“How do you go from Buffie, Ki Toy and Esther Baxter to me?” ponders chocolate girl-wonder Aundréa, on whether she deserves the honor of being XXL’s ninth anniversary pinup. “Nobody knows me. I’m scared people are gonna be like, Who’s this girl? Why is she Eye Candy?” The Atlanta resident’s disbelief is justified; as of last September, the 18-year-old was simply a Redan High School senior dreaming of squeezing her hips into the modeling world. One month later, opportunity tapped on her door and offered a route to the set of T-Pain’s “I’m N Love (Wit a Stripper)” video. Fooling everybody into thinking she was 18—though she wouldn’t be until April of this year—her grown-up pump-fake got her an adult lesson.
“I went to a casting; they called me back and told me I was gonna get a lead role in the video. But once I got there, everything changed. Nobody knew who I was. I just fell behind the scenes,” says Aundréa, before revealing that insult topped injury when the fruits of her laborious day turned sapless. “I was there for 13 hours, but I was only in [the video] for like two seconds. I was done doing videos after that.”
Now, it’s understandable if you’re puzzled (or disturbed) by the fact that an underage girl was a video chick for a hip-hop visual titled “I’m N Love (Wit a Stripper).” But in Dréa’s case, it’s not as bad as it seems. Mama was in attendance at every casting and video shoot her daughter set foot on, even encouraging her to work what she gave her. The result was a lead in B.G.’s “Move Around,” and a dramatic role in Field Mob and Ciara’s “So What,” where the Kansas City, Kan., native flossed her thunderous walk and brownie-thick thighs. While shawty’s fan club began assembling nationwide, the local haters went in. “Being in a video while in high school, you’re asking for trouble,” she says. “People were hating on me horribly, saying things like I was sleeping with artists to get in the videos, I was stripping, was a lesbian. Basically, I was [rumored to be] the Karrine Steffens of high school.”
This summer, Aundréa finally said good-bye to all the high school hate and hello to a diploma. With video modeling as an immediate option, the cocoa crispy plans to delay the start of her collegiate years by one semester. She will attend Georgia State University as a pre-dentistry major and cosmetology minor in January.
In the meantime, she’ll be working that championship smile and blue-ribbon body, shining, no matter what shade is thrown her way. Exuding confidence absent at the beginning of our interview, Aundréa philosophizes, “Dealing with rumors is like dealing with life. I’m a very attractive female, so you’re gonna deal with haters whether at McDonald’s or at a video shoot. At first, it would bother me, but now I feel like without haters I would not be as popular as I am now.”