Click the link below to vote for this year’s Weekender Man and Model!
By Rich Howells
When deciding who The Weekender’s Man and Model of the Year will be, it’s truly anybody’s game.
Just ask Dominique Kozuch, last year’s Model winner.
“It was unexpected, so it was definitely a shock for me,” Kozuch recalled.
“I didn’t think I was that well-known. I know some of the girls that are models have a big group of friends and a following, but I just go to school and that was about it. I don’t really go out or do anything. I played soccer and went to college.
“Maybe I stood out. Maybe my answers stood out. Maybe I seemed cool. I don’t know.”
This year, the 22-year-old Jermyn resident will serve as a judge once public voting has ended, and when questioning the models, she’ll be looking for some of the same qualities that made her stand out from the rest of the ladies.
“I definitely want to find somebody who’s not cliché and just giving answers that are going to sound good. When I gave my answers to the questions, I wanted to be truthful and have people definitely get to know my personality through my answers, so I’ll be looking for personality,” she said.
“People want to vote for somebody who is interesting and good-looking. You’ve got to have both.”
This year’s party will be unique as well, with a change of location to the Susquehanna Ale House and required semi-formal attire. The theme, as shown in ads leading up the event, is based on “The Great Gatsby,” particularly the 2012 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
“I wanted the party to be an event that is more than just going out with some friends. Seeing the trends from the year, I figured doing something with a ‘Gatsby’ theme would be perfect,” Weekender creative director and Man and Model photographer Amanda Dittmar explained.
“I’m looking forward to seeing all of the men and models I shot throughout the year.”
Gino Lispi, who will be performing that evening with Abstract Peoples, is used to this sort of gathering, however.
“A collection of beautiful girls in a room with a stage and a sound system? No, this is not totally a unique gig for us,” he noted with a laugh.
“However, it will be our first gig that has a panel of judges present. We support our friends at The Weekender and we’re excited to perform and see who wins.”
As such, the hip-hop band is well prepared “to do what we do.”
“What we do is make true hip-hop music that can be listened to closely, hop-hop music you can party and drink to, and also hip-hop music you can see. I most closely compare our sound to The Roots because so far, a lot of people seem unfamiliar with the idea of a full hip-hop band. Coincidentally, many are unfamiliar with The Roots as well, so it’s important for us to perform and leave the audience with a full understanding of how it all works,” Lispi described.
“We have a great set prepared that’s a high-energy and engaging experience for anyone who’s looking to party and mix it up with us… We are looking forward to an awesome crowd to party with!”
If he were a judge, Lispi would be looking for qualities the party’s theme inspires.
“Confidence and class. I’m not saying shotgunning a beer on stage wouldn’t get my support, but having class and confidence looks good on anyone no matter how much of a model they are or aren’t. I’d look for those two, wait, three things,” he said.
As a Model of the Week several times before her win, Kozuch’s suggestion to those aspiring for the grand prize is simple.
“If at first you don’t succeed, try for a third time,” she joked. “That’s my advice.”
While she said she’ll miss the bragging rights and seeing her picture printed regularly in Weekender promotions, the recent Marywood University graduate is looking forward to a fun and elegant night.
“I like dressing up really fancy, so it’s an excuse for me to break out a nice dress and do something crazy,” Kozuch stated with true Weekender spirit.
“It’ll be nice to see everybody stepped-up, looking classy.”
Voting for the Man and Model of the Year starts online at theweekender.com on Oct. 9 and ends at 5 p.m. on Oct. 11. Additional voting begins at the party at the Susquehanna Ale House on Friday, Oct. 11 at 8 p.m. Men and models must be present to win.