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Underdog Rosedale resident takes Si TV modeling prize

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Elora Perez, a Queens native with no previous modeling experience, emerged victorious last month in Si TV’s reality competition show “Model Latina.”

“I enjoyed it, but it was also intimidating because most of the other girls had modeling experience,” the Rosedale resident said. “I was definitely the long shot.”

The show was shot in New York this season after previous stints in Miami and Los Angeles, and Perez told the TimesLedger in an interview before the season premiere in August that the home-field advantage was part of what spurred her to take a chance on modeling.

Though she lives in Queens, she told the TimesLedger she felt like she was representing all of New York, as she went to school on Long Island and was raised by grandparents in Manhattan, while her parents ran a restaurant in Brooklyn. But Queens is where her heart is.

“Queens is very real and full of very real people,” she said. “Queens keeps you grounded. I love where I live.”

Perez edged out two other finalists in the show’s final episode, winning the top prize of $25,000 and a contract with Q Model Management. Her surprise success has turned her on to the career she never even contemplated before and led to an outpouring of optimism from the 20-year-old.

“Now I want to have a modeling career and to eventually be an actress,” she said. “Winning ‘Model Latina NYC’ has changed my entire outlook on life. I am exercising more and eating healthier. Now I know I can do something with my life and I want to make the most of the opportunity that I have been given.”

Previous “Model Latina” winners have appeared in ads for L’Oreal, Chase, Reebok, Sephora and Spike TV, among others.

Maria Perez-Brown, Sí TV’s senior vice president of programming and development, said Elora “will be a wonderful representative of Model Latina, Sí TV and young, aspiring Latinas across the country.”

Another Queens native, East Elmhurst’s Sally Ferreira, was also a contestant on “Model Latina” this season.

Updated 6:17 pm, October 10, 2011
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