Around this time each year, it’s customary for schools to list their senior superlatives–the funniest, most likely to succeed and best dressed.
Well, this spring Kellene McCaffrey, who will receive her bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode Island May 17, has prompted a new superlative, “best tressed.” But this is no school-based title.
Rather, it is a national honor resulting from the URI journalism major’s victory in the “Tressed to Impress” competition, which was run by Herbal Essences Hydralicious products and Glamour magazine. She won two of the three challenges in the web-based reality show to take the title. About 1,000 women applied to be in the contest.
McCaffrey is in three photos, one a full-page shot, in the May issue of Glamour, and she will have a full page in the June magazine, as well as be part of a group shot with the other two finalists.
The program’s five episodes were shown on http://www.glamour.tv/,
with McCaffrey announced as the winner in the final May 4 episode, shot at Malibu Beach. As the top finisher, McCaffrey not only won the premier magazine photo shoots, she snagged a $10,000 shopping spree in a trendy Los Angeles clothing store.
Dana Aristone, creative development director for Glamour, said McCraffey had the best sense of personal style and confidence on the set.
“You were unbelievable, (in) every frame you had so much personality,” said Aristone in the online Glamour.TV video. “The whole team was just blown away. Kellene is unbelievable in front of the camera. From the second she stepped on set, she was having a lot of fun; her face expressions, her attitude, it was coming through on each and every frame.”
The process to find the right Herbal Essences representative began with a nationwide search about six months ago. Herbal Essences Hydralicious and Glamour encouraged women to submit brief videos about themselves, including information on their families, style sense, schooling and activities.
“I heard about it from a friend who worked at Glamour who encouraged me to submit a video,” McCaffrey said.
So in November, while she was supposed to be studying for finals and getting ready for work, she shot a video.
“I was stuck in traffic on Upper College Road (in mid-December) when I got a call on my cell phone telling me I was one of the finalists,” McCaffrey said.
On Jan. 17, she arrived in Los Angeles, her first time in California, and soon met her two competitors, Alana and Jesse, two students from Iona College who had not met until their arrival in Los Angeles.
In the first challenge, they were required to choose outfits from the House of Petro Zillia and wear them in their first photo shoot. McCaffrey captured that contest, walking off with a $1,000 shopping spree.
She failed to win the IFly challenge, which tested the contestants’ knowledge of the science behind Herbal Essences Hydralicious products while being blown around in a sky diving simulator. In the final challenge, the women were paired with two fashion models and had to turn high fashion outfits into everyday wear. McCaffrey’s victory in this segment earned her a diamond encrusted amethyst necklace.
“I guess now I can officially call myself an Herbal Essences Hydralicious girl,” McCaffrey said.
But that’s not all she is. During her time at URI, she completed an internship at Zink, a New York City high fashion magazine that published her writing in four issues. She has been a member of the URI student organization, Women Offering Women Wisdom (WOWW). The former membership chair said WOWW is a mentoring program for freshmen women.
“This provides an alternative for women who are not in a sorority or other organizations,” McCaffrey said. “It’s a like a family. These are my best friends. When I won the contest, they are the ones who bragged about me.
“We do several community service projects, such as working closely with the URI Peer Advocates Program to raise awareness of domestic violence.”
The URI journalism program has been the perfect fit for her,” McCaffrey said. “It’s nice because it is a small program, and I have gotten to know all of the professors. They all have great connections.”
She said journalism instructor John Pantalone had the most impact on her.
“I had two classes with him, and he just gets you so excited about the field,” McCaffrey said. “He wants to make you that ethical journalist.”
McCaffrey is going to miss her time on campus, the kind of place where she could run into a few close friends on the Quadrangle and then be surrounded by others with the most diverse experiences. “It’s intimate and very broad at the same time. People are just so genuine here.”
So what’s next for the Glamour girl? She’ll return home for the summer, spend time with her family and maybe travel. She’s thought about modeling in the future, and hopes to become a beauty editor.
Thanks to her victory in the “Tressed to Impress” contest, she is off to a good start.
Glamour magazine’s GlamourTV is an exclusive online TV network featuring original programming.
GLAMOUR GIRL: URI student Kellene McCaffrey poses during a pause in the shooting of a video for Herbal Essences Hydralicious products. Photo courtesy of Kellene McCaffrey.