Milk: It builds strong bones, gives you nine nutrients and gets you into “Seventeen Magazine.”
Michelle Lassen is a 15-year-old Pennfield student and lacrosse standout.
She is also a Milk Mustache Celebrity.
Lassen was selected as one of nine girls from across the country to represent “The Power of Nine” and appear in a Got Milk? ad in the teen magazine’s September issue.
The idea: be one of nine girls that embodies confidence in knowing that lowfat milk’s nine essential nutrients, along with making good food choices, help girls look and feel their best.
As a Milk Mustache Celebrity, Lassen will inspire teens to become more confident and spread the message about the benefits of milk and having a healthy diet.
Not only was Lassen selected to be one of the nine by the nation at the contest on www.myyearbook.com/powerofnine, but she beat out more than 400 entrants.
Judges knocked down entries from 400 to 27. Then, the nation had to vote for the top nine.
“I guess they thought I stood out,” Lassen said. “You weren’t able to comment on the video. A lot of my mom’s friends and my family and friends were saying it was really good. I guess that’s what the judges thought as well.”
Lassen was the only one of the nine from Pennsylvania.
It all started when a friend of her mom, North Penn High School business teacher Judy Hoffman, found the contest in an issue of “O: Oprah Winfrey Magazine.”
“She was like, ‘Michelle would be perfect for this.’ My mom told me about it and I really wanted to do it,” she said.
Lassen sat down with a video camera and sold to the world why she should be one of the nine. She produced and edited the video herself and sent it in.
"I do like milk. I do drink milk, regular and fat-free," she said. "Then I also like chocolate milk. I'm not fan of strawberry milk, I’d have to say."
What they were looking for in the video: a two-minute-or-less entry on how milk inspires her, why you should drink milk and what influence she could have on other girls her age.
“I didn’t hesitate. I wanted to give it a try,” she said. “I didn’t think this would happen; I didn’t think I would be picked as one of 27. That’s an accomplishment in itself.”
After she sent the video, Lassen played the waiting game. She waited for the announcement deadline, but was told it wouldn’t happen for a couple more days past that.
“I was freaking out,” she said. “I didn’t think anything would happen.”
Then she got the call.
“I did not think I had that good of a chance because there were so many other girls involved,” she said. “Of course, I wanted the best to happen. When they called and said that I won, we were all jumping around upstairs. It was just so exciting.”
From there, Lassen and her family drove off to New York on the first weekend in May, where they were put up overnight at The W Hotel in Union Square.
“It was so much fun,” Lassen said. “The first night, we went out to dinner with all the other girls. It was our first time meeting each other.”
The nine girls range in age from 13 to 17.
“We were all excited and loved everything about it,” said Lassen. “Since we were all from different states, it was awesome to hear what they had to say and what was happening with them.”
The next morning was the photo shoot, which made for an interesting experience for Lassen.
“It was really like a modeling experience,” she said. “It took a good three to four hours for hair and makeup. The people that did our hair and makeup worked with professionals. One guy was saying how he does hair for Beyonce and Tyra Banks. It was really cool to have famous stylists working on our hair.”
Lassen said the photographer was really well-known, as she has shot ads for tons of other magazines.
“She took about 600 shots to get the ones she wanted,” said Hoffman.
“The whole shoot took about nine hours,” Lassen said. “In the beginning, they took individual shots for fun, but the one in the magazine will be a group shot.”
The celebrity status doesn’t stop at “Seventeen Magazine.” Lassen said the girls will be celebrities for the whole year and promote other events.
Lassen is soon to be interviewed by NBC 10’s Lori Wilson for the 5:30 p.m. news show, and she is set to appear on NBC 10’s “10! Show” later this summer.
“It’s definitely different,” Lassen said. “I never had this much attention. I don’t feel as much as a celebrity as the other milk celebrities.”
Lassen has no future plans for modeling – or working for the California Milk Processor Board.
Well, maybe the milk company is out of the question.
“The man who worked on her hair, he was so impressed with it,” said Hoffman. “He gave me a name to contact for Pantene for a hair commercial.”
“I don’t think anything’s going to happen,” said Lassen, modestly. “But you never know.”
Hoffman exuded sheer joy in talking about her daughter’s awesome accomplishment.
“It’s just been very positive and fun,” she said. “It’s something different that most people her age don’t experience. We enjoyed it.”
You don’t get to be a milk mustache celebrity without the famous milk mustache.
For the shoot, Lassen had to take cup of the white concoction and touch it to her lip to make the mustache.
So what DOES it taste like?
“It tasted like yogurt,” she said. “Like watery ice cream.”
For now, Lassen has to hold on to the anticipation through the summer.
“I really want to see which picture they actually picked, since they took so many shots,” she said.
She said her friends are anticipating the magazine ad.
“A lot of my friends are excited for me. They said, ‘We’re going to get a copy of the magazine.’ Hopefully, they will like it,” she said.