You know when you know you have “it”, nothing else matters

Let me first say, I absolutely would do anything for Tia Guice and Beatrice Jean.

Last weekend Tia and Beatrice participated in the 2011 Leesburg Bikefest. Bikers from all over come to show off their best motorcycles, check out motorcycle vendors and meet and talk about motorcycles. In between all of that, there are a couple of swimsuit competitions, sponsored by various companies both locally and nationally.

Annually, not many if any women of color are involved. I found out about the event by accident. One of the coordinators had contacted Majeedah G of Tennessee about it. Majeedah couldn’t go, so told me and gave me the persons contact info. I called and asked some questions, did some research, then I sent an email to some of the ladies in Florida to see who would be interested in attending the audition. Three hit me back, Tia Guice, Beatrice Jean and Anna Maria.

Tia and Beatrice ended up being selected. This was Anna’s first audition ever, and tho not selected many did like her. Be sure to read about all three ladies experience under “Testimonies” from a week ago. Once selected, had to make sure that they were prepped and ready for what they had to do. There were two categories (biker wear and swimsuit). Tia was to compete Friday, Beatrice on Saturday. I made sure that they had everything clothing wise, rooming arrangements were made, helped prep on possible questions asked on stage, etc.

I arrived in Ocala Friday morning around 6:30am. Tia arrived in Ocala around 3pm or so. We then left to go to Leesburg to check into hotel. Thanks to Vonda (coordinator) we snagged a great rate, for all the hotels were full and were charging extra. We get to our room and it is very very nice. I joked the rest of the day and night and next morning how I was going to steal everything there (shower head, coffee maker, the stove, the microwave, the full size fridge, all 5 pillows on my bed, the bed, the bedspread and the tv). I change clothes, and she shows me the outfits that she put together and tries them on for me. Once I saw her biker outfit and her swimsuit, I was very confident on her chances. After having a pre show toast (which is our new ritual at this point. this time consisting of Remy and root beer), we gathered up everything and headed to the location.

We get there around 7pm. Her event started at 8pm, so she went to trailer to change. I went to stage area where a pretty decent band was playing. There was a huge crowd, but there was a gate to separate them. But if you were vip, you had access. So that’s where I was, close and personal.

The girls come out in their first outfits (Biker outfits was the first competition for Ms Bikefest). They took pics in the VIP room, then were escorted on stage. The MC, a local guy from an Orlando TV station, introduced the girls one by one. As each came on stage I was like “no, no, no,” in my end in regards to who could match Tia in her current attire and body. Out of the 11 girls, I thought 4 were decent, which to me meant Tia should at least place.

After the biker outfit competition, the girls changed into their swimsuits. Now at the hotel I mentioned before that I saw her outfits already and knew she was hot. So when the same girls came on stage again, I just knew she had them beat. Many looked much older than they probably would claim, others looked like they were on some kind of drug, others, just looked like others..

Mind you, I was in the audience the entire time, so I got to hear how the audience responded to each girl coming out, doing her presentation, answering questions, and walk off. If we were simply going by that, Tia should’ve placed. If we were just going by who had the best body in a swimsuit, Tia should’ve placed. Unfortunately, they weren’t going by that somehow. Tia did not place or win.

Lack of experience counts when you do certain things for the first time. But this wasn’t one of those times. The questions asked were not brain teasers, and nobody was having to backflips or other athletic moves (not counting the girl who just had to do splits like she was at Magic City). So yes, Tia was disappointed. There was a strong rumor that someone paid for one of the girls to place, so hearing that didn’t make things better. After she changed, instead of hanging around, when ended up leaving. But before that happened, Tia had several people walk up to her to say how well she did and how nice she looked and how they felt she should’ve done better.

But there was a moment that I won’t forget for a long time. I young girl, maybe 12 or 13 was standing on the side. Her father got our attention. He said that she wanted to meet Tia. The girls mother actually was in the competition as well. But she wanted to meet Tia and say how well she did. Now to put things in perspective, not many women of color participate in Leesburg Bikefest. There isn’t a large African American population there. So to see women of color of any kind and for them to be pretty is something new for this event. I could tell Tia was a little emotional, but she handled herself very well.

