The upcoming reboot of Fox's 2003 reality-TV dating competition "Joe Millionaire," now subtitled "For Richer or Poorer," features among its contestants a former NBA and NFL dancer from Bethpage who now owns a model/dancer staffing agency.
Doris Cano, who turned 33 after shooting the program, is CEO of Diamond Divas Entertainment, which, in addition to providing dancers, trade-show models, food-and-beverage promoters and similar talent, offers dance classes. She was a New York Jets Flight Crew cheerleader from 2008-09 and a Philadelphia 76ers dancer from 2010-11, among other gigs.
"I would never see myself normally going on a dating show," the Bethpage High School graduate, who was born in Mineola, says by phone from home, "but crazier things have happened, and I am at a point in my life where, hey, if things aren't working out a certain way, you've go to try something different. So this is the something different."
Cano and others — including Manhattan digital strategist Annie Jorgensen and Brooklyn social-media consultant and Ford model Monica Aksamit, a 2016 Olympics bronze medalist in fencing — vie for two men on the show, premiering Jan. 6 at 8 p.m. on Fox/5: construction CEO Kurt Sowers, 32, and farming CEO Steven McBee, 27. Only one is a millionaire, with the women unaware which man it is.
Cano has been performing since childhood, when, she says, she was known in her elementary school as "the Crest kid" for a toothpaste TV commercial she did. She was among the youngsters in the 1995 KidVision half-hour video "Kathie Lee's Rock n' Tots Cafe: A Christmas ‘Giff.’ " Years later, accompanying a friend to a New York Knicks City Dancers audition, she was persuaded to audition herself, she says, and landed in the final 16. "I thought, ‘This is a thing. I can dance as work.’ "
Cano, who has three younger brothers, is the daughter of immigrants. Her Ecuadorian mother, also named Doris, grew up in the United States from age 5; she drove young Doris to acting auditions, dance competitions and high school track meets. Cano's father, Oscar, who owns a carpeting and flooring business, came from Mexico around age 21. "My dad is really where I've gotten my work ethic," Doris Cano said. "I really didn't want to work for someone else but for myself. Just seeing how he came here without the opportunities people normally have and still make multiple businesses for himself — he's just amazing."
The original "Joe Millionaire," one of the first reality-TV competition shows, featured construction worker Evan Marriott posing as Evan Wallace, purported heir of a $50 million fortune. He and winner Zora Andrich (now Zora Sabrina) split the million-dollar prize and then went their separate ways. The show's finale attracted 40 million viewers, the biggest prime-time entertainment audience in three years.