Lots of lovely Southern belles showed up for the first leg of the ESSENCE IT Girl competition in Atlanta.
Judges for the Atlanta leg of the competition were (from left to right): Emil Wilbekin from ESSENCE.COM, NeNe Leakes from the “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” Calvin Wilson and Attienette Azille from Elite Model Management.
No strangers to the spotlight, ESSENCE IT Girl judges Emil Wilbekin and NeNe Leakes ham it up for the cameras.
NeNe Leakes had the judging panel in stitches of laughter throughout the competition.
Reality television star NeNe Leakes goofs off with the IT Girl crew during a break.
NeNe practices her best camera ready poses.
None of the judges had any qualms about sharing their thoughts with the contestants!
The judges were in awe of this uber tall and skinny contestant.
A contestant chats with a member of the camera crew about her hopes to become the next ESSENCE IT Girl.
Contestants remove their heels to have their measurements taken before going into the judging room.
This way to the ESSENCE IT Girl competition! A few contestants strike a pose next to the signage near the entrance.
One of the contestants anxiously awaits her chance to enter the judging room.
Can you feel the love? Call it southern hospitality, but the contestants were all really nice to each other and some even left the competition having made new friendships.
Several pairs of best friends showed up to enter the competition.
Contestants get wrapped up in one of the feature articles of a recent issue of ESSENCE magazine.
Determined to capture the attention of the judges, one of the contestants organizes copies of her head shots to give out in the judging room.
One of the contestants flashes the camera a smile.
Contestants were sure to take along the free issues of ESSENCE magazine for themselves and family before leaving the competition.