A balancing act for student, mother

Kathryn Unterberger is a model, actress, mother and student.

Kathryn Unterberger holds her four-year-old son, Isaac Nov. 18. Unterberger is a model, actress, writer, mother and student at Temple’s Center for the Performing and Cinematic Arts. | Matt McGraw TTN

Some of the “special skills” mentioned on Kathryn Unterberger’s resume are typical of an actress: improv, runway modeling and singing.

Not so typical, but certainly in her repertoire of special skills, is her ability to juggle being a mother, a model, an actress and a student.

Unterberger, a film and media arts major, is a model, actress, aspiring filmmaker and mother. She started her career as a model and has walked the runway at Fashion Week in New York City.

“It’s all networking,” Unterberger said. “I started off with an individual photographer in the Poconos, and then I had a good friend from high school who did castings for smaller runway productions. From there I just met people—if they gave me their card, I followed up.”

It was tough balancing modeling gigs while taking care of her son Issac.

“I was doing all of these auditions in New York and I was working in the club industry at night,” Unterberger said. “I would work from 9 p.m. until 4 a.m. I would then make it for my 8 a.m. lecture, or take my son to daycare in the morning, and sleep during the day.”

She recently enrolled Issac, soon to be five years old, in a private school in Chestnut Hill.

“Isaac is a very interesting child because he articulates what he is saying,” she said. “He is like a little old man, because he will sit there and have a conversation with you. I have never shied away from big words with him.”

Unterberger is also a model for Natalya Koval, a Fashion Institute of Technology student who designed a dress for Michelle Obama last year. Koval said she enjoyed working with Unterberger.

“Not only is she talented, but she is also smart,” Koval said. “She is a great improviser and takes direction well.”

Even though she started with modeling, Unterberger sees her future in the film industry. With experience from modeling, she has been cast in a number of films, most recently as a waitress in “Back in the Day,” a film directed by Paul Borghese which releases next year, in which she has a few lines.

“Modeling was what pushed me to get into the professional film world,” Unterberger said.

Unterberger is studying film and media arts to round out her understanding of the film industry in hopes of directing her own movie. She said Temple has helped her foster her talents and satiate her curiosity for learning.

“I love being here because I love the diversity of the students,” Unterberger said. “I also like the professors because they seem to have an overwhelming abundance of information to give you. I want to learn facts and conversation pieces, so that I can finagle my way into conversations later on.”

At the moment, school has taken precedence over work for Unterberger, as she has only been taking weekend trips to New York. She said her motivation comes not only from wanting to constantly improve, but also from her friends who have seen success.

“When I see that, I get up every day and I’m fine—you take it one day at a time,” she added.

Her boyfriend Timothy Davis sees Unterberger’s success so far as a result of the culmination of her past and present experiences.

“She was always very driven but the motherhood aspect ignited a personal self-confidence where she really felt like she had to be more for her son,” Davis said.

Jacquelyn Fricke can be reached at  jacquelyn.taylor.fricke@temple.edu.

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