Who wants to be the next Michelle Lombardo? You know, the woman who became the first amateur model to land a spread in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue earlier this year by winning the magazine’s first annual ”Fresh Faces” contest. This winter, the finalists will become reality TV stars as well, thanks to a six-part NBC series that will chronicle the search, the network announced on Monday. In ”The Sports Illustrated Fresh Faces Competition,” which will premiere in early 2005, finalists will live together in Los Angeles as they compete for two slots in a photo shoot in an ”exotic location” (it’s Hawaii, according to the New York Times). One of the two, as determined by viewer phone calls, will win a $1 million modeling contract and a spread in the 2005 SI swimsuit issue. (SI, like EW.com, is part of Time Warner.) Think of it as ”America’s Next Lycra-Top Model.”
”The competition was such a huge success for Sports Illustrated last year, and so many amazing stories came from the aspiring models, we knew instantly that it would make a great reality show,” said coproducer Jonathan Frank in a statement. He said the show wouldn’t be all skin but would ”focus on the young women’s personalities and stories, and really illustrate how the chance to be in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue could change their entire lives.” Just ask, um, what was her name? Oh yeah, Michelle Lombardo.