"The claws are going to come out."
Discovered by Women Model Management at the age of 17 in an amusement park, Selita Ebanks has quickly risen through the ranks to become one of the most sought after and respected models of her generation.
A native New Yorker of Caymanian, Jamaican, Irish, Indian, and African descent, Ebanks is a reflection of beauty inside and out. She was raised as the only girl in a household of seven boys. Her father, a New York City corrections officer captain, instilled manners, values, and respect in his children. Her brothers also influenced her love for athletics; she grew up playing basketball and tennis and remains a sports fanatic to this day.
A gifted and hard-working student, Ebanks contemplated attending Columbia, Spellman, and New York University, making her decision to pursue a modeling career and postpone her education, a very difficult decision for her and her family.
She has since graced the covers of Esquire and Hampton Style, been featured in Vanity Fair and was chosen as one of People Magazine's Most Beautiful People in 2007 and featured in Sports Illustrated's Illustrious Swimsuit Issue in 2007 and 2008. While Ebanks has worked with some of the world's most noted photographers -- including Peter Lindbergh, Bruce Weber, Steven Klein, Carter Smith, Russell James and Mikeal Jansen -- and for some of the most quintessential American fashion campaigns (Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie & Fitch, Levi's and Tommy Hilfiger), her career aspirations came true when she was chosen to be a Victoria's Secret Angel. Now she works with all the best fashion photographers and film directors in the Victoria's Secret family, joining the ranks of Heidi Klum, Gisele Bundchen, Adriana Lima and Tyra Banks.
In 2008, after a trip to Sierra Leone, she founded the Women's Coalition for Empowerment and Opportunity (WCEO) to support women's educational and professional programs in the civil war-torn African nation. Ebanks is also a supporter of New Yorkers of Children, which benefits young adults in the New York's Foster Care system. She is active in the New York and Cayman Islands communities, and has been a mentor in the Seamen's Society of Staten Island, working with local schools, churches and community groups to provide individual and family counseling, HIV/AIDS education and prevention, leadership skills, peer support groups and recreation. She has also initiated a mentoring program in the Cayman Islands called the Stardom Youth Foundation providing career guidance for teenagers.
Selita's charity is Shine on Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone had suffered a 10-year civil war prior to Selita's first visit to the country for a photo shoot. While she was there, Selita learned that one in eight women in Sierra Leone die in childbirth and the country is leading in child mortality rates. Despite these hardships, Selita was quite taken with the country and the women and children who live there. Shine on Sierra Leone is an organization that sets out to help the women and children of Sierra Leone by providing sustainable education, healthcare, micro-loans, computer literacy and environmentally sustainable development. The organization is committed to helping the women and children of Sierra Leone to create stability in their lives and rebuild a hope for the future in the wake of devastating circumstances. If Selita wins "The Celebrity Apprentice," she plans on building a female health clinic, which would allow for doctors and nurses to go out in the villages to help the women of Sierra Leone.