Washington Township woman a 'Hometown Hottie'
When Dessie Mitcheson entered a swimsuit competition while on vacation with her family more than two years ago, she had little idea she'd just begun her modeling career.
After being named “Ms. Hawaiian Tropic Myrtle Beach,” Mitcheson was invited to the national Ms. Hawaiian Tropic pageant, then became the face of Playboy Intimates lingerie.
This month, Mitcheson, 22, won her latest, most famous title when she was named “Maxim's 2013 Hometown Hottie.”
“It was a total shock,” Mitcheson said, as she sat on a sofa in her Washington Township home, petting her Jack Russell terrier Pippa. “They surprised me at my house to tell me I won.”
Mitcheson beat out thousands of other women who entered the contest. The pool of entrants was whittled down to 100, then a combination of readers' votes and the magazine staff picked Mitcheson.
“They flew the final 10 girls to Las Vegas,” said Mitcheson, a 2009 graduate of Kiski Area High School. “We had a lot of fun, but it was also a lot of work. We were shooting for 12 hours some days.”
Mitcheson said the most difficult part was waiting to find out who won.
“It started in April and we didn't find out who won until just a couple of weeks ago,” she said. “It was such a long process.”
The term “Hometown Hottie” might not be the most eloquent way to describe Mitcheson, but it gets to the heart of the matter.
Mitcheson is beautiful, and she is a hometown girl, still living in her childhood home with her mother, Linda, her father, Tim, and her brother, Dane.
“I get job offers from L.A. all the time,” she said. “But when they realize that I live in Pennsylvania, they know there are hundreds of other girls they can get for the job who live right there,” she said.
Despite her thriving modeling career — Mitcheson had photo shoots in Buffalo and Atlanta last week — Mitcheson still chooses to work at a local beauty salon.
The most surprising part of meeting Mitcheson is how pleasant and unassuming she is. “She's always been humble and a very sweet little girl,” said her mother, Linda Mitcheson. “That's her best quality.
“Throughout her life no matter who won something, Dessie was happy for them.”
Mia McClarnon, Dessie Mitcheson's cousin and one of her best friends, said her Micheson hasn't changed at all since her modeling career took off.
“She still comes over in ‘sweats,' with her hair down,” McClarnon said. “She's still silly, she's still very, very down to earth. She's a very nice girl.”
Linda Mitcheson said she and her family don't even flinch at some of the teeny outfits that her bikini-model daughter wears.
“We know Dessie is such a grounded person, there's no problem,” she said. “We look at the pictures and it's just Dessie.
“Even her grandparents support everything she does.”
McClarnon said she and the rest of the family always urged Mitcheson to get into modeling. “We wanted her to do it for awhile,” she said. “We're all just so excited for her.”
Mitcheson said she hopes her new title will help her career hit the highest heights possible.
“Maxim tends to keep their ‘Hometown Hotties' around,” she said. “It's a great opportunity. I'll have jobs with Maxim throughout the year. It will be great to work with them.”
Mitcheson offered some advice to those who want to follow in her footsteps.
“Work as much as you can with local photographers,” she said. “And enter a lot of contests.
“Get your name out there.”
R.A. Monti is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.