Nov. 7, 2003 – Today Joette Melendez is a seventh grader at Addelita Cancryn Junior High School. Tomorrow — well, not really tomorrow, but sometime fairly soon — she could be a national celebrity.
Last summer the 12-year-old was spending her summer vacation in the normal manner, with her father, Joseph Melendez, in the Atlanta area.
While there, she decided to do something that was not normal at all: She took part in the preliminary auditions for the National Film and Fashion Board of Georgia's Model Search — and ended up placing second among the150 regional finalists. In the statewide competition, she was voted "most photogenic youth" and placed third among 80 finalists in the category of 8- to 12-year-olds.
As a result, she was awarded a one-year modeling contract with the board.
"The entire program from beginning to end felt like a dream, and it took a while to soak in," Joette said. "But now I feel wonderful. I know it is going to take a lot of hard work, but I am ready for it."
She credits her aunt, attorney Anne P. Maynard of Atlanta, who signed her up for the competition; her mother, Bernadette Melendez; and one of her teachers, Germarie Turnbull, for encouraging her to pursue an interest in modeling.
Her current contract could be the springboard to many other opportunities as she begins auditioning for jobs in the fashion and film industries. According to a release, her first tryouts will be with the famed Ford Modeling Co. of New York and The Coke Music Competition, and for parts in a couple of coming films, another "Mission Impossible" adventure starring Tom Cruise and "Catwoman" starring Halle Berry and Owen Wilson.
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