Mall Contestants Put On Their Game Face – QNS.com

Mall Contestants Put On Their Game Face

Its hard to put a face on the most diverse county in the country. So the organizers of Queens Center Malls latest "I Am" contest will pick up to 20 faces to get the job done.
The campaign, which is part of the second and final phase in the shopping centers $275 million revitalization, held tryouts Aug. 19 and 20 to choose the Queens residents they believe best represent the "spirit and diversity" of the borough. The chosen few will appear in print, television and mass transit advertisements for the mall corresponding with its official re-opening in November.
And while it isnt exactly fame and fortune, the chance to represent their home borough was enough fuel for many of the hundreds of would-be "faces," some of whom arrived at the mall bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 7 a.m. Friday long before most stores pulled up their gates for the day.
"I would be so honored [to be chosen]," said 19-year-old Shadelle Fields. "Im fun and energetic and I like to make people laugh." The Forest Hills resident said she was currently training to work at the U.S. Open next week and added that she thought Queens was a very peaceful place.
Then there was Linque Ayoung, who surprised the judges by busting out a rap to conclude her audition.
"I love poetry and I love hip-hop, which is the voice of the inner city and young people," Ayoung said. The 34-year-old artist from Corona added that she came to the mall that morning "spur of the moment," believing that "synchronicity" pulled her there. She said she loved the authenticity of Queens and likened the borough to her favorite art form:
"Hip-hop struggled to create a name for itself just like Queens is trying to do," Ayoung said. "And hip-hop made it."
Joseph Guillen was also trying to make it.
"Ive been on other casting calls and its something thats hard to stay with," said Guillen, 19, of Woodside. "If I made it here it could open up a lot of other opportunities for me." The recent Bryant High School graduate had a wide smile during his audition and said that its the people that make Queens a great place to live.
Then there were those contestants who just really like the mall.
"Itd be fun [to represent Queens Center] because my wife and I enjoy coming to this place," said 34-year-old Miguel Centeno of Rego Park. The director of marketing for the U.S. Small Business Administration says hes always doing radio, TV and newspaper interviews for work, so hes not in it for that.
"It would be nice to do something like that for me and not for work," Centeno said. "My wife, Eugenia, and I have had a lot of fun times here." Centeno moved to Queens from the Bronx 10 years ago because, he said, "you can find everything and everyone here."
Just not one face to represent it all.
E-mail this reporter at editrich@queenscourier.com .

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