“Return to Amish”, Kate Stoltz
“Return to Amish” debuted in May 2014 on TLC as the continuation and spin-off from “Breaking Amish”, which ended in the same year. In “Breaking Amish”, five young Amish and Mennonite adults moved to New York City to explore the world outside their tight-knit communities. In many ways, the experience was similar to Rumspringa, a rite of passage which sees Amish teens spend time away from their home communities.
Several cast members of “Breaking Amish” participated in “Return to Amish”, such as Abe Schmucker, Jeremiah Raber, Kate Stoltz and Rebecca Schmucker. Kate was one of the youngest cast members at just 23 years old, and many viewers have wondered what she’s been up to since she was last seen on TV.
It’s important to note that the “Return to Amish” cast members faced difficulties upon returning to their hometowns, as they were either shunned by members of their former communities, or found it challenging to readapt to their former constrictive lifestyles. At the time of production, Kate lived in New York City; halfway through season one, she was offered a career opportunity that she couldn’t turn down, thus confirming that her decision to leave home had been the right one.
For those who haven’t watched “Breaking Amish” or its spin-off, Kate left her family in 2012, and began working as a model in the Big Apple after being signed to Major Model Management NYC. Despite participating in “Return to Amish”, it soon became evident that the brunette had no intention of returning home for good, as she was loving her new life in the city that never sleeps.
According to Kate, she always knew that she wanted to be a model, but didn’t realize how much she loved design until her move to NYC. “Getting the opportunity to work with reputable designers in Manhattan and working with all the amazing prints and fabrics is so inspiring,” she gushed in a rare interview. Kate was the middle child of seven and loved sewing, which probably inspired her later love for fashion.
In 2015, Kate enrolled into the Fashion Institute of Technology, which boasts illustrious alumni such as Michael Kors and Norma Kamali. She also interned for Jason Wu, Cynthia Rowley, the Rosa Clara Group and other leading firms in the design industry. Just two years later, she launched her own brand – Kate Stoltz NYC – and finished her studies.
One of my favorite sets on my site 💋 the Dot Tulle Appliqué Blouse and Skirt… pic.twitter.com/vQVtiiQOq5
— Kate Stoltz (@kate__stoltz) February 18, 2020
Kate Stoltz NYC sells fashion-forward cashmere products, accessories for people and pets, and trendy women’s wear. The former TV star has almost 100,000 Instagram followers, and uses her social media pages to promote her products. From delicate raffia and linen dresses to versatile silk scarves, Kate has something for everyone, having been a successful designer for over half a decade, thanks to hard work and perseverance.
Around 2014, Kate also became interested in philanthropy. She’s currently the CEO of Developing Faces, a charity that helps children and babies with facial abnormalities by providing them surgery as necessary, and aftercare. She became closely associated with the organization after meeting the co-founder, Susan Kim, and in 2015 participating in one of the charity’s first missions to Guatemala City as an administrator.
Kate doesn’t seem interested in returning to TV. During the second season of “Return to Amish”, viewers saw the Pennsylvania native get a nose job, struggle with her lack of computer skills when an intern, and fly out to Los Angeles for a highbrow fashion event. Although Kate was on her way to becoming a fan favorite, other viewers – and the cast members themselves – were turned off by what they perceived as her arrogant attitude.
Over time, Kate began distancing herself from Jeremiah and the other cast members. She was noticeably absent from Jeremiah and Carmela’s wedding, which was the highlight of season two, and chose not to renew her contract with TLC.
“Breaking Amish” Controversy
Although “Breaking Amish” made for entertaining viewing, the show’s authenticity was soon questioned when the cast members’ past came to light. For example, in episode one of the show, it was revealed that Kate had spent time in Florida and was charged with DUI. In episode three, Jeremiah revealed that he’d already been kicked out of his community three times for wearing “English”, or non-Anabaptist clothes; he had also been married in the past.
Abe and Rebecca had also led interesting lives before becoming reality TV stars, as they shared that they used to sneak out to dress in non-Anabaptist clothes, and go bowling. Abe and Rebecca had also moved away from the Amish community on at least one occasion, with Abe relocating to Kentucky and Rebecca to North Dakota. Later on, Rebecca shocked viewers after confessing that she married at the age of 18 in 2009, divorced three years later, and had a daughter.
In the twelfth episode of season one, the “Breaking Amish” cast members shared that sneaking out and dressing in “English” clothes was normal of many Amish teenagers. Although the production team was forthcoming about the cast members’ backgrounds, their honesty didn’t have the desired effect, as netizens began speculating that the whole show was scripted.
Eventually, the production team explained: “Our Amish and Mennonite producers that we hired introduced us to Amish and Mennonite men and women who were already determined to leave. They had already made the decision to go out and see the world, with or without us. They courageously allowed us to follow them on this journey.”
#longhairdontcare #roastme #deservestogetroasted
Posted by Jeremiah Raber on Wednesday, February 15, 2023
Jeremiah would also clear the air in a 2015 interview, saying that there were several types of Amish, with the more modern ones having computers, cellphones, electricity, and other modern-day comforts that aren’t typically associated with the community. Even so, viewers think that he and the rest of the cast member played up to stereotypes, and pretended to know less about technology and modern life than they did. For example, one episode saw a 30-year-old Jeremiah claiming to be using a cellphone for the first time ever, which seems unlikely for someone who left the Amish community for the first time at just 18 years old.
We’ll never really know how much of “Breaking Amish” was scripted, but for now, viewers can enjoy the franchise with the seventh season of “Return to Amish”, which was released in March 2023. An eighth season will probably be confirmed at a later date.