THE MISFITS, MISUNDERSTOOD AND MISTAKES
When you're lost and all alone you can look to a song lyric to relate to and remind you that you're not alone. Somebody out there has the guts to speak out about how they feel and what they need. But unless you can write lyrics and turn your feelings into a powerful or beautiful song, you are not welcome to share your secrets about suicide. You are not allowed to tell people how you feel or what you think. You can write a book or screenplay for a movie, but you better convince people that it's just a work of fiction. It's not how you really feel because you'll be judged, tormented, typecasted and ostracized by society. You've been banished to a far off place if you even think to be anything more than another brick in the wall.
This story is for anyone who doesn't fit the mold and anyone who needs to win gold. Team up. Become friends. Fight for a new future. Change society. Make history. Work together, have fun together, and simply survive together. Success is the best form of revenge. Live to tell. Tell it like it is.
ON YOU MARK.
LOST, ALONE AND UNLOVED
The Story of Modern Material begins in present day on the 17th floor of The Current in Long Beach,CA where Aimee Whitman is sitting at the Ocean View rooftop pool a 11 stories up from her own apartment where she looks out at the Queen Mary and all of the ships coming in to port from China. She built a career that afforded her such a beautiful life as an artist who wasn't exactly starving. However, the apartment was a downgrade from the gorgeous 2 bedroom, 3 story waterfront townhouse in Marina del Rey at the Seascape where Aimee and her husband, Scott Whitman, often rode the elevator with NBA Player Lonzo Ball or actress Lonnie Anderson on their way home. Life in Los Angeles was everything television makes it out to be if you live in West Hollywood or West of Lincoln.
SUCCESS IS THE BEST FORM OF REVENGE. That was Aimee Whitman's motto after being scorned by corporate America. Yet it seemed like just yesterday when Aimee was working in a Toy Store in Columbus, Ohio in 1999 when she realized her future was over. SUICIDE IS THE BEST FORM OF REGRET.
After twenty years of regret, Aimee Whitman realized her life was designed to serve a different purpose. It didn't matter how many times she failed, she dusted her self off and tried something else. It became such an addiction to Aimee that she couldn't stand staying put for more than three years max. She was constantly ridiculed for changing direction and being emotionally unavailable. She was just determined to do something nobody else had done.
Aimee and Scott have been married for 17 years but the first day they could officially start their new identity was Twenty One Years ago on June 23, 1998 when Aimee moved out of her family mansion in Bluestone, Ohio and into a two bedroom townhouse in Columbus, Ohio as she started her Freshman Year at the Ohio State University. They were finally free of the guilt, shame and destruction that their relationship caused. But will the star-crossed lovers tale catch back up to them as they begin to watch their ship sinking? Or will Romeo + Juliet write a different ending to the tragic love story?
Aimee found her future where her past is no longer a part of the present but will Scott decide to stay or go? Perhaps it's time to decide if they should judge their character based on their decisions to be together 22 years ago when they turned an entire town against them. Or perhaps Aimee is searching for resolution from when her roommate decided it was time to die.
MORE DRAMA THAN MELROSE PLACE
The Seaside in Marina del Rey, CA could give Melrose Place a run for it's money on any day of the week. The waterfront Luxury Apartment Living community was housing so much money, influence, celebrities, NBA players and eager young talent and entrepreneurs that anyone would get lost in the addiction to all of the drama. From a Laker player crashing his Bentley into a tree at the pool to a Bengal cat named Bentley getting lost with it's porn star owner posting a $20,000 reward for it's return, The Seaside was never a boring place to live. Aimee + Scott Whitman became friends with more than a hundred residents where every Saturday they shipped out to sea on a yacht and Sunday was Funday at the pool. Drugs, guns and girls from Tinder was just an average weekend ordeal. But when Aimee couldn't find Scott Whitman while searching the streets near Venice Beach the night before they moved up to their Penthouse waterfront apartment, reality for the Ohioans began to sink in. Life in LA just wasn't like they were in Kansas anymore. The tornados were exchanged for earthquakes and the wildfires in Malibu they could see from the gorgeous view of the Santa Monica Mountains. Giving up the apartment was the hardest thing Aimee could possibly imagine, but she knew the only other option was to sell her soul to the devil in the music industry.
