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From Kirkwood to Main Street

Student wins national modeling contest

By Megan Lehman
On October 15, 2012


Brianna Palumbo, a 19-year-old Cedar Rapids native and second year student at Kirkwood Community College, has been given an opportunity to be a Main Street Model for the retail clothing store Maurice's.  

Maurice's hosts the Main Street Model search competition every year.  Twelve unique and talented women of different backgrounds, ethnicities and styles are selected to represent Maurice's and the new trends and styles that will soon be appearing in stores nationwide. 

The application process takes three months and has multiple aspects. The first portion was a general application that asked basic information about the candidates and required them to write an essay. 

Applicants chosen to continue in the competition began the second portion of the application process -  online voting. During that stage, the applicants advertised themselves online to friends, family, co-workers, and students to receive votes.  Those who received the most votes through online social media platforms then became part of the top 100 applicants. 

Each of the top 100 contestants submitted a short video about why she should be one of the next Main Street Models.  The top 100 contestants were condensed down into the top 20, who were then flown to Minneapolis, Minn. to meet the judges and prepare for a casting call.

Christopher Straub, a contestant from season six of Lifetime's "Project Runway," was one of the judges at the casting call.  Finally, the winners were called and notified of their success in winning over the judges and becoming Maurice's 12 new Main Street Models.  The women also won gift cards to the store worth $1,500 and the opportunity to donate $7,500 to the hometown charity of the winner's choice. 

For Palumbo, that charity was Partnership for Safe Families in Cedar Rapids.  Partnership for Safe Families is a small, non-profit that helps families in times of crisis to find stability, help and hope, she said.  When asked why she picked the Partnership for Safe Families, Palumbo said, "Every innocent child should always have a safe place to go home to."  For more information on the Partnership for Safe Families, visit

Palumbo is the first African American woman to become a Main Street Model and said she hopes to use her new opportunity to help others. "I struggled for a long time with accepting the way I look," Palumbo explained.  

As one of the plus sized contestant winners, Palumbo said she hopes to be a role model to young women all over the world.  "It is not about how you look. It is about how you feel about yourself," Palumbo said. "Beauty cannot be weighed." 

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