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Northeast Philly gal hits ‘America’s Next Top Model’

Young mom clears old hurdles on ‘Top Model.’

Who says short people can't break through glass ceilings?

On Wednesday, a girl from Northeast Philly, Maleesa Negron, busted through the height requirement and made it past the first elimination round on "America's Next Top Model."

Negron was scouted by "ANTM" executive producer, Michelle Mock, the very same night that Tyra Banks posted the "no height requirement" for the "ANTM" "Cycle 22" on Instagram.

"I was almost about to give up on my dream - it seemed impossible for me. I've been trying to break into the modeling industry since I was 14 years old," said Negron, who was raised by her widowed single mother and two brothers.

"You can imagine: Money was scarce, but nonetheless, I was a small city girl with Hollywood dreams. But, because of my height, as you can imagine, all I ever ran into were scams."

Negron tells me she became a teen mom at age 16, then again at 18, thus making it even more difficult for her to pursue her dream of modeling, when parenting is priority No. 1.

It's only when Tyra opened the invitation to height-challenged prospects that Negron got back on the horse.

"When I saw her post on Instagram, I knew it was meant for me," she said.

"It was an indescribable feeling. I felt like Tyra posted it for me personally, so I knew I had to take my chance."

Not long after, she got the call that she was one of the first petite models to be picked, and flew out to L.A. Negron is the shortest model in "ANTM" history, standing at 4 feet, 11 inches.

"The experience was beyond my wildest dreams," she said. "To be able to tell my story and help relate to other girls out there like me, who felt lost, trapped, always not good enough. Never give up, because you never know what's around that corner. Look at me, I made 'Top Model' history, and always remember God has a plan."

Follow Negron's progress on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. on the CW Philly.

Hats off to LipHeele

Actor and comedian Jamie Kennedy, who calls the Philadelphia area home, was in town this past weekend to perform at Helium Comedy Club (2031 Sansom St.).

During an interview with NBC10's Rosemary Connors on Friday, Kennedy donned a shirt made by our very own Reuben "Big Rube" Harley, and gave a shout out to the LipHeele brand, which is a wearable canvas of Rube's photography. Buy LipHeele shirts at Status Shop (327 South St.).

I'm told Kennedy was later seen having dinner at Del Frisco's (1426 Chestnut St.) that same night.


* Former Dallas Cowboy Julius Jones was spotted dining at Rouge (205 S. 18th St.) recently with his beautiful wife. Sources say he's been staying at AKA (135 S. 18th St.), the upscale extended stay hotel on Rittenhouse Square. He was later reportedly seen at Gran Caffe L'Aquila (1716 Chestnut St.) with his wife and Philly socialite Sabrina Tamburino Thorne. Rumor has it he may be having discussions with Eagles officials about joining the franchise.

* I stopped by Philadelphia magazine's swank, open-air affair at Dilworth Park Thursday night and shook hands with some of the winners of this year's "Best of" 2015. In attendance were Fox 29's "Sexy Single" Alex Holley, Mike Jerrick and Chris Murphy; "Top Chef" winner Nicholas Elmi; Iron Chef Jose Garces; actresses Sarah Megan Thomas and Alysia Reiner; "Citizen" Sam Katz; and Stephen Starr's celebrity chef Shane Solomon, among others.

* That same night, down in South Philly, real-estate mogul Tom Scannapieco's daughter Lindsey launched the much anticipated pop-up beer and wine bar, "Le Bok Fin" - a play on Georges Perrier's high-end French restaurant - on the roof of the old Bok Technical High School, at 9th and Mifflin streets. The view from eight floors up was spectacular, drawing drinkers from near and far, including City Councilman Mark Squilla and Pulitzer Prize-winning Inquirer architecture critic, Inga Saffron, among others.

Coffee craving?

Adventurer and entrepreneur Todd Carmichael is gearing up for the launch of a brand new show that takes him to the edges of the earth to source some of the very best coffee on the planet.

Carmichael, founder of the Philly-based La Colombe coffee roasters, will star in the eight-part series, "Uncommon Grounds," which premieres Sept. 14 at 11 p.m. on Travel Channel.

On Twitter: @PhillyGossipDN