by Jim O’Brien
A young woman from Bridgeville becomes a national sensation on one of those so-called “reality” TV shows and she can’t believe all the doors it opens.
, 23, who grew up in Bridgeville and played volleyball and was a cheerleader at South Fayette High School, is now meeting movie stars and soap opera stars at a birthday party for Playboy patriarch Hugh Hefner at his mansion near Chicago. She can hardly catch her breath between engagements.
Now she’s appearing at a press conference at the Westin Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh. Executives of the Pittsburgh Brewing Company are bubbling over with excitement to announce that Jenna has joined their ranks to promote both Iron City and I.C. Light beers. Jenna is the poster-girl and billboard-girl in their new “Bring It” promotional campaign.
They’re taking on the big boys, the national beers, and they’re coming out swinging with a swinging young miss named Morasca. Her dad, Mike Morasca, who’s 55, was standing in the back of the room, positively beaming. He has taken a break from his position as supervisor of the maintenance staff at the Westin Convention Center to see his little girl in the spotlight once again.
Ralph Cindrich, the sports attorney and agent who lives in Mt. Lebanon and has offices in Carnegie, is there, too. Cindrich has represented many sports stars, especially football players, through the years and now he’s marketing Jenna Morasca as well. Ralph and Mike are
former football players and wrestlers who’ve tangled in their high school days, and have been friends ever since. Ralph’s daughter, Christina, is a friend of Jenna. So they know each other well.
“I’m excited to be doing something different like this,” said Cindrich, who grew up in Avella and starred as a linebacker at Pitt in the early ’70s and went on to play pro ball for the New England Patriots, Houston Oilers and Denver Broncos in the National Football League. Cindrich is one of the most respected sports agents in the business. “We’re comfortable having Jenna with Ralph,” said her proud father at last week’s press conference.
Jenna first gained fame last year when she won CBS-TV’s hit show, “Survivor: The Amazon.” She was competing this season on “Survivor: All Stars,” but had to drop out to be with her mother, Carla Morasca, who was battling cancer. “If there was anybody who was a survivor it was my mom,” said Jenna. “She battled cancer for 12 years. She was only 47 when she passed in November. She was the first one to light my fire.” Jenna was close to her family and drew strength and inspiration from both of her parents. “They were the best fans ever,” she said. “My dad was always very competitive and yet he had a way of keeping calm in the process. He attended all my activities and pushed me, but kept me calm at the same time. He’d say, ‘I know you can win; let’s do our best.’ It was always reassuring. “I liked all sports, and tried them all when I was young. I played softball and soccer and basketball, but was best at volleyball. I became a pretty good spiker.”
Her overnight fame even led to a photo spread in Playboy. Asked how he handled that, her dad said, “We talked about that and worked it out,” he recalled. “She had the right to pick what pictures they used, and there were poses she wouldn’t do. We wanted it to be tasteful. We felt it would be OK. “It’s nice to see something positive happen for your kid. We’ve been through a lot together. It’s been awful tough at times with what was going on with my wife. I was good at all sports when I was young and I tried to be positive when Jenna did try things. She always tried to do her best.”
Jenna said she is pleased to be doing something “in my hometown with a Pittsburgh product.” Joe Piccirilli, the president of Pittsburgh Brewing Company, and Tony Ferraro, the vice-president of sales, are both excited to have Jenna on their team to represent the brewery at various promotions about town. Part of this campaign will include a trip giveaway to Riveria Maya, Mexico in October for some lucky customer.
Jenna, by the way, says she has an occasional Iron City. I’m an I.C. Light man myself – from the bottle in a frosted mug, thank you – because I like to support Pittsburgh companies as well. Bring it!