“I never thought in a million years I’d be chosen,” Sandy Young said about being one of 10 finalists competing on the second season of TV Land’s reality show “She’s Got The Look. ”
The openly lesbian rock singer and mother is up against nine other women over 35 for a chance to win a modeling contract, a photo spread in SELF Magazine and $100,000.
Being on the show is, in some ways, a vindication for Young, as she grew up in the small town of Utica, N.Y., and spent 10 years of her life in an abusive marriage.
“He would put down every part of my body,” she said. “Being insecure from that, going on to be on this show is just a dream come true.”
Young said she hopes her visibility on the show will allow her to reach other women in similar situations.
“I would really like to be a spokesperson for women that are in the closet, women that are a little bit older, or younger for that matter, and they’re too afraid to come out because of a family situation,” she said. “We all know that family is the hardest to tell. Friends are more accepting. I know coming from where I’ve been that you can definitely feel alone. I would love the opportunity to reach the one person that was in the same shoes as myself and change that person’s life and be like, ‘Yes, I can get the strength to do it.’ I didn’t come out until I was 30.”
Young said that living in a small town and having a conservative family were two of the reasons she stayed in the closet for so long, but eventually she realized she was miserable.
“I married someone because I thought that’s what society expected and I was feeling insecure,” she said. “It came to a point where I reached 30 and I was like, ‘What am I doing to my life? I’m not being true to myself. You only have one life. You have to do this.’ I just decided to change everything around and I’m much happier now. My kids are a lot happier because kids are very smart and intuitive. They definitely know if you’re happy and they can definitely see that I’m happy now. That’s ultimately what they want for me.”
Young eventually relocated to Brooklyn, where she has lived for the last three years, and is currently the lead singer for the band WhoButShe.
“It’s something I’m very passionate about,” she said. “I’m very driven. I believe that people should pursue everything with everything they have and follow their dreams.”
Besides becoming a singer, Young also has dreamt of becoming a model.
“When I was young, I kind of thought about modeling and put it off,” she said. “I came down here for music and just kind of fell into modeling. I absolutely love it. I love being in front of the camera. I love it down here. The culture is different. I never felt like I fit in all my life living in a small town.”
Young may have felt right at home in Brooklyn, but when she first stepped onto the set of “She’s Got The Look,” she said she again felt out of place. Luckily for her, she quickly got over it.
“When I first saw the other contestants, I was quite frankly a little scared because I felt like I didn’t fit in,” she said. “I look young for my age. I remember showing up in skinny jeans and combat boots. I felt awkward and out of place, but once I got to know the contestants, the majority of them were really sweet and they had so many different stories to them.”
She also said she was happy the show wasn’t trying to be as catty and outrageous as other reality competitions.
“I think that it’s done very tastefully,” she said. “I definitely like the whole theory behind it: women that are older. I think they should embrace everything about them. I think older women have more to offer because they’ve lived through real-life experiences and that’s beauty in itself.”
“She’s Got The Look” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on TV Land. For more information, visit www.tvland.com/originals/shesgotthelook.
Larry Nichols can be reached at [email protected].