Leaving their $4,500 per month apartment at The Seascape was in their best interest but leaving their family was the hardest thing Aimee Whitman ever had to do. These people were her heart and soul...people who didn't need her to care about them forever...people who came into her life for a few years at most, then made their way to their own calling. Nobody ever asked her any questions about who she really was but they all believed in who she was to them. Their friend.
But then one of her friends died at The Seascape, in the apartment that she and Scott moved out of. In the bathtub that Aimee spent years soaking in and typing up her story of Modern Material on her iPhone. Was God really that cruel to give her another reminder of all of the tragedy that continued to swarm around her as she tried to get Modern Material off the ground again? Then one day it just hit her. She needed to tell her Story in Character. She needed to follow in the footsteps of Miss Eunetta instead of just being another "fashion designer" making costumes for the movie. She needed to bring the lifestyle to her Story of Modern Material, not take her style to a story that was already written in Hollywood.
THE MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR MUSIC MERCHANDISING DEAL
Just 3 years earlier Aimee was riding high on confidence when she and her business partner, James Christian, were about to sign a multi-million dollar music merchandising deal. They had a contract on the table with one of he hottest bands on the planet, a venture capitalist willing to invest $3 Million if they "proved the concept" that a band with 40 Million fans could sell a "Fashion Brand", and a team of ten people excited for the future of Modern Material. The music team was based in Los Angeles and the fashion team was based in Columbus. The business team? Well, Aimee thought they were ignorant when she was told she should estimate no more than 5,000 units for an artist with 40 Million fans on Facebook and should just be proud that her work impressed a band of that caliber. The ignorance in the music industry continued to escalate.
Aimee was livid. Back in Columbus, Ohio her job was to make millions per month for her employers if she wanted to prove her worth to the corporate machine. With a decade of experience and training by the best business man in women's fashion, Les Wexner, Aimee was baffled by the Boys Club lack of interest in making money. What woman has a closet full of expensive, cheap tour t-shirts? After a 3 year battle between good and evil, Aimee let the Trade War serve as the excuse to surrender to the misogynistic morons who would rather sell a $35 t-shirt worth $0.50 than a $500 fashion handbag or a $15 tube of lip gloss. But Aimee knew her heart didn't belong with the materialistic values of vanity. Her heart belonged with music + lyrics, but something happened between her and James Christian that couldn't be repaired.
Aimee had everything she could possibly want. A loving husband, gorgeous two bedroom townhouse in Marina del Rey and a life far from home where nobody knew her or needed her to love them. Scott was the only person she allowed herself to depend on. It was time to achieve her goals and James Christian was loved by everyone who knew him. Bingo. But James had a different sent of standards. Love, praise, adoration, and a genuine need to support talented artists. What happened to the real Aimee? The one he met at the club one night in Hollywood when the stars aligned?
After becoming a big fish in a small pond, Aimee Whitman needed to get out of Columbus, Ohio. She'd spent more than a decade working as a designer for Limited Brands and an apparel and accessories merchandising company when she accidentally became a globally recognized "fashion designer" after competing in High Ball Halloween. She was becoming obsessed with Project Runway, a competition for designers. Having grown up as a Junior Olympian in Track & Field and Cross Country since she was six years old, Aimee was eager to compete again. She failed to place in 2012 but her new best friend, Staley Munroe, a transgender woman with more talent and kindness than anyone she'd ever met, Staley inspired her to dream bigger. The runway sat high above High Street in downtown Columbus, with a crowd of more than 10,000 people watching the costume couture contest. She knew she needed to make her second entry ten times bigger for 2013 if she wanted to win.
