“Weird” is the adjective that 22-year-old Georgia peach Erica uses to describe her first casting-call experience. “I didn’t know it was gonna be all that; videotaping you while you pose and dance to the song,” says the brown bomber, before owning up to her greenness at the start of her career. “I’m not shy. But it was my first time, and I wasn’t expecting that.”

That virgin tryout was for Big Boi’s Purple Ribbon All-star smash “Kryptonite (I’m on It).” Despite her initial nervousness, this Pisces shone from the audition to the video shoot’s wrap. Thanks to Aarons Entertainment Group casting agent Nichole Stevens, Erica’s stellar performance was followed by a multitude of rotators like Juvenile’s “Rodeo,” Bubba Sparxxx’s “Ms. New Booty” and Biggie’s “Spit Your Game.” But the blessing that was her first video could never go underestimated.

80eyecandy2.jpg Last March, after being dumped by her live-in boyfriend on her birthday, Erica was forced to decide between sleeping on the couch in her aunt’s packed house or finding an immediate way to generate income. She reluctantly chose club dancing. The apprehension she felt during that initial video casting was minor compared to her first night at Atlanta’s Strokers. “Dancing took me quite a while to get used to,” she says, with her head low. “The money was good, but I hated it. Having to work all the time, it’s just too much wear and tear on your body, your legs, knees—being on your feet all the time. And then you gotta deal with the customers.”

But unlike so many ATL females in search of greener pastures, the 34C-24-38 beauty refused to make pole-sliding a career. She gave herself a one-year deadline
to raise enough money to quit tip drillin’ and pursue the modeling dream that impassioned her (and eluded her mom, who opted for motherhood). Unable to ride out the full 12 months, the former track runner (peep those thighs!) purchased a modest ’06 Ford Fusion and rented a one-bedroom apartment in Riverdale, Ga. She then enrolled in Clayton State University to study political science and prelaw. “I wanna be a congresswoman one day,” she reveals, posture now upright. “I think I’d represent the Black community well. There’s so many issues that have not been touched. And I just think it’s time for a change.”

But entering the political world is akin to scouring shark territory with blood-scented scuba gear. Haters and/or rivals would love to kill Erica’s journey to Capitol Hill even before it starts. How does she plan on handling her past being dredged up? “I normally don’t tell people that I danced,” she admits. “Honestly, I really don’t know.
I was worried about it affecting me becoming a corporate lawyer, but that’s my past. I can only move forward. If my past prevents me, then it wasn’t meant to be,” she explains. Whether politics or law is in her future, there’s one kind of bar exam that Erica surely won’t be taking ever again. Case closed.