June 12, 2013 | Borough of Manhattan Community College
When walking through Times Squares, tourists and locals alike are exposed to a plethora of colorful billboards. Some ads rotate, some blink, some are attached to a landmark…
And some feature BMCC students.
Krystal Garner graduated from BMCC in 2007 and then studied international business at SUNY Old Westbury, before pursuing her modeling and acting career.
Gradually making her way through the modeling world, she was recently featured on an animated Times Square billboard for the American Heart Association. The same billboard was also featured on subway ads throughout New York City and Long Island.
“My first billboard is for the Healthy Heart Campaign. Heart disease is waging a war against women and I love that in the ad I’m wearing red war paint underneath my eyes, fighting against heart disease,” she says. “This is an important health issue and I’m glad to be a part of the message. I live my life as a humanitarian; I’m always giving back whenever I can.”
Where it began
Garner’s face lights up when she talks about her alma mater. She credits BMCC for making her a leader.
“I studied Liberal Arts, which challenged my mind in different areas and set the foundation for my four-year school,” she says. “I was also on the women’s basketball team. I loved attending BMCC because the college molded me into a powerful young woman and made me the person I am today.”
At BMCC, Garner was Student Government Association (SGA) president and spoke at a commencement ceremony.
“I was only 18 when I was elected into SGA, and served as one of the youngest female presidents,” she recalls. “My SGA administration organized a trip to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina where a bunch of us BMCC students helped in relief efforts. It was an emotional experience and taught me that my purpose and passion in life is to help others. I started my first student club at BMCC, Visionaries Society, which focused on personal leadership development.”
Adds Garner: “In the SGA office is a plaque honoring the student volunteers who helped after Hurricane Katrina and I’m so proud that my name is on it. Volunteering in that way is one of my greatest BMCC memories.”
Pursuing her dreams
Entering the real world post-college, Garner—who stays in contact with Harry Mars, BMCC’s Director of Student Activities—worked briefly in an office, but decided it wasn’t for her.
“My mother always wanted to be a model, but never really pursued it, and people often asked me if I modeled,” she says. “My sister wanted to be an actress, so in a way I’m living out their dreams.”
Curious about the industry, Garner connected with a manager in Manhattan and decided to give modeling and acting a try—with some lucky breaks along the way.
Over the years, she has been featured in various commercials—including one for Blackberry Web—TV shows and runway shows. amNew York newspaper recently featured her in a full-page advertisement for Le Metric Hair.
Garner looks forward to a busy summer of acting, modeling, and volunteering in her community.
“Dreams are real,” she says. “When you go against all the odds and have everyone doubting you, you have to keep going. Once you believe in yourself and believe you have the talent, you’ll achieve it.”