Stanhope's Wingle talks Survivor, sports, modeling and mentoring

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:28

Stanhope — Mikayla Wingle has already had a colorful career at only 22 years old. Her most recent stint was on Survivor: South Pacific, an accolade to add to her already diverse résumé as a lingerie football player, a runway and print model and a Playboy cover girl. “I’m taking the path least taken,” said Wingle about her unique ventures. After transferring from Lenape Valley Regional High School Wingle graduated from High Point Regional in 2007. She went on to study marketing at the University of Southern Florida and Hillsborough Community College. A sports aficionado, Wingle played basketball, softball and soccer in the Sussex County Interscholastic League. “She was a lot of fun [growing up], I was very lucky," said Wingle's mother Joelle Demasi. "She was a good kid, she had good grades and was very athletic. The boys wouldn’t call her so much for dates as they would to play football and basketball.” In addition to runway modeling, her heart for sports led her to play lingerie football for the Tampa Breeze. This generated further opportunities including a Playboy cover and a call from Survivor: South Pacific. “I was so excited,” DeMasi said. Wingle had been watching Survivor with her mother since she was 10. “It’s my favorite show, and this was a great opportunity for her. I know that going on this show would really make her appreciate what she has.” “It was a positive thing and showed me how strong to be,” Wingle said of her experience. DeMasi said the family received support from the Stanhope community and Sussex County overall. “People were so excited for her, her sisters were so proud of her,” said Demasi. Wingle was part of the Upolo Tribe on the show, until she was voted off on the sixth episode which aired on Oct. 19. “I had an automatic target on my back,” she said. “Brandon brought his personal problems into the game.” Wingle said she was rooting for tribe-mate Christine Shields Markoski, who ended up getting eliminated on the Nov. 2 broadcast. The series finale is scheduled to air on Dec. 18. Wingle said she strives to be a positive role model for her younger siblings. She has three sisters and two brothers, including an older brother, age 24. “I tell them to live life, and don’t blend in, and don't be a follower - be a leader,” Wingle said. Wingle has fond memories of being a student in Sussex County and her days at the Valley Road Elementary School in Stanhope. “I love the school,” she said. What saddens her however is the loss of some of the sports activities due to budget cuts. Wingle said her younger siblings don't have the same tools she had when she was in grade school. “It’s sad not to have these activities,” she said. Wingle said she is proud of her New Jersey roots and is troubled by the stereotypes portrayed on reality shows that focus on the Garden State. “That’s not how we are,” she said. Wingle plans to continue modeling, playing lingerie football and to further her marketing studies. She looks forward to some upcoming acting opportunities and the release of her 2012 calendar, as well as other items featured in her online store. “We’re proud of Mikayla," said Demasi. "We're looking forward to her next adventure.”