Weddington girl a ‘Cutest Kid’ finalist

Rachel St. Glesias (front) is in the running for the “LIVE! with Kelly”show’s Cutest Kid Search. The Weddington girl has done television and movies, and wants her next accomplishment to be heading to New York City as Cutest Kid winner. (Rachel is seen above with her sister, Renee.)

WEDDINGTON – She’s starred in major motion pictures and a primetime TV series. She lives in Weddington. And she’s a semi-finalist for the “LIVE! with Kelly” Cutest Kid Search.

If the votes add up, 8-year-old Rachel St. Glesias could appear on the show with host Kelly Ripa next month.

Rachel’s mom, Angie, found out about the contest via Facebook. Angie has had luck winning a handful of contests in the past, which have included prizes like an iPhone (which she won by submitting a picture of Rachel to another contest) and, most recently, 100 refillable Roo Cups from Kangaroo Express, which the family donated to local fire stations. Now, she’s hoping to bank on this contest as well.

“I just saw it pop up on my Facebook,” Angie said. “I entered Rachel and didn’t tell her about it. I guess she just caught their attention. I’m thinking there were about 10,000 entries.”

Rachel was selected as one of a number of semi-finalists in the “big kid” category of the contest. If she’s chosen as one of the three finalists, she’ll get a trip to New York City for a photo shoot and an appearance on “LIVE! with Kelly.” The winners from the “baby” and “big kid” categories will get a seven-day cruise for a family of four with Norwegian Cruise Line. The show’s viewers then will vote to select the ultimate winner of the contest, who will get a handful of prizes including a brand new 2013 Dodge Journey.

Voting for semi-finalists began Aug. 20 and ends Sept. 3. Three different semi-finalists from each of the two categories are featured each day, and the public can log into an account on the cutest kid website and vote for one contestant from each category per day.
Rachel’s voting day was Aug. 21, so until the winners are announced next Tuesday, her family members are simply crossing their fingers in hopes she got enough votes. “We only had one day to vote, so I hope I got enough people to know about it,” Angie said.

If Rachel is selected as a finalist, it won’t be the first time she’s been on national television. Last year, Rachel and her sister, Renee, appeared in two episodes of the critically acclaimed Showtime series “Homeland,” which is filmed in Charlotte. The girls played the nieces of lead actress Claire Danes’ character on the show.

Rachel said the best part of playing in “Homeland” was “getting hugs and kisses from Claire Danes. After every take, she got to hug and kiss me.”

The fourth sibling in her family to take up acting, Rachel said she’s learned the tricks of the trade from watching Renee and her two older brothers on the set. The family frequently records audition videos from their home, hanging up a blue sheet and adjusting the light for a high-quality shot. They submit the videos online and are often chosen for small roles in films and shows, many of which are filmed locally.

Rachel has appeared in small roles in films like “The Blind Side,” “The Shunning” and other independent and short films. She’s traveled to places like Atlanta, Ga., Wilkesboro and the North Carolina mountains to film on location, and she’s played a wide variety of roles. “I’ve played Amish, redneck and cute kid,” Rachel said.

Angie and Rachel left Tuesday for nine days in the backwoods of the West Virginia mountains, where Rachel will be filming a biographical drama with actress Theresa Russell. The film tells the true story of a woman who fought to protect the mountains from industrial damage.

Although Rachel and the rest of her family stay busy trying to balance acting with school, their mom makes sure they have enough free time to enjoy life. “Acting is not an easy road,” Angie said. “You audition and just flush it. When they’re not acting, we try to keep (our schedules) free so (the kids) can spend time with friends.”

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