Aimee began sketching her concept while sitting with her best friend, Christine Durant, while they were managing the Rock & Royalty by Modern Material booth at Comfest in July. With Baz Lurhman's rendition of the Great Gatsby to be released, Aimee imagined a 15 foot Hot Air Balloon encasing her model. After months of preparation, the costume was to be photographed for Columbus Alive! a few days before the event but her balloon could barely float under the heavily embellished casing she spent weeks creating. Disaster was waiting for her as she had 2 days to scramble. Then there was another roadblock from the road. The Traffic Light above High Street hung above the stage. Was it going to be an obstacle for the runway show?
TWENTY ONE PILOTS
Today Twenty One Pilots is well on their way to having Twenty One million fans. 8 years ago they had about Twenty One fans and Aimee Whitman was one of them.
In the Spring of 2011, Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun were nobodies except to their own friends and family in Columbus, Ohio. Aimee had been promoting dozens of indie bands based in New York and LA along with her online retail store, Modern Material. Her co-worker, aptly named DJ, was DJ'ing the office in Johnstown, Ohio where they worked for a Collegiate fashion brand called Campus Couture. He started telling everyone about this band who was playing at his church in New Albany. Everyone dug them, but Aimee was an avid street team representative for several artists where her mission was to get their music played on the radio or climbing the charts on VH1. These guys were the best local band she'd ever heard and she started begging her friend Jackson, from CCAD, to book them at Promowest. He said they didn't even have enough fans to play The Basement yet. Actually he said they sucked, but music is subjective, right?
While shooting a lookbook for Campus Couture, the team gathered in the apparel showroom for lunch. Tyler and Josh were sitting alone in the back of the room and not one girl was paying attention to them. They were too busy gossiping about fashion and the Kardashians, something Aimee hated to do. DJ had been playing their music for weeks and she spent hours on her commute listing to Car Radio, grateful she had a CD player in her SUV while stuck in traffic on 270 out by Easton from her daily commute from Hilliard to Johnstown, OH. She had butterflies in her stomach as she tried to find the courage to go over and sit down with them and ask them to be a part of her Modern Material promotion. To Aimee, Twenty One Pilots were already rock stars. She did not care about how much fame or fortune they had, she only cared about how their music made her feel.
After a 10 year career enslaved in a corporate cubicle, Aimee Whitman freed herself in 2013 to go freelance. She quit her jobs a total of 7 times, putting in her notice 3 times at Bath & Body Works headquarters in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. Working for someone just wasn't something she was willing to do. As an artist it felt like she was selling out, but as an athlete she felt like her wins were being awarded to someone else. Being a corporate employe and following the rules of a 9 to 5 just wasn't what Aimee was raised to do. With approximately $1 Billion in retail sales that could be accredited to Aimee's designs, her work could be spotted with people at airports, in doctor's offices, given to her as gifts and even on a pile of crap in a hoarder's house on Oprah. Seeing her designs sitting on store shelves at Target, Walmart or Petsmart began to make her angry because she knew how much money was being made each month but she couldn't even get a raise.
THE CLEVELAND INCIDENT
Trust. It's what we all require to be in a committed relationship but Aimee has serious trust issues and a fear of commitment. In October 2007 Aimee and Christine Durant went to see Pat Monahan (Train) at the Cleveland House of Blues and she had After Party tickets for helping promote the show by posting posters around the OSU Campus. She took a Modern Material t-shirt to the party to give to Pat but he was too busy she didn't give it to him after getting his autograph and photo. Instead she started talking to his bass player who began flirting with her while Christine got chummy with the cute guitar player. It was the first time in 6 months that Aimee had seen Christine happy. Her 18 year old son, Jack Christian, had committed suicide over Spring Break after being bullied by the Jocks while he was away at college.
