Credit: Troy Jensen/Pottle Productions/The CW ©2010 The CW Network. Photo: Meet Sara on ANTM Cycle 16

Cycle 16 of America's Next Top Model kicks off tonight and one Top Model hopeful says meeting Tyra Banks in person was anything but a disappointment. Says 19-year-old Texas native Sara Longoria, "She’s so beautiful in person. It’s one thing to see beautiful, shiny people on TV, but then to know they look that beautiful and shiny in person, it’s crazy."

Sara's already stirring up a lot of hype as "the weird girl" of this cycle, being in a polyamorous relationship, and rocking a rat tail (yes, a rat tail), but her family isn't surprised she wound up on a modeling competition. "She definitely developed a sense of style at a young age," says Sara's aunt, Gina Longoria. "I remember on one of my visits to the Rio Grande Valley, I was in the kitchen talking with her parents and during the course of an afternoon, she changed what she was wearing and her hairstyle at least three times … each look was actually pretty cool."

Adds Gina, "Sara always was and continues to be an exceptionally smart girl. She comes by that naturally because both of her parents are, too." In a recent interview, Sara revealed that her mother and six siblings knew about her bisexuality, and the dynamics of her relationship, but admitted that she didn't really talk to her dad.

It turns out, Papa Longoria is still very much in the picture. He's actually Col. Fred Longoria, and served a whopping 27 years in the United States Marine Corps before retiring to direct the ROTC program at Sara's alma mater, McAllen Memorial High School. Okay, so we see how a military man might not be totally on board with alternative lifestyles.

Source: The Monitor

MORE ANTM CYCLE 16:

ANTM Cycle 16 Details

Meet Cycle 16's Plus-Sized Model