After keeping candidates in suspense about the exact location of the Chicago casting call, the CW reality show announced Tuesday that it would screen prospects for Season 13 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday.
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For the first time, the nationwide auditions are seeking women who are 5 foot 7 inches and shorter.
Models traditionally must reach or exceed that height.
- Photos: America's Top Model Auditions
So when the show decided to reverse that standard for the season that airs in September, an estimated 10,000 women descended on the New York casting call earlier this month. Pandemonium broke out, resulting in three arrests and six injuries.
With plenty of police on hand, Rosemont produced no similar "Cops"-caliber scene. More than 3,000 prospects maintained peace as the line stretched down the block, constantly replenished by fresh faces, each subjected to the elevator eyes of her predecessors--scanned from head to toe and back again.
Making sure they got their flip-flopped foot in the door, girls already had begun lining up at 3 a.m. when the casting crew arrived, even though new rules, revised after the New York debacle, officially forbade assembling prior to 6 a.m. The casting wasn't scheduled to begin until 10 a.m., but doors opened by 6 a.m., and by 10 a.m., hundreds of contestants' caffeine-and-saltine-fueled dreams of becoming the next "Top Model" had been crushed.
On three hours of sleep, Shannon Cunningham skipped a psychology test at Eastern Michigan University for the opportunity. Trine Hatzenbuehler drove 12 hours from Gainesville, Va. Shalonda Council flew in from Orlando.
Despite the glimmer of hope, few harbored lifelong dreams of becoming a supermodel. "Obviously, I was too short," said the 5-foot-6-inch Shelise Hufstetler, 19, who flew in the night before from Las Vegas, where she's studying fashion design. "I checked the 'Top Model' requirements every season to see if they changed. And finally... !"
And few starved themselves in stereotypical model fashion.