With an erupting belch, Vanessa Johnston blew away the dumb blonde that a Pepsi ad producer had envisioned.
Now this Belching Beauty from Lakeville hopes Minnesotans will get clicking to assure that millions of Super Bowl fans see her Pepsi Max commercial at www.startribune.com/a78.
In the spot our girl responds to her boyfriend proffering an engagement ring by taking prolonged gulps from a can of Pepsi Max before belching "Yes."
"The producers who were casting for this commercial were looking for a dumb blonde," said Johnston, the 2009 Miss Minnesota Teen USA and 2010 graduate of Lakeville South High. During the audition one producer reportedly went seamlessly from cooing over Johnston being on "America's Next Top Model" (Cycle 15) to asking: Can you burp?
"I didn't know I had to burp for the commercial but I was like 'Yeah, yeah.' I burped, and it was disgustingly huge," she said. "That night I got a phone call from the director who said, OK, Vanessa, we wanted a blonde, you were one of the only brunettes we even called in, and I could not get you out of my mind."
"It was a great commercial to film. We did that take probably 50 times," said Johnston. Quiet on the set is the norm, but every time Johnston blew, members for the crew burst into laughter.
Her parents, Mitch and Sherry Johnston of Lakeville, must be super proud of what their financial support the last eight months has produced. Her folks view pursuit of a comedic acting career as an educational process, said Johnson, who doesn't view herself as a beauty queen or a model, despite these parts of her résumé.
Get clicking on that link so that in January, when the top five commercials are announced, Johnston's spot will be among those that get voted on by all of America. "Whoever is in the top three gets played during the Super Bowl," she said.
So there was an "America's Next Top Model" contestant who could have been a champion belcher?
"Yeah, but Tyra doesn't know that," laughed Johnston.
McPhee skipped Vikings
Katherine McPhee's vocal cords might not have appreciated the "Monday Night Football" atmosphere at the "U," but her ego would have been assuaged by the captive crowd.
There was a mighty disappointing turnout for the former "American Idol" contestant when she gave a mini-concert and signed copies of her Christmas CD at Mall of America on Sunday afternoon.
"I was actually supposed to be here longer in Minnesota. I'm supposed to sing at the game tomorrow night or Tuesday," she said wrinkling her nose in confusion before someone shouted out the right night. "But the Dome collapsed and then they [asked] me to sing out doors in 5 degree weather and I said 'No,'" she laughed. She said she'll be back when the Dome is "more covered. I just finished getting over a cold. I didn't think it would be very smart to sing outside in the cold."
She probably wanted to run for cover after seeing how sparse the audience was at MOA for her "Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You" CD, which covers favorites while the title cut is a beautiful original written by her and inspired by people who serve in the military.
WCCO-TV photojournalist Tony Peterson was told he could only shoot 60 seconds of McPhee's singing, an ego-tripping request that usually comes from stars who draw a crowd.
Marjorie Johnson on Leno
Zachary Levi, who sang a duet of "Terrified" with Katherine McPhee but is better known for his work on "Tangled" and "Chuck," is OUT and somebody named Emma is IN on tonight's Marjorie Johnson baking appearance on "The Tonight Show."
Last week, Johnson said she was told that Levi asked to be in the cooking segment with Jay Leno. Then the date of her appearance changed. "I went to the Internet and I know all about Zachary and I'd like to do the same for the other person," said Johnson, if only she knew her last name. It's probably Emma Stone.
"We're making my Christmas Tree Coffee Cake on page 58 and 59. I did give you a copy of my book, 'Blue Ribbon Baking with Marjorie,' did I not?" she asked.
Marjorie and her retired dentist husband, Lee Johnson, will return from LA and get ready to spend Dec. 28 as Christmas Day with their three children, two doctors, Marleen and Steven, and one Palos Verde, Calif.-based aerospace engineer, Marilee, and four grandchildren.
"We stressed education from the time they entered kindergarten," said Johnson. "It wasn't, 'Are you going to college?' It was 'Which college are you gong to?'"
The four grandchildren "are all single, and I hope they finish their college degrees before they even think about getting married," said Johnson, who hammers that message home with a side of something sweet.
Famous baby at MOA
Kendra Wilkinson reported on Twitter: "Had fun last night at the Mall of America ... baby Hank got to meet Dora and Diego!!"
No mention of a haircut, although there are lots of places to do that at the MOA.
C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or firstname.lastname@example.org. E-mailers, please state a subject -- "Hello" doesn't count. Attachments are not opened. More of her attitude can be seen on Fox 9 Thursday mornings.