HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Tune in to the Food Network channel Monday night. Feb. 10th at 8 p.m. and you'll see Olivia Altidor, an eighth-grader at Hillsborough Middle School, in front of the camera with other Girl Scouts as bakers whip up desserts made with Girl Scout cookies.
You'll see her working with the contestants, offering advice on how to create a dessert that will appeal to the public.
"We were there to give them pointers," she said, "to help them sell.their desserts to the public.o help them sell."
The 30-minute "Girl Scout Cooking Championship" segment also includes Girl Scout trivia.
Soon to be 14 years old, the Cadette scout is a modern-day poster girl for all that the Girl Scouts have to offer in an increasingly diverse and dynamic world.
An active member of Troop 60640, she became a Brownie when she was seven, and soon, as do all girls in the national organization, she began to sell Girl Scout cookies.
"Girl Scout cookies are my favorite thing in the entire world," she said.
And while Girl Scout cookies are a constant, her focus has gone beyond camping, weekly troop meetings, other activities and earning badges; she also helps the Girl Scouts market themselves as a member of the elite "Media" Scouts," who are called on to make high-profile public appearances in the community, on radio and television.
That's what led to the opportunity to audition for the Food Network show.
Try-outs are something she is used to, having started her career as a child actress at the age of four.. She has appeared on "Sesame Street" and done commercials for TV and radio.
From learning how to make smoothies - "that was awesome" - learning about nutrition, building bird houses to meeting top executives of Fortune 500 companies and participating at an international conference at the United Nations, Altidor is grateful for her experiences as a Girl Scout.
"They have given me a lot of opportunities I would never have gotten otherwise," she said. "Girl Scouts has taught me a lot about business, marketing and salesmanship, things like that of value and I'm really grateful for that."
She began her "Media Scout" duties less than three years ago. Her first experience was on the Eric Dawson talk radio show on 97.1 FM in Newark where she and several other elite Girl Scouts talked about their experiences.
"I was nervous, it was nerve-wracking, but it went well and I had a great time," she recalls.
That was followed by a tour of the Goya Foods headquarters in Secaucus, held in conjunction with a Girl Scout program on healthy food choices and food insecurities jointly sponsored by Goya.
"We took pictures and met new friends; you meet so many people and get so much exposure, I love it so much,"Altidor said. Girl Scouts are such a tight community."
She also found time to work with the girls in her troop on their Bronze Award, building bird houses.
"We noticed a lot of the habitat was being replaced with industrial buildings, and trees were being cut down; we thought it would be a great idea to build the bird houses, and we learned a lot about the environment," she said.
The girls are now poised to work on their Silver Award; one idea Altidor has embraced is an effort to educate the community about recycling and removing plastic disposable items from daily use and replacing them with ecologically-friendly alternatives.
She met Alicia Tillman, the Chief Marketing Officer of software developer SAP in New York City during a Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion conference during Black History Month last year.
More recently, she has helped with food preparation at local nursing homes and was recognized as a "Media Girl Scout" with others at the First Baptist Church in Somerset. She attended a conference in Jersey City to kick off the marketing campaign for the Girl Scouts' newest cookie, Lemon Ups.
In October, several "Media Scouts" including Altidor, participated in the United Nations International Day of the Girl at UN headquarters in New York City. The group spent two months rehearsing a presentation that featured readings from poems and short essays written by people around the world.
"The whole point was to speak up for girls who don't get the opportunity," she explained. "We promoted the importance of speaking out and the empowerment of equality,"
Altidor was asked what lessons she has learned from the Girl Scouts and her acting career.
"That's a hard question," she said, pausing for a few seconds before responding.
"I love them equally. They provide different experiences. The Girl Scouts teach life skills, things you'll use your whole life," she said. "Acting provides different lessons. I've gotten a tough skins because you don't always get the role you want, there's a lot of competition and a tough skin is a good thing to have.
"Acting also teaches you to be quick on your feet," she added. "You might have to improvise, go off script."
On average, Altidor said she auditions at least twice a month, sometimes more and hinted that there will be "more to come, soon,".
Altidor will be 14 on Feb. 17th.
Her proud parents are Kimberly and Rhaso; she has a younger sisiter, Gigi.