After leaving, we decided to stop and eat since everything apparently “fast food” closes after sundown… We pull up to Applebee’s to grab a bite. Now initially I had Tia change back into her biker outfit so we could walk around downtown Leesburg and pass out cards, and to make it kinda obviously the judges made a mistake. But since we didn’t, Applebee’s was able to get a little bit of Bikefest up close and personal.

As soon as we walk in (now Tia did say she looked like a hooker, off course I said she didn’t, but maybe she did jussssst a small bit, but she looked good, I didn’t care), people asked, “Did you win??”. One said how he can’t understand what the judges were doing, but she was better than everybody.

After we sit down, we talk some. Tia is still upset, but I begin explaining the whole situation, and reminded her about how the public responded. This was an experience she’s never had before, and will be able to use it to her advantage in the future. Plus, she did enjoy herself, and since it was videoed and plenty of images taken, it will be media we’ll be able to use in the future as well. We went through the menus and she recommended what to munch on. The waitress was really cool, somehow bringing me “2” drinks tho I only ordered one (fill in the blank if you can). Afterwards we decided to cap off the evening by mixing some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream with Remy Martin and A&W root beer.

The next day Beatrice was to get to town. She was to compete in the Ms Gator Harley competition. This took place at the actual Harley Davidson dealership, which they had setup with tents, vendors, etc. Only 5 girls were competing, which to me increased the odds of Beatrice in placing or winning a whole lot. As with Tia’s competition, there was to be a biker outfit round and swimsuit round. Now the crowd at this competition was a little different from the night before. Older, gruffer, I wondered how they would take it once the girls got on stage.

One thing, it was burning up hot. So you had a lot of people under the tent to cool off. Many were there to eat food, so nobody was going anywhere once they announced the ladies would be coming. With only 4 other girls to compete with, showing individualism was going to be very important. When it was time for Beatrice to step on stage, she did just that, but wowing the crowd with a few dance moves and model poses all at the same time. The audience was “loud” and the judges seemed pretty impressed.

The bikini round was even more impressive, because she couldn’t be in more perfect shape. I always joke with the ladies about glistening in baby oil, well this time, it was appropriate. The oohs and ahhs and whistles from the crowd again would seem to show most favor with Beatrice. But, when it came to the results, she did not place or win. Just like Tia, after she came off stage a bunch of people walked up to her to say how they thought she should have won and how pretty she was. After gathering her things to go to the next and final competition, motorcycle riders exclaimed how she was robbed and how she won no matter what the judges had decided.

There was about a two hour wait before the last competition started. The MC was a bit different. He wasn’t so much lewd, but he was definitely crude. This also was apparantly where the actual bike competition was to be held, because about $10 million dollars worth of motorcycles were lying around. As with the previous competitions, there was a biker outfit round and a swimsuit round. It was sweltering hot by the time the competition started, which might have effected the crowds a little bit, but it was still packed. As each girl was introduced, you could again see vast differences between the ladies and Beatrice. When it got to be Beatrice’s turn to be introduced, she once again showed her attitude and spunk. The MC made mention of this twice, the second time prior to her coming out in her swimsuit. He also mentioned how this was the first time in 6 years that they had different models actually competing.

But despite all of that, despite the crowd booing at some points on different ladies being presented as “winners”, Beatrice wasn’t able to place.

When it gets down to it, a lot of people were able to see beauty for what it is. Apples and Oranges, when you are fine, you are fine, doesn’t matter the color. This being a competition, nothing was guaranteed of course. But in this case, I was pretty sure we were going to leave with a bit o cash. Even tho we didn’t, I was still very pleased with how both ladies conducted themselves, how the crowds took them, how all involved in the event took to them, etc. It proved that when you are put in the public eye, if you really have a talent, it will shine.

Both Tia Guice, Beatrice Jean and any of the other beautiful women that I work with deserve respect for making decisions to pursue goals in modeling or acting. They deserve respect for the hard work they put into it, the sacrifices that they make, and knowing that since they are not willing to sell their souls to “fast track” their way to stardom, everything won’t happen overnight.

Yet, many are ignored, chastised, even sometimes threatened to “do whatever” to make it. As long as I’m around and they want me to, I won’t allow that to happen.

If you don’t want to settle on who you select for your projects, consider contacting me. I have everybody you could want and what I don’t have, I can find. I have talent, and they know they’re talented and that counts more than anything else…

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