Aimee was having fun and they were in no rush to leave because they had a hotel room at the Holiday Inn across the street in downtown Cleveland. By the end of the night the guy in the band wanted Aimee to go back to the tour bus with him while they were walking back to the hotel. She said no but he wanted them to come to the next show....in Washington DC. Seeing Christine so excited after months of unstoppable crying put Aimee into an 8 year long emotional battle between her husband Scott and Christine who began to compete for her attention and trust.
VIRAL VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR
Do you remember the day when the only way you had to worry about your stupid antics being caught on camera or tape being shelved on a VHS tape or pile of photographs? Probably not unless you're old enough to be a parent. In 1995 Aimee Whitman was goofing around in a Prom Dress when her best friend, Molly McHollister's mom snapped a photograph and developed it. Aimee walked in to school one morning to find a crowd surrounding her locker laughing. The photo was taped to her locker for everyone to see. Molly was a bit of a bully to Aimee but they had been best friends since the 4th grade when they made a pact to get jobs together. Marine Biologists. But by the 10th grade being mean girls meant something different.
Aimee always felt like she needed to keep up with Molly who pushed her off a hay stack when she was singing Hanging Tough from the rafters but if you put Molly on a track Aimee would lap her any day. So which girl won the battle? The one with the wits or the one with the will?
Molly + Aimee's 4th grade promise held true. They both graduated from Columbus College of Art & Design and got jobs at Bath & Body Works as Packaging Designers. The pair became a force since fourth graders who had so much history that nothing seemed to stop them in 2006. Playing jokes became the new job on the job as they anointed new nicknames for The Pirate and Patches McDougal. It was all in good fun but Molly + Aimee took their High School torments to photoshop.
Then there was the day that history was changed. The moment that Aimee knew Molly couldn't threaten her with becoming a celebrity worthy enough of sharing her embarrassing home videos. The video was about to kill the future of obscurity when The Evolution of Dance when viral.
"I KNOW THAT GUY!" Aimee exclaimed like Buddy the Elf just saw Santa in the mall. Aimee knew him alright. Judson Laipply was there the night she made the biggest, best mistake ever...the night she met her future husband, Scott Whitman. In fact, the first time Aimee tried to use the Internet, Jud was right there joking around like guy wearing an Orange Crush t-shirt. The SNL TAPE was the talk of the town and Aimee slotted Jud with the mission to become a cast member someday because he was so funny. What's a viral video? Probably not something two kids in a computer lab ever heard of in 1996.
THE COLUMBUS COLLEGE OF ART & DESIGN
Art School sounds fun, right? Wrong. CCAD was compared to Harvard Law when it came to workload. 3 Hours of Sleep was a good thing. In the Spring of 2000, Aimee transferred from Ohio State. She did not get into her major thanks to her roommate, Stephanie Kane, who attempted suicide in 1999. Screw Psychology and Sociology. If she couldn't save her friend, why should she try to help more people who don't want to be helped? That was Aimee's attitude during college.
Aimee joined Molly McAlister at CCAD in the Fall of 2000 where they became an unstoppable duo. Maggot Therapy? Who knows how to create a marketing campaign for blood sucking leeches better than these girls? School was fun but it required the besties to be up till 3am watching Lifetime TV shows like The Nanny and Mad About You before they got 3 hours of sleep and drove to class.
Winning the Victoria's Secret Packaging Design Competition was the crowning moment for Aimee. She only got honorable mention the year before in class but she was so determined to win that she talked her way into taking the class a second time for credit just so she could compete. Molly was her partner and they WON. Maybe Aimee had an an advantage by knowing what lost so she knew how to win.
THERE ARE POLICE IN MY BEDROOM
If you find police in your bedroom looking for evidence, you might be pretty screwed, depending on what you did. In March 1999 the Columbus Police were looking for Stephanie Kane's suicide letter. Life just wasn't worth living anymore because Aimee was spending all of her time with Scott.
"I want to talk about it but I jut can't talk about it. I've had serious thoughts of killing myself tonight. I wish I could stop this from happening. I wish I could get it out of my head but it won't go away. That's why I'm pushing the girls out of my life. If I would ever do it I don't want them to get hurt. Promise me you won't tell."
