Mercedes Scelba-Sorte was born on August 24, 1981 in New Jersey. Her mother is American, while her father is African-American. When Mercedes was a very young girl, her mother relocated the family to California because she was afraid of the dangers that might befall her daughter. Before appearing on America’s Next Top Model, Cycle 2, Mercedes was a student at California State University, where she majored in Communications. She wanted to pursue a modeling and acting and career in New York, but instead found herself working with New Model Management in Los Angeles. When she was diagnosed with Lupus, it took some time before she could accept her fate, but eventually became a spokesperson for the Lupus Foundation of America.
As a Finalist on America’s Next Top Model, Cycle 2, Mercedes great talent and modeling skills were enough to propel her to the Top 2 with other Top Model finalist Yoanna House
. Throughout the show, Mercedes tried hard to keep her condition a secret from the other girls, as she didn’t want to be pitied. For the final challenge, the two girls had to battle it out on the runway, but even though Mercedes dominated the fashion show, the judges gave the title and the modeling contract to Yoanna because they felt Mercedes’ look was too commercial.
After appearing on the show, Mercedes went on to work with NOUS Models and has graced the covers of Arthritis Today Magazine, Wedding Dresses Magazine, and Wedding Dresses Magazine, and Lupus Now Magazine. In addition, she has also worked for Ashro Catalogue, Kohl's Catalogue, Anchor Blue, Wedding Dresses Magazine, Arthritis Today Magazine, Samsung phone, Sears, YM Magazine, and Mervyns catalogue. Mercedes was also given minor roles in the television series One on One, All of Us and The Bold and the Beautiful
. Her runway projects include ElleGirl presents Dare To Be You: Wal-Mart Meets America's Next Top Models 2005. She has since appeared in commercials for Chili's restaurant, Verizon and the VisitCalifornia.com "Misconceptions" campaign. After signing with Elite Model Management, she moved to Click Models in Los Angeles to be represented.
(Photos courtesy of UPN/CW)