As seen on TV

Local woman on ‘America’s Next Top Model’


Renee Bhagwandeen is living the dream. Her dream — of being on America’s Next Top Model.

“I wish my grandmother could be alive to see this,” says the local looker of the show premiering 8 p.m. Friday on the CW. “It’s an opportunity I never would have expected.”

The Trinidad and Tobago native, who came to South Florida at the age of 6, has admired ANTM host, supermodel Tyra Banks, as long as she can remember.

“I’m a big, big Tyra fan,” says Bhagwandeen, who went to South Plantation High School. “When you meet her you’re just like, ‘Seriously? You’re kind of friggin’ awesome.’ Everything you expect her to be and more.”

This season of ANTM is a little different: The wannabes are both male and female. Though the contestant can’t reveal too much of what went down in the two-gender competition, it should make for some interesting television.

“I don’t think any cycle has anything on our cycle,” Bhagwandeen promises. “It’s like nothing that I’ve ever seen before, and I mean that in a good way.”

Bhagwandeen joins fellow local, Chlea Ramirez, who lives in Coconut Grove. The two became instant buds.

“We’re South Florida girls. We’re happy to be alive and happy for the opportunities we have. We bonded because of that,” says Bhagwandeen, adding: “And we’re both Libras. We love everybody.”

To stay runway ready, Bhagwandeen climbs stairs at a track near her Lauderdale Lakes home, and thanks her blessings for good genes.

“I guess I’m one of the lucky ones,” she says. “I could be more toned, but I’m getting there. The older I get I realize working out is important.”

Especially if you like hot dogs as much as she does. With full-on bun. “Oh my gosh. You have to have the bread! That’s like taking away the love.”

The former pageant princess boasts that she can eat whatever she wants and not gain weight.

“My weakness is if I see something I really, really want, I say to myself, ‘I deserve that!’ I’m like a pregnant lady. I’m just into food, period. It’s so bad.”

Goals after the show include acting and appearing on the cover of Vogue, especially if she wins (the prizes: a contract with NEXT, a spread in Nylon, a campaign with Guess and a cool $100,000).

Then again, if the whole modeling thing doesn’t work out, Bhagwandeen has other, less glamorous aspirations: owning a food truck.

“I’d make crazy friggin’ hot dogs and experiment with weird toppings. That would be the best job ever. ”

Madeleine Marr

Read more People stories from the Miami Herald

  • As seen on TV

    Peter Funt and Mayim Bialik keep ’em smiling on TV Land’s ‘Candid Camera’

    Before prankster hidden camera shows like Punk’d, The Jamie Kennedy Experiment, Practical Jokers and even America’s Funniest Home Videos, there was the grandpappy of them all: Candid Camera.

  • Celebrity birthdays on Sept. 1

    Comedian-actress Lily Tomlin is 75. Singer Archie Bell is 70. Singer Barry Gibb is 68. Talk-show host Dr. Phil McGraw is 64. Singer Gloria Estefan is 57. Singer-musician Grant Lee Phillips (Grant Lee Buffalo) is 51. Country singer-songwriter Charlie Robison is 50. Rap DJ Spigg Nice (Lost Boyz) is 44. Actor Scott Speedman is 39. Rock musician Joe Trohman is 30.

Andre 3000 of Outkast performs on stage at Wireless Festival at Finsbury Park on July 6, 2014 in London, United Kingdom.

    In the spotlight

    Andre 3000 of Outkast channels Jimi Hendrix

    Since April, André 3000 has been on the road, traveling from festival to festival with his old partner Big Boi to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut album as Outkast. And on Sept. 26, he’ll star, under his original name, André Benjamin, as Jimi Hendrix in Jimi: All Is by My Side, a biopic about the year just before Hendrix’s breakthrough, when he moved to London, underwent a style transformation and squared off against Eric Clapton.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category