Stephanie Kane wrote Aimee Skyler a journal entry as she contemplated suicide, but that was just the beginning of the three year ordeal. Aimee was fresh out of High School after a very traumatic few years with her stepfather making the rules and Scott Whitman's fiancé threatening suicide if he left her for Aimee. They were finally free to be together but Stephanie wanted to keep them to be apart. Shannon Anderson transferred to Ohio State and wanted to get back together with Scott. Aimee was furious he met with her but her past love was about to show up too. After nearly two years apart, Chad Lyons showed up in the Toy Store in Columbus where he asked Stephanie if Aimee was working. Three people were trying to keep Aimee and Scott apart but Stephanie was the one who couldn't handle being left all alone.
Suicide was the only way out of the hell she was living in and Aimee didn't know what else she could do to save her.
No story is more tragic than that of Romeo and his Juliet, but what about the story of 1996 when the newly found romance between two runners turned into a dramatic love affair that turned the entire town upside down? A town that kept 17 year old Aimee Skyler from entering the theater to see Romeo + Juliet with her Leo-lookalike because they thought a PG-13 movie should be rated R. Love was in the air but Aimee had no intensions on settling down without a promise not to break her heart. She was looking for someone who wanted more.
In walked Scott Whitman, a 24 year old college student who had upcoming plans...to ask his girlfriend Shannon Sanderson to marry him. This story has so much destruction that nobody can even remember what happened unless Aimee Skyler printed an email from her Bluestone College address from the computer while the future Viral Video Star was showing her how to "dial up" a decade before the internet met the Evolution of Dance.
BULLIES WITH JEALOUSY WINGS
Girls are mean. Mean. Mean. Mean...if you stole their man. Aimee Skyler knows a thing or two stealing a boy engaged to be married and breaking a few boy's hearts. It was the summer of 1996 when Aimee Skyler and her friends were running town around like a rat in their cage, blasting Smashing Pumpkin's Bullet With Butterfly Wings. Her rage was wearing off from her last break ups and her own family's affairs. Love was in the summer air when she saw Chad Lyons, a blond haired, blue eyed boy she had a crush on but hadn't set eyes on in the flesh and blood in more than a year. Every girl at the Bluestone pool wanted to know how she knew this new creature but every girl in Bluestone wanted to be known by one of the most popular guys in town....Scott Whitman.
Aimee had just turned 17 when Chad left and let Scott Whitman open up the door of his apartment and the girls were about to get mean.
BROKEN HOMES + BROKEN HEARTS
Secrets, lies, betray, bullying and broken hearts...wait, didn't we already cover this story? Maybe the family values instilled in Aimee Skyler have a little something to do with her own choices when it came to lust and love. Why couldn't she just keep herself satisfied with the prefect Christian boy who tried to win her heart? Were they not a match or was she determined to chase what she wasn't allowed to have?
During the Summer of 93 Aimee + Andrew Skyler were left alone on a Norther Michigan island with a couple of friends, bikes and enough money to buy groceries and dinner. There was no curfew, they just needed to make sure they had a place to sleep so they didn't get eaten by the bears trying to walk home in the dark woods. Their dads would come home from the local bar, Chad's Place, drunk as a skunk. When their mom came up to get them she accused their dad of having an affair with a waitress. Aimee had found a wine glass with lipstick on it in their family van and knew it wasn't her mother's.
Back home the kids heard another argument through the fireplace. Their mom was having an affair too. She wanted a divorce. Dad moved out and Mom started going out. 14 year old Aimee just started dating 16 year old Shawn Cole who had a car and could get her out of there. First she had to make dinner for her 11 year old brother and 90 year old grandfather, then she could go do whatever she wanted. Nobody was home to make sure she was back by curfew.
One year later her new stepfather moved in and started making all the ground rules. HELL NO. YOU'RE NOT MY FATHER.