Future Latino Stars Shine

TJ Maxx promotion brings talent to the max

By Gaby Kabrans
Published on LatinoLA: May 29, 2003

Future Latino Stars Shine

The much-anticipated Talent to the Maxx, Latino Model and Talent Search Grand Finale Event, was held before a huge audience including various celebrities, television cameras and a panel of judges on Saturday May 17th at Downtown LA?s Orpheum Theatre. The electrifying event featured special performances by Bate que Bate and Joy Enriquez but more importantly was a stepping-stone for 30 future Latino stars.

The incredible performances included a Shakira impersonation, tap dancing, stand up comedy, a Shakespearian monologue and more. The top three undeniably victorious performances were Damariz Perez? (pictured) soulful rendition of Alicia Keys, Juan Carlos Ore Jr.?s accurate and exciting Michael Jackson impersonation and Elani Nassif Seguias? opera singing that took the crowd?s breath away.

?Each semi-finalist?s performance was unique and exciting in its own way,? said Mart?n Llorens, T.J. Maxx spokesperson. ?I am so proud of each of the contestants and am truly impressed with their professionalism and stage presence. They are driven, passionate and have a bright future ahead of them.?

The finalists were judged on stage presence, talent performance and proficiency in English and Spanish through a series of questions and answers. Based on the highest scores the top three winners were selected by a panel of judges comprised of representatives from T.J. Maxx, LATV, SuperEstrella, Telemundo, La Opini?n, Al Borde, Exc?lsior, Patricia Sturla Studio, Fashion Club and Carlton Hair International.

The top three Talent to the Maxx winners are:

Grand Prize ? Damariz Perez is a dynamic 17-year-old from Azusa, CA. Damariz blew the crowd away by singing a heart-stopping rendition of ?Fallen? by pop singer Alicia Keys. Driven by her passion for life and love, Damarhiz is down to earth, friendly and dedicated.

Second Prize ? Juan Carlos Ore Jr. is an energetic 16-year-old from Anaheim Hills, CA. He is passionate about dancing and basketball. Juan Carlos brought the audience to their feet when he moonwalked off the stage after an outstanding Michael Jackson impersonation to the hit song ?Billie Jean.?

Third Prize ? Elani Nassif Seguias is an artistic 16-year-old from Corona, CA. She describes herself as, ?an athletic, opera-singing, heavy-metal loving bookworm.? Elani?s performance of Puccini?s ?Mio Babbino Caro? captivated the audience.

The contest was developed to inspire today?s Latino youth and open doors in the areas of education, business and the entertainment industry. The program strives to encourage teens to pursue higher education and reach for success. In addition, this unique talent search recognizes and promotes the value of bilingualism.

?T.J. Maxx recognizes that the ability to speak both English and Spanish is a talent in and-of itself,? said Mart?n Llorens, T.J. Maxx Spokesperson. ?Fluency in two languages provides an advantage for today?s youth entering the workforce.?

The Grand Prize winner and Second Place winner will travel to Boston in June of this year to be part of the T.J. Maxx ?Back to School? photo shoot. All three winners received a prize package including educational savings bonds, T.J. Maxx gift certificates, paid tuition to FIDM?s ?Four Days of Fashion? summer program and several media prize packages.

Two additional prizes were awarded to the teens with the Best Stage Presence and Best Look.

The winners of those categories are:

Best Stage Presence ? Josselyn Ocampo, an 18-year-old from Anaheim, CA, was awarded a 5-month modeling and acting scholarship to Patricia Sturla Studio?s ?Elite Program.?

Best Look ? Britnie Sepulveda, a 13-year-old from La Habra, CA, was awarded a $175 gift certificate to Carlton Hair International.

All contestants were winners and no one walked away empty handed. Each of the 30 semifinalists received a gift bag complete with prizes from each of the Talent to the Maxx partners.

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