Tuesday mornings aren't exactly high-traffic times at South Florida casinos.
Things were a little different yesterday, though, when dozens packed into a huge tent just outside the Seminole Casino Hollywood's front door for an odd giveaway, even for a casino. The winner of this contest would get a job.
Though these days it seems a little obscured by the towering Hard Rock Hotel & Casino down the road, Seminole Casino Hollywood was a first of its kind -- the first
real-life Indian casino in the entire U.S. of A.
And, apparently, its proprietors want to rebrand. Part of that strategy? A very public campaign to find that person who'll be the casino's new face.
"We're looking for someone who's going to be our brand ambassador," said Steve Bailey, the casino's special events manager. "We get confused with Hard Rock all the time."
Last spring, the casino plastered newspapers and billboards with ads heralding the concept, which it calls the "Face of Classic $100,000 Dream Job Giveaway" ("classic" being a term it's using to distinguish it from other Seminole casinos).
winner gets a $100k job. It's a year contract, which might be renewable.
About a thousand people applied, with a diverse array of applications -- some, Bailey said, had "pictures we probably shouldn't have been getting."
hard to know whether a better economy would have inspired such a massive turnout of what casino officials say are high-caliber applicants. Bailey said he didn't think so.
One of the finalists was Tonya Taylor. She's a single mom, born in Tennessee, raised in Miami-Dade County (though she's mum on the question of her age). She said her career involves mostly musical theater and broadcasting. At the moment, her main gig is singing in a band called Soul Survivors, who do mostly corporate parties.
she saw billboards and newspaper ads hyping the job contest, she put together a video documentary.
She said if she's not chosen for this job, she'll still be coming around.
they don't tell me yes today, I will be back Monday," she said. "I feel happy to be in the top ten."
candidates awaited the results, TV cameras bounced around underneath sparkly beaded chandeliers. More than 50 business-casual-clad people milled about while the likes of C&C Music Factory wafted over the speakers.
Shortly before noon, a suit-clad casino exec walked in with a giant check for no less than $100,000. Hastily, he and several others revealed the winner: Tonya Taylor. She was, as one might imagine, elated as she accepted the check.
of the nine who didn't get a giant check (though all got a grand for their troubles) weren't entirely devastated that they didn't make it.
not like I'm unemployed and needing to survive," said Catherine Gestowitz, who lives in Hollywood and works as a sales operations specialist at Elizabeth Arden. "It was disappointing, but it was a great experience."