Five Rhode Island Models Taste Stardom in Manhattan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Elated, enchanted and exhausted, five local aspiring models have returned home to Rhode Island after a whirlwind 24-hour trip to Manhattan, where they experienced first-hand the sometimes less-than-glamorous quest for stardom.

Alisha El-Machiah, 19, and Kevin Kenny, 20, both of Providence; Lillie O'Connell, 16, and Ryan Plonka, 20, both of Cumberland; and Kristina Wilkicki, 22, of West Warwick were whisked by limousine from Providence at 5 a.m. Friday (Dec. 7) to Sun Studio in midtown Manhattan. At the studio, they were primped, prodded and professionally fussed over during a 10-hour photo shoot, the culmination of Verizon's "Be Famous With Verizon FiOS" marketing campaign.

"We are just completely spent," said O'Connell. "The trip was exhausting, but absolutely thrilling. What a wonderful experience. Now I know what Tyra Banks feels like -- kind of."

(Ryan Plonka, Lillie O’Connell, Kristina Wilkicki, Alisha El-Machiah and Kevin Kenny outside Radio City Music Hall in NYC.  Click here for more photos and a behind-the-scenes video clip)

Earlier this year, these five young men and women were selected from a group of some 850 people who auditioned for the "Be Famous" campaign, designed to promote Verizon's new FiOS TV service in Rhode Island.  These winners will appear in Verizon advertising materials when the campaign gets under way next year.

As winners, the five participated in modeling and acting classes in Providence this summer to prepare them to become the new faces of Verizon FiOS.

FiOS TV is the Verizon's new fiber-optic television service, which offers a better-quality picture, more high-definition and on-demand programs, and more reliable service at competitive prices.

Verizon currently offers FiOS TV to more than 80,000 households in seven Rhode Island communities-- Coventry, East Greenwich, Exeter, North Kingstown, Warwick, West Greenwich and West Warwick, as well as other locations in New York, New Jersey, California, Delaware, Texas, Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Massachusetts and Virginia.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving 63.7 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon has a diverse workforce of nearly 238,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $88 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.