(Photo by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
But she and her children, Spencer, 11, and Libby, 6, of East Prairie, had no problems running around, portraying an out-of-control family in country singer Shooter Jennings' latest music video, "Walk of Life."
"It was so fun because we can't do that in the house," Spencer said. "I just wanted to get all that energy out."
Footage for the video was shot in early August at a supermarket outside of Nashville, Tenn., and the show began appearing on CMT and GAC earlier this month.
Spencer is interested in acting. So much so, he has an agent, who sent him to the audition.
"I'm pretty much looking for any kind of music videos, TV shows, anything in the entertainment business I can get my hands on," Spencer said "My dream is to be in movies with big stars, but I know it's going to take a lot of work to get to that point."
But the people in charge of casting didn't just want a child -- they needed an entire family.
"So I went and my daughter went and we auditioned with him," Cates said.
"We were to run in like the kids were out of control," she said. "We acted as uncontrollable children and their frazzled mother -- that kind of walk of life is what we were supposed to represent."
Spencer described their role as "a real country family that doesn't care how they look or where they are."
The family is shown at four different times toward the end of the music video. "I just thought 'wow, this is really great,'" Spencer recalled of the first time he saw his family in the video. "We've been watching CMT and GAC a lot just to see the video."
Cates, who taught drama at East Prairie for nine years and is also the Performing Arts Club sponsor, said she had no problem with the acting or stage fright, although she said with a laugh that she and Spencer "dragged my daughter into it."
This was Spencer's first-ever role. And he loved the experience. "The audition was so great," he said. "And I'm not bragging or anything, but I think we did a pretty good job."
Spencer was thrilled that he got to meet Shooter Jennings and shake his hand. The band also worked to make sure Spencer and Libby were comfortable and had plenty to eat and drink. "It was awesome," Spencer said.
The director and others involved also gave lots of tips to the two children to help calm any fears.
"They were wonderful to my children," Cates agreed. "They really went out of their way."
Although Cates said she enjoyed being able to share Spencer's experience on his first job, she hopes that will be the only time she's involved."I like my job," she said. "I like being a teacher."
The video can be viewed online at cmt.com.