Aaron competed at IMTA in 1997. Here is an excerpt from The Idaho Statesman about Aaron Paul's experience at IMTA:
"Paul arrived in Los Angeles at 17 in 1997, along with thousands of kids from across the country, for the International Model and Talent Association competition. He prepared a monologue for the big showcase that draws managers and agents looking for the next big thing, but that’s not the one he delivered.
'Here I am this kid from Boise, Idaho, and I’m sitting there watching and realize that there’s no way my monologue is going to stand out,' he says. 'I knew this was my shot, and I had to do something bold, something dangerous.'
Paul went to his room and wrote his own monologue about a boy who wakes up inside a padded cell in an insane asylum. His character talks to his mother (the audience) through the hole in the door, pleading for his release. Paul knew he nailed it when hotel security showed up at his door.
The risk paid off. Paul won runner-up and signed with his first manager that day."