going to have some great stories to tell when you're sitting around in your rocking chair at 80."

Karen: Hometown: Winchester, Va. Family: daughter, Carolyn; grand-daughter, Trista Lyn, age 20 months When not working, find her: making speeches at Toastmasters or throwing elaborate parties. Life Motto: "Any day I wake up on the right side of the grass is a good day." Advice to others considering a new beginning: "Change is inevitable. Change happens whether you want it to or not. It's exciting to be an instrument of change in your own life. Grasp that and go for it."