74ec1_sm.jpgA quick glance at rookie video model Veronica Rodriguez and you’ll understand why she was personally selected by Kanye West to appear in his Hype Williams–directed “Gold Digger” video. She’s a deadly combination. The 22-year-old’s long blonde hair and doll baby’s face make her adorable. Her 34D-24-39 measurements make her incredible. She inspires the ogle phrase “there must be something in the water.” In Veronica’s case, it’s something near the water. The murda Mexican is a product of the Bay Area’s Latino community (born in Salinas and currently living in San José), but is a die-hard representative of the whole Yay. “I love the Bay Area, so I hope someday someone else blows up from the Bay so I can be in the first [comeback] video,” she says. “I didn’t know that people didn’t know who [Bay rappers] were. They’d be like, ‘What!? E-40’s still around?’”

74ec2_sm.jpgThe Latina princess had been modeling since age 12, but relinquished those vanity dreams when her teenage years called for steady income. She spent a little over a year as an assistant physical therapist, and had never gotten a chance to scratch her modeling itch. Last year, when she was discovered by Violator A&R Andre Neal during a visit to New York, her modeling career was resuscitated. In a matter of weeks Veronica was on the set of Fabolous’ video “Baby.” (Remember the miffed yet well-cushioned honey who stomped up the stairs because Fab was on his cell?) Ja Rule’s “Caught Up” was next, then another Fab video that never saw daylight and now “Gold Digger.” Four videos in six months—all with platinum artists and top-notch directors—and the sugary Leo still doesn’t understand what all the fuss is over her. “I have never looked at myself and said, I look good,” she says. “I know I’m attractive because people tell me I am. When I got the call from XXL I was like, ‘Why me?’ I’ve never understood how a girl could look at herself and say, I’m fine, if she looks at her- self every day.”

As scrumptious as Veronica and her cinnabuns may look, she admits that her humble personality fuels the need to be reassured. This, surprisingly, has been a void in many of her relationships. “I’m a hopeless romantic,” she reveals. “Treat me like a lady, let me know how beautiful I am to you. No matter how many people tell me [I’m beautiful], it doesn’t mean anything if I don’t hear it from the person I care about. If the person you love isn’t telling you, you’re not gonna feel secure.”

Veronica’s nonchalant attitude is not new. The aspiring actress has always been that way—even when it comes to the opposite sex. “I’ve never been into looks, so the guys that everyone thought were so hot in high school I didn’t like at all. And they all tried to holla,” she confides. “No one would say the guys I talk to are fine.” Well, opposites do attract.