Chico’s ‘top model’ taking next step

SMILE FOR THE CAMERA!<br>Michelle Love didn’t plan to try out for <i>America’s Next Top Model</i>, but the 19-year-old “Butte Valley girl” secured a spot in the final audition.

Michelle Love didn’t plan to try out for America’s Next Top Model, but the 19-year-old “Butte Valley girl” secured a spot in the final audition.

Photo By Evan Tuchinsky

Michelle Love was grabbing a sandwich with a friend when she was approached about trying out for America’s Next Top Model. A casting crew had come to Chico, in case the North State held the next face to grace billboards and magazine covers, but Love hadn’t given serious thought to the TV audition.

She was second-to-last of more than 120 women who came out for the open casting call March 6 at Giada Salon. She didn’t have the required photos with her, so she had to take them once she arrived … in a bra and thong.

She thinks that lack of preparation may have worked in her favor, though: “The girls there were so prepared—it was a little too much. I think it was refreshing for them to see me come in on a whim.”

Whatever the reason, the judges were impressed enough to select Love for the final auditions in Los Angeles this weekend.

The other 120-something can go, too—it’s an open call, just like in Chico. But Love and the winners of the other 12 casting calls nationwide will get the privilege of skipping to the front of the line, said Nancy Bruton of Chico-Redding’s CW 10, which airs the show.

If selected in this audition, Love will be guaranteed an appearance on the first episode of America’s Next Top Model‘s 11th cycle.

“My family doesn’t even get the CW channel, but they said if I’m selected they’ll splurge,” she said, laughing.

Michelle Love is 19 and lives with her family in Chico. She graduated from Chico High and attends Butte College while working at the Tropitana tanning salon on Mangrove. She is working on completing her general education requirements so she can transfer to a college in the Bay Area.

She has no modeling experience but her older sister modeled for a while, and she’s excited about the possibility of breaking into the business. Regardless of whether she gets selected, she thinks her trip to L.A. will be a great way to network.

“Even if you don’t make it on the show, you still meet those people, which is a huge help and a great opportunity,” Love said.

By “these people,” she means model-turned-TV host Tyra Banks and the other judges, whom she’s excited to meet. Modeling may have been “my sister’s thing,” but America’s Next Top Model is her thing, too.

“I thought it was hilarious when Janice Dickenson was on there because she was so mean and you could totally tell Tyra was not into it,” Love said. “Miss J seems fabulous—all of the judges seem fabulous.”

But the draw of the show is not limited to the judges. The competing models get into squabbles, and Love admits that if she gets selected for the show, she’ll very likely play a part in the drama.

“You know, you’re stuck in a house with a bunch of girls,” Love said. “I’d probably get into that kind of stuff, too.”

And if she were to stick around a few weeks, she’s prepared for the makeover round. Love says she would not complain about her blonde locks being dyed any color—after all she is a natural redhead.

“They just better not shave my head.”