Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 1/22/13
Even fake models want a piece of Mark Sanchez. The Jets quarterback, who has been linked to some rather good-looking, high-profile women over the years, has somehow managed to creep his way into the ongoing Manti Te’o controversy, likely without even realizing it. According to the New York Post, a Hawaiian beauty pageant queen, Tessi Tolutau, claims that she also was contacted by “Lennay Kekua” — the alias attached to Te’o's fictitious girlfriend — in 2008, a year before Te’o claims to have had his first contact with the hoaxer. And apparently, the person controlling “Kekua” made some bold claims upon reaching out to Tolutau. “She explained to me that she played basketball at Stanford, that she was a Victoria’s Secret model, that she was dating somebody from Stanford. She even said she was dating Mark Sanchez,” Tolutau reportedly said. Tolutau, who was 2007′s Miss South Pacific, reportedly is from the same small Hawaiian beach town as Te’o, and was initially contacted by “Kekua” for beauty pageant advice. “She wrote, ‘I just wanted to know what path I should take for the Miss Tonga pageant,’” Tolutau told The Post. “We went back and forth. I gave her advice about how to prepare. It was an ongoing conversation . . . She even asked me about [other Hawaiians I knew] and about Manti, too.” As one would imagine, the recent news that the seemingly inspirational story of Te’o's girlfriend was all a giant hoax caught Tolutau off-guard. She said she didn’t know “Lennay Kekua” was the one believed to be Te’o's now-dead girlfriend, and Tolutau reportedly once met with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man accused of being behind the prank, upon the insistence of “Kekua.” This strange story just continues to get stranger, but one has to wonder why “Kekua” elected to drop Sanchez’s name as part of the elaborate scam. In the hoaxer’s defense, Sanchez was tearing it up for USC when the alleged incident occurred, but if you’re going to lie, you might as well go big or go home, right? Why not date an actor, a musician or someone with the potential to become a halfway decent NFL quarterback? Then again, that wouldn’t have been as funny. Thanks for the chuckle, “Lennay,” even if you are a giant fraud.
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