Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Winning the 1st Annual "Dancing With the Lonestars!"

I don't even remember how this one landed on my lap, so like EVERYTHING that lands on my lap, I'm gonna say it's, once again, God, playing my Agent:) I received an emailfrom one of the Directors of the San Antonio Dream Center, Ms. Lucy Rule, asking me to be a "Celebrity" dancer for this event to help raise funds for their "Adopt a Shelter" program. I'm always on board for things that are to help others. Also, I was a professional ballerina so I was thrilled to use my dancer's background once again, after 20 yrs. of NOT having used it! So off I went to the Arthur Murray's Dance Studio where I was assigned a professional ballroom dance instructor (Yes, just like in "Dancing with the Stars!") and I started my daily 2 hr. practices for a week, learning to Waltz! From my experience on SURVIVOR, you'd gather that I'm a bit competetive so I took this VERY seriously. The daily practices paid off, however, as I waltzed away with the 1st Annual "Dancing with the Lonestars" trophy! My kids were there to watch me, my son feeling a bit embarassed as he usually feels by most everything I do..he's at that age:). My father, however, being a former professional ballroom dance instructor himself, was very proud of his little girl! Btw..I got a almost perfect score (three 10's and one 9!!). I was competing against the current winner of the Connexion's Hottest Latina contest, whom you may recognize below as one of my fellow models in the TRENDS June 2010 Swimwear photo shoot where I was featured on the cover:) Small world! Here I am during one of my practices leading up to the contest, at Arthur Murray's Dance Studio with my Instructor and Dance Partner for the event, Rene. (Please forgive the "battery low" sign in the middle of the video. The person doing me the favor of video taping it wasn't familiar w/the IPhone so they left that sign on there because they were afraid that tapping on it would stop the recording).

Monday, October 25, 2010

Emcee, Fashion Show to Benefit The Restoration Temple

Last summer, I was asked to be a Co-Presenter at the "Gospel Music Awards," along with Valencia of 94.1fm in San Antonio. I was blessed that the producer of that event, Mr.Richard Stevenson, remembered me & recommended me to Pastor Toya Taylor, to Emcee this wonderful event, featuring fashions from the exclusive boutique "Ethel's Essentials." I had a great time, especially because my parent's were in the audience, as they often are,to show me their support. My father, in fact,is the videographer of the below video:)Thank you daddy! (yes, I'm still his little girl!)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Emcee, San Antonio Roses & Warriors Cheerleaders Auditions!

After running into the SA Roses at several local events, we've become familiar with each other. The girls are WONDERFUL and I share a common goal with their Director, Mrs. Cynthia Trinidad, in Coaching & hopefully inspiring young girls to continue to better themeselves so they can achieve their dreams/goals, whatever they may be! I do so as the Stage Presence/Runway Modeling Coach for Miss California USA, Cynthia as the Director of the SA Roses & Warriors Cheerleaders. I also share being a (really)former beauty queen, I, Miss Venezuela finalist, 1988 and Cynthia was a not so former:) Mrs. San Antonio 2009. Seems we also share coming from 2 reknowned schools of training, I, from the world reknowned MIss Venezuela Organization that prepares us for the MIss Universe titles and Cynthia being a former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, comes from the Dallas Cowboys School of training. ( I was VERY happy when she asked me to Emcee this year's auditions at Bally's 24 hr. Fitness Facility at The Quarry. When I arrived, over 50 girls who had been there since early that Sunday morning practicing, were ready for their chance! There was an impressive line-up of Judges including Spurs Broadcast announcer, Pablo Cruz and a former Spurs cheerleader. To the beat of of Taio Cruz' "Dynamite," these girls gave it their ALL. I was impressed with the variety of girls/women that came out. Kudos to ALL of them for the effort they put out. I have to say that after watching the choreography over and over aS they auditioned, even my son (who came w/me that day and is the videographer of the below video:) and I learned the choreography. In part of my closing, I gave them a speech about how winning isn't the important part. In my experience, simply getting out there has put me, with God's help always, at the right place at the right time. I introduced them to a dear friend that happened to be visiting me that weekend. She happens to be and a GREAT producer from AMS Productions in Austin, Ms. Kelly Kaelin. Who knows, Kelly might end up calling' one of the SA Roses, or all of them, for a future production!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Helping a fellow CBS Survivor Iowa!

