Landry Albright enters a modeling competition with her two best friends, but runs into jealousy when she advances to the next level without them. Enter the gorgeous Devon, who also makes the first cut of the modeling contest. Devon seems like the perfect new best friend, but can their friendship survive the competition? Throw in a new boy, jealousy and loyalty issues, and insults from hair stylists. How’s a girl to deal?
“Landry, they’re having modeling tryouts to be on the American Ingénue show,” Ericka said, showing me the ad she had torn out of the Grand Rapids Press. “The Ingénue judges are trying to find local teens to compete on their reality show.”
I watched every second of the last show. Talisa Milan won and got a Little Rose cosmetics contract and was on this month’s cover of Bright and Lively magazine. She was also a host on Hot Videos Now, a music video show. Melani Parkington, the runner-up, was the new spokesperson for Bouncy Hair conditioner. You were almost guaranteed to be famous if you made it to the final round of the contest.
“First you have to win in your city, and then your state, and then the regional competition,” Tori read. “Then you get to the tough part of the competition where they vote off someone new each week on national TV.”
“It’s an amazing opportunity to get discovered,” Ericka said, checking out her reflection in her spoon.
“Yeah, except for the fact the judges are known to be brutal when they’re honest. Like when they told Melani her gorgeous face was too pinched, her forehead was too low, and her eyebrows were too high,” I said. “They also told one girl she was pretty, but her lips looked like she had walked into a sliding glass door.”
“Well, they did,” Ericka said shrugging. They were holding auditions at the Perry Mall, which was the smallest mall in Grand Rapids. There weren’t a lot of stores there, so you usually just saw old people mall walking around there. Still, it had a decent bookstore and a cute clothing store, so I said I’d go watch while they tried out.
“No, we’re all trying out,” Ericka said, grabbing the ad back from me.
A lot of girls at school were talking about trying out, but most of the girls at Hillcrest were jocks. Yasmin McCarty, the most popular girl in our class with one thousand-three people on her social media friends list, could win a modeling competition, but she would never enter because it would be beneath her to stand in line and wait to be judged on her looks. She was always saying modeling and stuff was so superficial, but she was also the same girl who walked around school pretending she was freezing so the teachers would let her wear her designer hoodie over her uniform.
I dunno, maybe some girls just knew they were hot and didn’t need some TV show to confirm it. I loved watching the show, but the thought of going up there to be judged on how I looked scared me. I was afraid of the judges but even more afraid of Ericka. I knew she’d get mad at me if I didn’t try out. So while some girls were secure enough not to need strangers to tell them they were pretty, I spent the whole day trying to figure out the right outfit for my audition (and my dad wondered why my math grades sucked). I mentally went through my closet, and nothing seemed right. My clothes said American Couch Potato, not American Ingénue.
Krysten Lindsay Hager is an author and book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and also writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction. Her debut novel, TRUE COLORS, will be out June 17th from Astraea Press. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and currently resides in Southern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows.
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