Ondrade began her modeling and acting career when, while working as a make-up artist, she grew contemptuous towards the attitudes of several models she encountered while working on a photo shoot in the Dominican Republic. She attended the National Ballet School in Toronto, and had a small role in the 1999 film Detroit Rock City. She then relocated to California in the United States of America in order to further her career, where she posed for magazines such as Fit Beauties Magazine, appeared in music videos featuring singers such as Janet Jackson and Jermaine Dupri, and appeared in two television shows. In 2005, Ondrade took part in a revealing photo shoot for National Lampoon, and participated in the National Lampoon’s Strip Poker event, in which she placed second last (fifth). In January 2006, Ondrade appeared on the VH1 “celebreality” show Flavor of Love (2006) as “Smiley”.
Ondrade was one of the eight final contestants of the World Wrestling Entertainment 2005 Diva Search. She was billed as “Alexis” throughout the contest because WWE thought that her real name was too similar to that of Leyla Milani, another finalist. After two weeks, Ondrade became the first contestant to be eliminated. Following her elimination, she released a poem on the Internet demonstrating her knowledge of the wrestling industry.
Later that year, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (a rival professional wrestling promotion) employed Ondrade as a ring girl to work alongside So Cal Val.