Most reality/talent-show contestants have earned their spots on TV by waiting on line for hours, doing their thing for some judges, and schlepping out to Los Angeles. But when Smartwater ("Hydration you can feel!") sponsored an America's Next Top Model audition in a Chelsea club last night, there was one more step: The eight tri-state finalists gathered at Stereo also had to flack the product — even posing with a bottle of the stuff — in hopes being sent west. They'd arrived at eleven in the morning for hair, makeup, and, one assumes, some Smartwater brainwashing. And it took. By the time the event started at 8 p.m., nearly every word from the girls touted the water's substance and style.
The actual competition was short and sweet: The girls took a quick trot down an impromptu runway, posed with water bottles, and answered some questions from the emcee. How would you describe your personal style, he asked 25-year-old Damaris deJesus. "I'll give you four words," she replied. "Crazy, sexy, and cool." The winner was 21-year-old Rasheena Thomas, a Hofstra student and special-ed aide. She gets the trip to L.A. and also spa treatments and dinner at Ono, Jeffrey Chodorow's Gansevoort Hotel extravaganza. Thomas's family was thrilled with her victory. Her dad jumped up when her name was called. "We're going to Uno's," he yelled. "We're going to Uno's!" —Jocelyn Guest