I was so lucky to get invited by Mrs. Susie Smith (Finalist, SURVIVOR GABON)to her charitable event in Iowa. She gathered about 15 of us to help her raise funds for her son's High School, Charles City High School. This was one of the nicest "Survivor Charity" gatherings I've been to because, being a smaller group, we were really able to bond, NICELY...the way we might have done on our respective "Survivors" if we had had the kind of food, hydration and events we had on this visit...and, oh yeah, if we hadn't been going after a million dollars! LOL. I take my hat off to Susie for how PERFECTLY organized our schedules were. We were booked, back to back, happily visiting ALL the sponsors w/o whom our being there wouldn't have been possible. Here are some images from that visit last July..days before my bday! While in Charles City, we stayed at the Red Cedar lodge, in, well, Red Cedar cabins that were so cozy and comfy! We celebrated my bday the night we arrived with a LIVE Lobster dinner that Bob Crowley (winner, Survivor Gabon) brought. It was DELICIOUS! Bright and early the next morning we set off on our "Bus" to the Charles City Chamber of Commerce: the caricature you see is "Charlie" ...think of him as a sort of Charles City Mascot:) 2nd photo below left.. Second stop..KCHA Radio Station to invite everyone to promote the main event at the Auditorium where fans were coming and greet us:) Here we are at the station...since I was off "Tv Hosting", I decided to let someone else have the mike so here's Eric taking a callers question! we are at Larry Pump's Accounting firm...where Kathy Sleckman (Fans vs. Favorites) had us laughing way too hard with so many jokes...or were they just Kathy's questions about the bicycle race across Iowa, Ragbrai? We did get to admire his beautiful cuckoo clock! Our last stop of the day was at the town fair were we ate some delicious food provided by Hy-Vee markets. I saw a stage and a microphone so it was only a matter of minutes before I grabbed the microphone..LOL. Here I am making an announcement about the main event taking place the following night. we made it to the main event where we were greeted by a salon FULL of fans. I have to say we were ALL very impressed with the LARGE turnout. It was so nice to see the support that people in a small town give each other, especially great to see how LOVED our very own Susie is..not surprising! Here we are during a "Question & Answer" session...we really good the 3rd degree from fans re/our experience on SURVIVOR. We were asked, for example, "was there somethig that happened to you while on SURVIVOR that got edited out that you wish had gotten show?" Where do I begin!! One thing, unfortunately, I'll have to take to the grave, but it cost me a opportunity at a upcoming "Survivor All-Stars." I LOVE Yau-Man for his answer :"I got to cuddle w/Rita! but they never showed it:(" I payed Yau to say that...LOL We ALL had such a BLAST on this trip. I got JF Drake Middle School Principal Debra Beebe(finalist, SURVIVOR TOCANTINS) and the HILARIOUS KB Sleckman ( SURVIVOR FANS VS. FAVORITES)as my log cabin roomies We would laugh the night away in our bunk beds..listening to how in love Debra is & remembering the image of Yau-the Situation-Man:)in his wife beaters. After a tiring, but very fulfilling couple of days, we ended our trip with a wonderful bonfire at Cedar Lodge where we enjoyed listeing to Susie's handsome son, Trent, and his friend play the guitar & drums...just like on MTV's "Unplugged." Here I am relaxing with "my girl" Peggy Crowley, Bob Crowley's beautiful wife:)Our signature pose as we have one last look at the beautiful Red Cedar Lodge UNFORGETTABLE weekend...& I left out the BEST part..Bob scaring us to DEATH one night he snuck up on us as we were gathered in the kitchen. Next thing we know we see a shadow coming up from behind the door to the had to be there!(I don't remember the last time I screamed so loud)Watch out for those grandfatherly types...ha, ha!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Emcee, Abused Children's Shelter event,2010

Cynthia Rangel has been so kind to ask me to Emcee so many of the IADT Fashion shows. This one was no exception. It was "Back to School" fashion shows featuring designs from former IADT students, Geisha Inc. (Angelica Sandoval) & Mikaeli Designs (Mandy Gallegos). The GAP also provided outfits. Ms.Karla Castillon was kind to catch this opening presentation of mine as Emcee of the event.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Interviewing Coach Doc Rivers!

During the Jr. Basketball tournaments at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas, I was doing some segments for a TV show that I host that airs on Fox and Kvue, ABC, in Austin, called "After the Party." I was fortunate to get an impromptu interview with Coach Doc Rivers. Much as I tried, I got nothing when I asked him if he was going to continuing to Coach for the Boston Celtics or retire in order to have more time to follow his son's basketball career. I will post a link to the full interview when it airs on "After the Party."

The 1st pitch at the Missions Baseball Game!

I was soo excited when I was asked to throw the 1st pitch at a San Antonio Missions Baseball Game...UNTIL...I started practicing with my son and his friends and realized I was TERRIBLE!! so bad that my son, last minute bailed and didn't come to see me in action. It was his loss cuz I ended up throwin' it right down the middle..all the way to the batter! Here I am in full winding pitch action! At the end of the game, the "Missions" mascot, the "Ballapeno" comes running towards me, full speed screaming "Rita! I love you Rita!" I thought I was either really hungry cuz I thought a HUGE Hot Dog with Jalapenos was telling me he loved me!, but as he got closer I saw he was carrying an 8 X 10 photo of me on SURVIVOR! Turns out the person inside the "Ballapeno" costume is a HUGE Survivor fan! I'm so lucky to have the most amazing fans. This one, in particular because, about a year later, he asked me to do an autograph signing to help raise funds for the Boys and Girls Club ( and I did another one not too long ago, thanks to him also, at Northwoods Cinema to helps raise funds for "Stars of Hope" Charities. Wesley has since moved to Los Angeles so it was my pleasure to thank him for asking me to help him with so many charities by inviting him to meet most of my SURVIVOR family when we were all gathered in LA for the 10th Anniversary CBS SURVIVOR Red Carpet Reunion. The look on Wesley's face when meeting so many "Survivors" all at once was priceless! I wanna give a special shout out to Earl (winner of my season, whom I wrongfully thought hated me and then SURPRISED me with one of the most beatiful words I've ever heard spoken of me as he picked up my torch on the very lst episode of our Season) and to Cristina Coria, for making yourselves available to sign autographs in Los Angeles to help Wesley continue his charitable work.

Emcee, Fashion show at Aldino's

To the right with the owners of Aldino's:
When the always elegant Nicole Baumier-Moghini asked me to Emcee a Fashion show sponsored by Ferrari at her and equally classy husband, Ed's Aldino's was my son who said "Yes!" He's a HUGE F1 Fan so all he heard was FERRARI! I said yes because the fashion show was to raise funds for the SA Food Bank. I'm so thankfuly to God for giving me this way to give back and help out doing something I absolutely love...talking into a microphone and even better if it involves a camera..LOL. Here's a small intro right before the event which featured a couple of collections from fantastic local designers, Geisha Inc, by Angelica Sandoval and Mikaeli Alton by Mandy Gallegos.