For the past few months you may have noticed the O’Neal Model Search contest that was running on our website each week. Finally, after over 1,800 entrants and millions of votes, O’Neal has finally found their next model! Her name is Mercedes Terrell, and she’s from Southern California. Mercedes will receive $1,000 cash, an all-expense paid trip to Las Vegas, and she will also be featured in an O’Neal ad as well as in the calendar. For more information about this beautiful 22-year-old, you can check out her website at www.mercedesterrell.com. In the meantime, here’s a little bench racing with Miss Terrell about motocross and (ahem) make-up.
Racer X: Mercedes, first of all, congratulations on winning the O’Neal Model search contest…
Mercedes Terrell: Thank you!
It’s right at the top! I’m an Orange County girl, so O’Neal is pretty big here. I’m really excited! I don’t even know what is really in store for me yet, so I’m excited to see what’s going to happen.
Judging from the photos and your website, you obviously have some modeling experience.
Well, yes, I have done some modeling in the past.
How long have you been modeling?
About two and a half years.
How did you get into it?
It’s kind of a long story. I met someone in a club who then offered me a job working for their clothing company, and coincidentally became my manager. So, it was just who I knew at the beginning. I just started off modeling for a clothing company who happened to be in the car industry—the import scene. So once that started I worked my way from car show to car show and magazine to magazine, and here I am today
Do you have an ultimate goal?
I love fashion. I’d rather be on the other end designing it, but I guess it’d be cool to be able to do both. Fashion would be awesome, but I’m not really tall enough to do runway, so that’s going to be tough. But at least if I design it I guess I get to pick the models, right? So one day I hope to accomplish that goal. Everyone hopes to be rich and famous, so that’s the plan. But if it doesn’t, I have back-up plans. I’m a smart cookie, so it’ll work out, one way or another.
Well, modeling isn’t your full-time gig because we’re actually talking to you while you’re at work at your 9-to-5 job, so tell us what you do.
I am a mortgage banker—the fabulous, glamorous job of finance! I’m used to seeing big money all the time, so I’ll be ready for it when it comes my way!
My manager looks out for anything and everything that will fit my character, so she’s the one who let me know about it. And as soon as I heard about it, I was very excited. I already wear O’Neal clothing, so it’s not out of the ordinary for me, so we definitely jumped on the idea.
Do you know much about motocross?
I love it! I’m right here next to the good old “909” or “951” now. Basically everyone out here is all about it. My whole family actually goes to Glamis every year throughout the month of November. We all ride dirt bikes, so it’s a good time.
That’s good that you have dirt bike experience. You’ve probably been to races before then, right?
Yes, I’ve been to some supercross races. I actually worked as a Boost Mobile girl, and we worked for Yamaha of Troy—those guys are really fun. And I worked with Red Bull at some Supermoto events. I love it!
How were you notified that you won the O’Neal contest?
Basically Frank [Kashare] emailed me and we talked on the phone and he let me know what the situation was. I couldn’t believe it!
Do you have any tips or advice for a wanabe model?
[Laughs] Um, just do as many photo shoots as possible, even if they’re for free or for the benefit of both you and the photographer. Still to this day, when I do a new shoot and I get to see the pictures come out, I’m like, ‘Oh, I want to change this and change that.’ So, basically, you only learn from experience. Practice makes perfect, just like everything else. It’s honestly the same thing. Pictures are the hardest, because you can’t see yourself when they’re taking the pictures, and you just have to guess at what you look like. You have to practice it in the mirror and make sure you apply that to your next shoot.
Has anyone ever caught you practicing in front of the mirror?
[Laughs] Yeah, quite a few times!
How many hours do you spend a week in a tanning bed?
You know what? Lately, I haven’t been tanning very often. I’m Sicilian and Mexican, so I’m not too white, and it’s not horrible if I don’t tan. But I used to tan two or three times a week, at least. So, probably just under an hour a week.
Any other top-secret beauty tips?
Definitely don’t bleach out your hair because it will fall out! And for a lot of girls I think less makeup is better. I probably only have two make-up artists that I love, and the rest I hate. But I do my own make-up for almost every shoot. I practice a lot for that. If you can do your make-up well, you can always repair what someone else messes up.
I’m a Toyo girl this year—for Toyo tires. I’ve also been on the cover of numerous magazines: Lowrider, Lowrider Edge, Import Tuner—almost every car magazine that you can think of that has a girl on the cover. Those are all super-fun and I’m really close with a lot of those people. And Wrangler—that was a pretty cool shoot. We got to go all the way to Mexico for that, in a little town where all of the pyramids are. I’m also Miss World Cup Soccer 2006, so I get to hold that title for the next four years. Basically, a company called Soccer Honeys votes who the hot chick for each sport is, and I got soccer, so that’s exciting!
Wow, you have quite the portfolio!
Thank you very much! But I’m excited about this opportunity, for sure.
Well, on behalf of everyone here at Racer X Illustrated and O’Neal, we’d like to welcome you in to the motocross industry, and hopefully you stick around for a long time!
Hopefully I do! It’s up to you guys more than me!
One last question for all of the single guys reading this—are you available?
I’m always keeping an eye open!
Click here to see more of Mercedes.