The contestant walks onto the runway. She tries not to trip and to ignore the stares and cheers of 200 or so shoppers at Queens Center Mall. She paces her steps, and heartbeat, to the beats in the music and tries to disguise the flush of adrenaline on her face. She stops in front of the judges and strikes a pose.
More than 50 aspiring models descended on Elmhurst on Saturday, April 3 to participate in the Sí TV & Time Warner Cable casting event for season three of the reality show “Model Latina.” The local Latina beauties all hoped they had the looks, the answers, and the attitude to impress the judges, who will choose only 15 girls from across the country for the show, which tapes in New York City this season.
“We knew we had to change the game for New York, because first of all, the competition is just much bigger,” said one of the event judges and senior vice president of programming for the network, Maria Perez-Brown. “The girls are sophisticated, they are beautiful, and they know what it takes to be a model. We knew we had to be really sharp in terms of picking them.”
The winner of “Model Latina,” in addition to cash and prizes, gets a contract with a top modeling agency and opportunities to be a host on Sí TV.
According to Perez-Brown, the key elements they looked for in potential show participants include “girls who can be in a house together and create good drama, good stories.” They of course looked at beauty and the ability to express oneself, but unlike other shows, they worried less about height or weight.
“This show is special, because it appreciates Latin curves. You can be thin or thick but you still have your curves and you stay who you are,” said Elora Perez, 20, a Rosedale resident, student and aspiring actress. “Big agencies would tell me ‘you have the height but you have to lose your curves’ and I’m not going to starve myself for nobody.”
Richmond Hill resident and mother to a three-year-old, Evelyn Rodriguez has watched “Model Latina” since the first season and her husband encouraged her to audition.
“I said, ‘You know what? Maybe I should,’” said Rodriguez, 25, a full-time makeup artist with a strong resemblance to Jennifer Lopez. “I have personality and I think I’m okay. So I let me do it. And I did it. I’m here.”
The show will continue to accept online entries until April 10 at http://www.sitv.com/model-latina-casting-call. Find out if someone from Queens made season three of “Model Latina” on Time Warner Cable channel 154.