While some students spend a lot of time watching TV, one graduate student is spending her weekends preparing to be on a new local reality show called “Strut.”
Nonprofit graduate student Brintha Gardner was one of 50 women chosen to participate in a reality show about runway modeling. The show premieres Jan. 31 on AZTV, then continues starting Feb. 14.
Gardner, who was Mrs. India America 2009, said she has a history of pageant participation, so some parts of the show aren’t new to her. But she does have some concerns.
“I think it’s possible that some of the girls might be into the whole sabotage act,” she said. “Just from meeting most of the girls a few times, I’ve thought some would be capable of that sort of thing.”
The show starts with 50 girls, but after 13 weeks, there will be only 10 contestants left, according to Kivah Harris, the show’s creator and executive director.
The show is vying for a No. 2 rating, said Harris.
“If we reach No. 2 by the time we have narrowed the contestants down to 10, then VH1 will be picking up the show and it will go from local to national,” Harris said.
“Strut” will be competing against other local stations’ offerings in that same time slot.
The show has a charity angle, with each episode featuring a local or national charity like the Tonya Allen Foundation and Habitat for Humanity. Gardner said the charities were one of the reasons she was most excited about participating in the show.
“I think the charities is how the show is giving back to the community,” she said. “I also think it makes the show different though, because it’s not just about the contestants winning money.”
The winner of the show will receive $15,000. Viewers will be able to vote online for their favorite contestants and the winner of the vote each week receives an additional $1,000.
If she wins, Gardner said she will use the money to pay some of her student loans and give the rest to family members and charities, like the Phoenix Children’s Hospital where she works.
But there are other parts of the show that she finds more exciting than money.
“I’m really looking forward to being able to try on fabulous clothes and work with industry professionals,” she said. “I also am eager to find out what some of the surprises are that they have in store for us.”
Gardner’s husband, Brett Gardner, said he thinks she will be the perfect contestant for Strut.
“Brintha is a great person, beautiful, and a great role model,” he said. “She also handles adversity really well … and she’s kind and generous. That type of mold will keep her safe in whatever situation she finds herself in.”
Brintha Gardner said she thinks she has a good shot at winning. But she said she is sensitive to the fact that her religion, Hinduism, might cause some conflict.
“That’s the only thing I’m really sensitive about, but I would only get upset if someone directly attacked it,” she said.
Harris said Gardner has a good chance of winning and her morals and values are an asset, but wonders if she’ll be able to participate in all the challenges.
“None of the shoots require nudity or anything like that, but there are some that require more revealing clothing,” she said.
Brintha Gardner said she is ready and will be able to finish the show with the support of her family and friends.
“I think I have the confidence to be a real contender,” she said. “Hopefully.”
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