LV Life Editor
At some point in time, every girl dreams of seeing her face staring back at her from the pages of a well-read fashion magazine, but few attain a glimpse of a modeling career in the competitive fashion world.
Freshman Tessa Leon, a semi-finalist in the Seventeen Reader Model Contest, received her taste of glamour with an opportunity to sign a $10,000 contract with Ford Models and to go to New York for a magazine shoot.
Her radiant smile, charismatic personality, down-to-earth lifestyle and three sentences about her qualities as a potential model won her the spot.
She was one of the 17 semi-finalists that were hand-picked by the magazine’s judges out of a pool with more than 11,000 contestants.
When notified, Leon ecstatically ran up the stairs to share her unexpected surprise.
“She didn’t even think she was going to win,” said Daisha Leon, Tessa’s sister. “She’s never done anything like that before and she did it on the last day that you could turn it in.”
An ad for the contest grabbed her attention when she read the request for “average” women.
“The reason I sent it in was because they wanted normal girls,” Tessa Leon said.
On the day that she entered the contest, her horoscope predicted success and optimal results in her endeavors, but Tessa Leon never took the contest seriously.
“It was kind of a joke,” Tessa said. “Wouldn’t it be funny if I won?”
Leon now faced the task of attaining the most votes from diligent Seventeen Magazine Web site viewers.
Her distinctive smile that was surrounded by countless other photographs caught the gaze of many as she passed the first cut of the contest.
“I was voting every day, every minute. Just clicking away,” said Tessa’s boyfriend Louie Mojaro, who showed support during her brief glimpse of fame.
Unfortunately, Leon ended her model début as the ninth runner up when she was cut.
Even though this chapter in her life has passed, she continues to live through life with a with her huge grin as a psychology major at the University of La Verne.
“People are drawn to her,” Daisha Leon said. “She’s sweet and forgiving.”
Her friends and family continue to express their pride and support.
As for the future, we might see Tessa Leon’s face in another modeling contest, since she is considering to enter similar contests.
“I kind of want to because I got a little brush with it,” Tessa Leon said.
Yelena Ovcharenko can be reached at yovcharenko@ ulv.edu.