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Date Posted: 06:37:52 04/28/10 Wed
Author: Deb & Paige
Subject: Next Direct Finalist Weekend Updates C/I

I promised I would update after it was over. Thank you to everyone who voted, supported, rallied & cheered for Paige. We had an AMAZING weekend!

We had an absolutely amazing time! On the first day we checked in, got a swag bag filled with goodies, received meal vouchers for the entire weekend & tried to get some sleep! On Saturday, we met all the other finalists & parents and our awesome team leaders. The kids were split into groups & each group had a color (ours was blue) and a mascot (ours was Skipper & the penguins from Madagascar). We went to the lobby & waited for our ride to the famous Milk Studios in Hollywood. Once we arrived, there were areas set up & each group rotated through the activities. Our first activity was the playroom. There were plenty of markers, pencils & crayons & a giant paper on the floor! The kids were so excited to draw on the floor! LOL There was also a magician for entertainment & a green screen for an OK! Magazine photo. Everywhere we went, there were snacks & drinks for the kids & parents. No detail went unnoticed! Our second stop was the hip hop class! Taught by Christian Storm, famed London choreographer & dancer & Kelly Peters, the "King of Hip Hop" the kids showed off their "special moves" & learned a little combination! So cute. This activity was observed by the judges so they could see in a "real" setting how focused they were when engaged & how well they followed directions. The kids loved it! After this we moved onto the 'backdrop" The kids got together for some awesome group photos in front of the Next Direct & Wilhelmina backdrop. After that, we moved on to lunch. catered on the roof, the kids enjoyed an outdoor barbeque complete with ice cream sundaes! Next we were off to hair & makeup for the photo shoot. Our H/M person, Lucy B., is originally from Australia & has her own line of perfume & cosmetics. I love, love, love what she did with Paige's hair! Then, off to the photographers. This was a real live photo shoot. The photographers were totally encouraging and must have shot over 100 photos. They played music & let the kids do what they wanted. I stood back a bit & didn't watch. I have a little control freak thing going on & I didn't want to be a stage mom. LOL I knew this would be an amazing experience for her & I didn't want to ruin it. LOL Paige must have really liked this because her shoot lasted as long as the other 2 kids in her room combined.
Next we were off to wardrobe fittings for the finals on Sunday. The outfits had been selected for them & they went & tried them on then went out to the stylist & she either changed it or added things, took away things, etc. Paige's was a perfect fit with a coral maxi skirt, floral print tank & metallic gladiator sandals. The stylist topped it off with a sleeveless denim vest. So cute! They changed back into their clothes & we got together for a full group shot including parents (UGH!). It is a great keepsake, though! Finally they took all the kids back into the dance class room so they could show off their dancing skills in one large group. It was LOUD! LOL

Here is the video:

<a rel=nofollow target=_blank href="http://www.facebook.com/#!/video/video.php?v=116461938374005&oid=107105885974991">http://www.facebook.com/#!/video/video.php?v=116461938374005&oid=107105885974991</a>

We boarded the vans to head back to the hotel & our driver graciously took us by the Hollywood sign! Paige was sooooooo excited!

Once back at the hotel, we freshened up & prepared for our Meet & Greet with the judges. Kind of like interview, but more panel style. It only lasted a moment or 2, but those pageant interview skills came in handy!

We were then free for the evening. We headed over to Universal City Walk & did some souvenier shopping. I think this is the first time all weekend I actually spent any money! We headed back to the hotel & had dinner & then headed for the pool & hot tub! Such fun! Off to bed to get some rest for day 3!

Sunday started a bit earlier & we went down for breakfast & to meet our groups for a private tram tour of the Universal lots. we saw so much! The sets from Desperate Housewives, Psycho (Paige will tell you Norman Bates tried to kill us! LOL) Jurassic Park, The Fast & the Furious, The Ghost Whisperer, The Clock Tower from back to the Future, and so much more! The tram went into a Pyramid & a San Francisco subway. Complete with special effects, water, fire & even an earthquake this tour was AMAZING! Once we got off the tram, each group of 10 kids got their own private tour guide for the park. We headed to the Globe Theater for a snack & to drop off bags. Then we were whisked away to go to the front of the line for some rides. We went on The Simpson's Ride, a virtual roller coaster & Shrek 4-D. There was a bathroom break & the kids got to see & pet Cato from Beverly Hills Chiahuaha. Next we headed back to the theater for the final party & awards ceremony. The kids changed into their outfits from the wardrobe fitting & made a stop at H/M. Then it was time to walk the RED CARPET! This was soooooooo cool! The Marquis welcomed the finalists & the photographers snapped their photos like paparazzi! LOL Awesome!

We were seated at the final party & it was such a great set up. The lights, linens, dishes, catering all top notch! They had magicians, balloon animal makers & caricaturists going around to the tables! Our DJ was Tony O. from the Ellen Degeneres show! Our emcees took the stage, Jessica Denay founder of The Hot Moms Club & Eva Larue from CSI Miami! They showed this awesome video from the weekend:

<a rel=nofollow target=_blank href="http://www.facebook.com/#!/video/video.php?v=416777721420">http://www.facebook.com/#!/video/video.php?v=416777721420</a>

Then it was time to introduce the judges. There were 5, 3 from Next Direct & 2 from Wilhelmina Modeling. They gave us advice & told us what they were looking for. They then named the runners up. They were Jake from Florida, Miles from Tennesee and PAIGE! We were so excited! i couldn't believe out of all those goreous amazing children, Paige received one of 4 top spots! The winner was an absolutely breathtaking little girl, Savannah! Well deserved! We were then treated to a really great catered lunch with buffets for both the kids and a separate one for the adults. I think Paige really liked the dessert table! There was dancing & music & visits from the Madagascar characters. All in all it was an unforgettable weekend & we are humbed & grateful. Thank you all so much for voting & giving Paige an experience neither of us will ever forget!

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