Metro mechanic vies for modeling contract on national television show

Metro mechanic Marilin Archie featured on TV Land Channel's "She's Got the Look" modeling show.

The many looks of Metro Mechanic Marilin Archie: Clockwise, from top left, a makeover from celebrity stylist Laurent Dufourgty, cover shot, modeling jeans on the runway, in the mechanics' pit at Metro inspecting a CNG bus, on the runway in Hollywood. Photos courtesy of TV Land.

It’s not her regular gig, but Marilin Archie, a Metro mechanic who ordinarily overhauls CNG engines and checks brake systems on Metro buses, is busy competing for a modeling assignment on a national television show. Chosen as one of ten contestants from thousands who applied to “She’s Got the Look” show on the TV Land Channel, Archie has emerged as a strong contender for the show’s top prize: A contract with Wilhelmina Models agency and a photo spread in Self Magazine.

By way of background, Archie, 38, a married mother of two, is a former model and singer who joined Metro at the age of 18. Now a certified bus mechanic, the gregarious employee is active in community affairs and often volunteers to represent Metro at outreach events. Beauty and brains are all in the family, in this case. Archie follows in the footsteps of her mother, who retired from Metro in 2000 after 23 years of service and community outreach.

“She’s Got The Look” airs on the TV Land Channel in over 70 countries. Catch episode 2 this Wednesday at 9 p.m. (PST) when the nine remaining finalists receive makeovers from a celebrity stylist for a surprise photo shoot in an unlikely setting. Full episodes of the original shows are updated every week on tvland.com during the series run.

After the jump: the backstory, and a video, by Rich Morallo.

Communications Manager Rich Morallo, who coordinates volunteer outreach activities for Metro at community events throughout the county, caught up with the glamorous mechanic at the Chatsworth division bus yard to tape an interview on the job.

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When she was a young girl Marilin Archie dreamed of becoming a model. “I was seven and l loved posing and pretended to be in front of cameras. But my family couldn’t afford the schools and training,” said Archie.

The Los Angeles South Central native started with Metro in 1990 and cleaned buses as a service attendant for 15 years. “Then I enrolled in classes at Trade Tech and Santa Monica College, and took the agency’s on-the-job training program to become a mechanic.

“I grew up here at Metro…the agency practically raised me,” said Archie.

Today Archie’s work at the Bus Division in Chatsworth includes conducting general maintenance, diagnosing engine problems, overhauling engines, replacing transmission and fixing radiators.

Metro Mechanic Marilin Archie: From mechanics' pit to modeling.

Metro mechanic Marilin Archie pursues her dream job of modeling on the TV Land Channel show, "She's Got the Look"

Then one day the mechanic heard about TV Land’s “She’s Got The Look” cable show, a competition to discover a beautiful, sophisticated and confident woman over the age of 35.

“The purpose of the show is to identify the best candidate who has the potential to transfer herself into a model,” said Archie, “and I had never given up with what’s in my heart, so I applied.”

Archie passed the auditions and survived the cuts. Archie and nine other contenders moved into a house where they started taping the competition for the show’s third season.

“We had to be ready for various modeling challenges from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.,” recalled Archie.

The contestants, who included a trial lawyer, an Olympic trial swimmer, an insurance agent and a grandmother of six, also had to be packed and ready to go each day of the show if they were eliminated.

“I was consumed with anxiety…no one was safe…we were contantly being judged during the competition, the photo sessions, the video shoots, and the fashion walks,” revealed Archie.

Archie admits that she learned much during the show. She said, ” The professional models that appeared on the show shared some very important information. They expressed the importance of using our five senses when doing a photo shoot or even while acting. Using our five senses (touch, taste, smell, see, and listen) allows us to create a realistic visual for the task at hand. We can put ourselves in the moment and make what we are selling believable.”

A Metro staff member with over 20 years and now a Hollywood veteran of a popular modeling show, Archie has advice for young people just starting to plan their lives. “Get the most out of life by educating yourselves and going after your heart’s desire, ” Archie said. “Education is the key. Obtain a degree in what interests you the most because that degree secures your future should your dream of being an actor, dancer or musician is delayed.” — text and video from Rich Morallo

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