By Antonia Morales
Two Queens natives are fighting for the title and the honor of being the next “Model Latina” on the Si TV series of the same name.
“Model Latina” is a show about 15 aspiring models competing for a modeling contract and other prizes. They are judged and coached by professionals in the modeling industry to prepare them for challenges.
“It’s a typical competition in many ways,” said Maria Perez -Brown, senior vice president of programming and development. “What sets ‘Model Latina’ apart is it’s not enough to be beautiful. Beauty is just the start.”
This is the show’s third season and this year it is set in New York City.
“We wanted to do a different city,” said Perez- Brown. “I knew New York City itself would be a character on the show.”
This season will also feature two young woman who grew up in Queens. Both women attended the auditions held in April at the Queens Center Mall.
Sally Ferreira, who was born and raised in East Elmhurst, has been a dancer and performer her whole life, but just recently became interested in modeling. But she did recall enjoying the spotlight.
“I would always love to be in front of the camera,” she said.
While researching on the Internet, she came across the audition information for “Model Latina.” She is very happy she took advantage of the opportunity.
“Everyday we learn something,” said Ferreira. “I was already in the industry, but I learned so much more. You learn from each culture. The girls all have different backgrounds. I took something from each.”
Perez-Brown said that Ferreira represented a unique aesthetic. While still very beautiful, she is different from the other girls because she doesn’t have the height of a typical model. However, she said Ferreira has a great personality.
“Sally is short, but when she talks you think she is the tallest girl in the room,” said Perez- Brown.
Unlike Ferreira, Elora Perez, who is from Rosedale, felt like the underdog.
She only heard about the auditions in the nearby mall by chance and decided to go for it. With no prior experience and a very quiet demeanor, Perez didn’t think she had a shot.
But Perez-Brown knew she had something special to add to the group.
“She’s more soft-spoken,” Said Perez-Brown. “But she’s strong in a quiet kind of way.”
Luckily, Perez felt more comfortable knowing she had a home field advantage by joining the show in New York City.
“When you live in New York, you know it like the back of your hand,” she said. “If I had been the underdog and in a city I didn’t know, it would have been really bad.”
Even though she lives in Queens, Perez went to school on Long Island, was raised by grandparents in Manhattan, and her parents had a restaurant in Brooklyn. So she felt she represented all parts of New York, not just Queens.
But she still has a lot of respect for her borough.
“Queens is very real and full of very real people,” said Perez. “Queens keeps you grounded. I love where I live.”
The show, which premiered Aug. 2, airs every Monday at 9 p.m. on Si TV.