March 17, 2001

The JCPenney Hispanic Designers Model Search could be the ticket to fashion runways and magazine covers for a select group of young Hispanic men and women. Now in its 13th year, the model search is under way this month in 20 JCPenney markets in the United States, Puerto Rico and Mexico. The registration deadline is May 5.

Previous Model Search winners have springboarded to successful careers in modeling and acting. A 1999 national winner, Denise Quinones, was recently named Miss Puerto Rico Universe 2001, and a 2000 national winner, Jenniffer Casillas, won a competition to grace the cover and a feature spread in Puerto Rico's leading fashion magazine.

Thousands of young men and women are expected to participate in this year's search, and 40 semifinalists -- two in each market -- will be selected to compete in the exciting final competition in Dallas on Aug. 17. American Airlines, the official airline of the JCPenney Hispanic Designers Model Search, will provide air transportation for the semifinalists to the national competition.

At the finals, two national winners, one male and one female, and two runners-up will be selected based on their accomplishments, educational and career goals, and performances in personal interviews and a runway fashion show before a panel of judges and a live audience.

Hispanic Designers, Inc. and JCPenney will award $2,500 scholarships to the national winners and $1,500 scholarships to the runners-up. National winners will also receive a $1,000 JCPenney wardrobe, plus other gifts, and runners-up will receive a $500 JCPenney wardrobe.

The national winners also have the opportunity to participate in the Hispanic Designers, Inc. annual gala and fashion show this fall in Washington, D.C.

The model search is open to young men and women of Hispanic descent between the ages of 16 and 21 who are currently enrolled in high school or an institution of higher learning and who have not modeled professionally. Applications can be obtained at JCPenney department stores in 20 participating markets:

Dallas/Fort Worth
El Paso
Leon, Mexico
Los Angeles/San Diego
McAllen/Brownsville/Harlingen (Texas)
Mexico City
Monterrey, Mexico
New Jersey/New York
Orlando, Fla.
San Antonio
San Francisco/San Jose
Washington, D.C.

"Participating in the Model Search can be a very positive experience and a confidence-builder for a young man or woman," said Vicki Lynn Cartwright, Hispanic Model Search Director for JCPenney. "Not only do the winners earn scholarships, but all the participants have an opportunity to learn something about the fashion business, modeling, and most importantly, themselves."

"The event keeps getting better and better," said Penny Harrison, president of Hispanic Designers, Inc. "We're especially thrilled when we see our winners develop their talents here and go on to land major opportunities in fashion and entertainment."

Hispanic Designers, Inc. (, founded in 1984, is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to recognizing and nurturing Hispanic talent within the fashion industry. Proceeds from the annual gala and fashion show help to fund scholarships for Hispanic students.

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