After earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Liberty University, alumnus Kimberly (Yeager) Miller (‘97,’99) didn’t pursue a traditional career. Miller is a ventriloquist, magician and sign language interpreter, and also holds the title of Mrs. Ohio 2010.
Now Miller’s talents have earned her a spot on the big screen. She is one of the highlighted performers in DUMBSTRUCK, a feature documentary on ventriloquism being released this month in theaters across the country. Miller is one of five ventriloquists in the cast, which includes “America’s Got Talent” winner Terry Fator. The film has already garnered many awards at film festivals. Filmed in 2006-07, DUMBSTRUCK makes its theatrical world premiere in Atlanta on April 15.
Miller said she taught herself ventriloquism and was coached by a pastor she met while attending Liberty. She began working in churches and other venues doing magic and ventriloquism while a student at Liberty. This was also when she began to master sign language and worked part time as an interpreter for Liberty’s deaf ministry in classes and weekly convocations.
“All of my God-given talents is what allowed me to pay my way through college,” Miller said.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1997 and a master’s degree in counseling in 2000.
During her later years as a Liberty student, Miller also became involved in pageantry and was named first runner-up in the Miss Virginia USA Pageant in 2000 and a top 5 finalist of the Miss Ohio pageant. She has used ventriloquism as her official talent in competitions.
She said she never won pageants back then, but was able to earn enough award money at preliminary competitions, such as the Miss America Community Service Award, to pay for her master’s degree.
As a senior in high school, Miller attended College For A Weekend at Liberty, an event for high school students to check out what Liberty offers, and grew confident this was where she was meant to attend.
“I just fell in love with [Liberty],” she said. “God just gave me peace that this is where I needed to be.”
Among her many other talents, Miller was a majorette in high school. She knew she wanted to continue baton twirling at the college level, however, Liberty did not offer a twirling program. After meeting Dr. Jerry Falwell, Sr., this all changed.
“He put his arm around me and walked me up to [the band director] and he said, ‘Let this girl twirl in the band.’”
Following graduation, she turned some of her talents into a career, becoming a certified sign language interpreter and also a professional ventriloquist with an entertainment company, which she has been with for 10 years. She performs at parties, corporate events and churches with her fun characters, combining educational topics and humor to deliver an inspirational message to children and adults.
One of her shows, “Come Out of Your Shell and Get Well,” includes Tony the Turtle and is focused on combating childhood obesity.
Miller said her goal is to have a children’s television show with magic and puppets. She has already made national television appearances on The History Channel and 60 Minutes.
She has also had many opportunities to use entertainment as a ministry, she said.
“You can share the gospel with hundreds of children through a puppet and magic trick — they’ll listen to every word the puppet says.”
Miller currently lives in Wooster, Ohio with her husband, Brooks, a graduate of West Point and an Iraqi war veteran.