Angela Martini moved to Miami with a thick Albanian accent and a few old Polaroids. The following is an excerpt from her upcoming memoir, Love Hope Light ($26, Indigo River Publishing), a story of one model’s journey to Miss Universe.

“I don’t want a Plan B.” I really didn’t. I was of the belief that if you didn’t have a Plan B, Plan A simply had to work.

Having a Plan B spelled doom. It was a scaredy-cat move. If you had a Plan B, you probably didn’t really believe you’d succeed at Plan A, and this latent self-doubt was bound to screw up your pursuit of it. Having a Plan B in place meant that you didn’t really care if Plan A came through.

In the morning, I checked out of my room and left my bag at the front desk. I had my list of agencies and I set out—walking. The list was organized by each agency’s distance from the hotel.

I walked into the first agency,an open, airy space. I stood in the middle of it and announced myself. “Hello. My name is Angela Martini, and I have just come to Miami from Albania,” I said. “I’m here to be a model, and this is my book.”

Everyone was shocked and delighted. They laughed. I laugh now just thinking about it. Can you imagine how thick my accent must have been back then? Iwas fresh off the plane, and I barelyspoke English.

“We like you,” said one of the women gathered around the table to look at my pictures. The agency liked me! They looked at my book, took pictures of me and said they’d bring me on.

I knew it would work out. My heart thumped and I felt a lightness I hadn’t felt in years. I was about to ask about getting set up in a model’s apartment when the agent looked at me. “You have a work visa, right?” she said.

I had no such thing…

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