St. Thomas model still in the running on TV show 'The Face'


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ST. THOMAS - Felisa Wiley has made it to the top four modeling contestants on season two of the Oxygen Network's reality show "The Face" and is in the running for the title of fan favorite.

Wiley, a 19-year-old Antilles graduate from St. Thomas, was chosen from hundreds of applicants to be one of 12 aspiring models seeking to represent Frédéric Fekkai, a hair care line.

The show is set up similarly to "The Voice," and the models are split into teams, each led by a supermodel mentor. The mentors on the show are Naomi Campbell, Anne V and Lydia Hearst. Nigel Barker is the host, confidante and adviser to the contestants.

While the winner of the show will be decided by the judges, viewers can vote for their favorite contestant online. Wiley is currently in third place. The fan favorite winner gets $10,000.

The second-to-last show airs tonight, and the finale airs next Wednesday.

It was filmed last fall, Wiley had to take a semester off from school to participate.

Taking a break from studying for finals, Wiley told The Daily News that it has been eye-opening to watch the show.

"At first it was kind of weird, because you don't normally watch yourself on television," she said. "But then it was just fun."

She noticed that the show paints each contestant in a certain way, which may be different from how they really are. Before she saw the show, she was a little worried that the producers might characterize her in an unflattering way.

"But they kind of portray me how I am in real life, which is a sweet, nice girl," she said.

Watching the show has allowed Wiley to learn what other contestants were saying about her in the confessional segments.

"My favorite parts to watch are the other girls in the confessionals," she said. "We're finally getting to see what they said behind our backs. It's wonderful."

While they were taping the judging segments of the show, the models would get only a summary of what the client had to say about their performance on various modeling jobs. The models also did not get to hear the discussions the judges had with each other about the girls' work, Wiley said.

"When they were judging us, we couldn't hear what they were saying behind the scenes," she said.

It has been illuminating for her to finally learn the rationalization for many of the judges' decisions, and she has enjoyed hearing what the clients said in their own words, Wiley said.

During the filming of the show, she learned a lot about the industry, but now the lessons are different.

"I'm learning more about the people and coaches and the contestants than I did when I was filming," she said.

Wiley has been modeling for about four years, on breaks from school. At 15, she was discovered at Marriott's Morningstar swimming pool by modeling scout Ginny Edwards Maxwell. Maxwell also scouted Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Hannah Davis, another Antilles alumna. Six months later, Wiley was in New York signing a contract with Next Model Management.

She does mostly fashion shows, strutting the catwalk all across the country for many different designers.

A 2012 Antilles grad, Wiley attends Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa., where she is studying media communications and film studies. After graduation, she says she will dedicate three years to modeling to see whether her career takes off. If not, she will pursue other goals.

To vote for Wiley as fan favorite, go to www.oxygen/thefacefanfavorites.com.

Voters must be 18 or older and a legal resident of the a U.S. state or Washington D.C. Votes from the territory may not be accepted. Watch Wiley compete on "The Face" at 10 tonight on Oxygen. Oxygen is channel 251 on DirecTV, 127 on Dish and 136 on Innovative.

- Contact reporter Aldeth Lewin at 714-9111 or email alewin@dailynews.vi.

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