WASHINGTON - It was raining men at the America's Next Top Model (ANTM) open-call auditions Saturday afternoon at the Pentagon City Mall.
This season's show will include male models for the first time.
Odean Lewis, 25, says the show would be missing out if he's not chosen.
"I have a lot to say, I'm brave, I'm outgoing," says Lewis, who drove from Queens, New York to attend the audition. A self-proclaimed diva, he says his classmates call him "O-diva."
The height requirement for men is 5-foot-10 inches, according to the registration form. But, producers say they're looking for variety, even plus-sized models.
Tyron Jackson started modeling less than two years ago. He has a long-term vision for his career with ANTM being more of a stepping stone.
"It would just be one step closer, one big step closer, to my dream," Jackson, 25, says.
Pursuing dreams is what has led Shakyra Butler, 24, to audition for ANTM 21 times.
"Being from D.C., a Black female, single mom, I'm a statistic to most," Butler says.
If she's chosen, Butler says she would use her fame for philanthropic ventures, and to inspire others.
"I want to be able to open up doors for young women and men, elderly women and men to let them know don't give up on your dreams," she says.
She also wants to set an example for her young daughter.
"As long as I'm living positively, I don't have to worry about her going astray," Butler says.
Participants also had to be between 18 and 27 years old to audition.
Katherine Jennings just made the age cut off. The 27-year-old arrived in Washington, D.C. At 6 a.m. Saturday morning. She and her boyfriend Ken Vermeille took the bus from the Bronx, New York.
Jennings also has a "tall" obstacle to overcome. The height requirement for women is 5-foot-7 inches. Jennings is only 5-foot-3 inches tall. She hopes, though that it will be an advantage.
"Everybody else is like trees, and I'm innie-minnie," she says. "And, my personality is very bubbly, so hopefully that works."
Saturday's auditions were from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Call backs are expected to happen in February.
Local TV station DC50 hosted the event, and afterwards held a private screening of the network's new show "The Carrie Diaries."
ANTM is entering its 20th cycle, which starts this summer.
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