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Orietta de Luque has a figure that makes men whistle, breasts that make them forget to breathe, and legs that stir the soul like a coffee spoon. But the 26-year-old TV host knows there is more under her clothes than a model's curves.
"Intelligence shines more brightly than a pretty face or a hot body," she says in Spanish, plucking a single grape from a fruit-and-cheese platter and plopping it unceremoniously between her lips. "Of course, your image helps you gain entry into this industry. People care how you look, and they know that you're not on television to talk about philosophy."
Not that de Luque couldn't. She studied clinical psychology in her native Colombia before moving to Miami and knows her way around the works of Friedrich Nietzsche. But as cohost of Mega TV's nightly news show, Paparazzi Magazine, she spends most of her time on-air in heels and skintight dresses, asking celebrities about their beautiful lives.
With her dark sweep of hair, faint freckles, and flawless facial symmetry, de Luque looks like Barranquilla Barbie. But it's her intellect that got her a job at Mega TV ahead of Miami's endless waves of lithe, young Latinas. When her parents separated, her mother moved to the Magic City and found work in a clinic for the elderly. Orietta followed her in 2004 and began taking journalism classes at the University of Miami.
"I'm naturally a psychologist," de Luque says of her career choice. At Mega TV, she still gets to ask people questions, only on television and looking like a million bucks. "Nowadays very few people really listen," she says. "But I love to."
Working at Mega TV has been a strange, exhilarating experience for de Luque, who arrived in Miami with no English and no plan. Despite her ease on camera, she's uncomfortable with her growing celebrity, hardly watches television, and no longer lives the late-night club lifestyle of some of Miami's TV celebrities.
"I'm the most uncomplicated, simple, hippie person you know," she says. To prove it, she tells New Times she practices reiki healing. De Luque believes stress or sickness can be alleviated by laying her hands on someone and tapping into unseen life-force energy that flows through all of us. "I'm an old soul."
But sitting in a tight, low-cut red top at Mega TV headquarters in Hialeah, Orietta de Luque is all flesh and youth. Miami's hottest TV presenter doesn't mind the attention, as long as you respect her IQ.
"You're always going to run up against stereotypes in life," she says, popping a slice of red apple into her broad mouth. "But it's up to you to shed them."
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