It was a typical summer shopping day for Ariana Gentry, 10, of Swansea. She and her cousins were buying toys at an outlet mall for their vacation.
Neither Ariana nor her mother, Tammy Gentry, of Swansea, realized that the new toy — a Nerf Rebelle Bow and Arrow — would give Ariana the chance to become the spokesperson for Toys ‘R’ Us.
When Ariana got home from vacation, a friend of Tammy’s told her about a Toys ‘R’ Us contest and encouraged them to enter.
Toys ‘R’ Us announced on July 26 that it was conducting a nationwide hunt to fill its newest and most awesome job yet — President of Play. One lucky kid in the United States soon will be selected to spend a year playing with the hottest new toys and games and providing true expert recommendations to parents and gift-givers alike.
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To enter the competition, Ariana made a video displaying and discussing some of her favorite toys. She decided to make her video about her brand new bow and arrow.
“I like my bow and arrow because it makes me feel like Katniss in ‘The Hunger Games,’” said Ariana about her femme fatale idol.
Of the thousands of children who submitted a video, Ariana was selected as a top 10 semi-finalist. She flew for the first time to Newark, N.J. A driver named Louis chauffeured the excited mother and daughter to company headquarters in Wayne, N.J., where Ariana had a one-on-one interview with the CEO and other board members.
She learned the next day that she was one of three finalists, along with Jessalyn Grace Phanouvong, 9, of Fresno, Calif., and Nate Shue, 10, of Fairfax, Va.
Ariana was home for a week to prep for a President of Play debate that you can see on the Toys ‘R’ Us Facebook page.
The President of Play’s responsibilities will include testing the most sought after toys, serving as a Toys ‘R’ Us spokesperson, sharing the latest toy trends through online and promotional videos and attending events across the nation.
The winner is selected by popular vote.
Voters most go to Twitter and create a tweet using the hashtags #TRUElectionAriana and #PresidentofPlay. Tweets can be made once a day and the finalist with the most tweets by Friday, Sept. 23, will become the new “President of Play” for Toys ‘R’ Us.
You can see Ariana in her element at the Fairview Heights Toys ‘R’ Us store at 4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19.