St. John’s student Nicole Aliseo competed with 16 other girls for a scholarship and an internship in the new MTV reality show “Miss Seventeen,” which chronicles Seventeen magazine’s annual search for America’s sweetheart. Aliseo, 19, was one of 17 finalists selected to compete to be “America’s ultimate role model.”
Aliseo said she was shocked to find out she was selected for the show.
“I thought it would be fun to try and see what happens,” she said, “but I never really knew how far it would go.”
A legal studies major, Aliseo is an active member of Lambda Chi sorority at St. John’s. She looks forward to going to law school. According to an MTV press release, Aliseo “recently sacrificed her lifelong passion for competitive dance to focus on her college studies.”
The weekly reality show premiered on Oct. 17, with the girls arriving in New York to meet Seventeen Editor-in-Chief Atoosa Rubenstein. Seven girls were eliminated in the first episode, including Aliseo.
The girls live in a Manhattan loft while they complete assignments in each episode that are designed to reveal their true character. Their tasks range from writing an article on how to experience New York City on $20 per day to modeling for Seventeen. Their efforts are judged by Rubenstein.
The contestant left standing after the eliminations will receive a prize package including a college scholarship and a paid internship at Seventeen.
Although she was eliminated early on, Aliseo was happy just to be part of the show.
“As amazing as the prizes (were), some of the other girls needed or wanted them more,” said Aliseo, who already models for Seventeen and has a scholarship for school.
Aliseo said she was not very comfortable in the house and she was not used to being constantly surrounded by cameras.
“I never knew how difficult it was living with a camera in my face,” she said. “I don’t know how long I could have taken it.”
According to Lois Curren, Executive Vice President of MTV Series Entertainment,the finalists in the show are “the overachievers you love to hate and will stop at nothing to win the grand prize, going to extreme lengths to be the last one standing,” Curren said in the release “But in between the heated moments, you’ll also find a lot of heart.”
The contestants, ages 18 to 21, range from all-American farm girls to valedictorians.
“There was a real variety of character, which I’m sure they did on purpose,” Aliseo said of the girls. “I liked them for the most part, but I’m sure if I was there longer, I would have clashed with someone.”
Rubenstein, also the creator and an executive producer of the show, is looking for a girl who exemplifies the characteristics of a Seventeen reader: intelligence, leadership, honesty, loyalty, and good judgment.
“I’m not trying to find someone who just looks good on paper,” Rubenstein said in the release. “Miss Seventeen has to be the real deal. We want a girl who acts like America’s sweetheart whether the cameras are rolling or not. She needs to have the confidence and talent we see in so many of our readers to make her dreams come true.”
For Aliseo, being a part of “Miss Seventeen” was a surreal experience.
“I live for the moment and I want to experience as much as I can in life and this is definitely a story to tell,” she said.
The half hour episodes of “Miss Seventeen air on Monday at 10:30 p.m. on MTV. The series is scheduled to run for 10 weeks.