Rick Bentley

‘Small-town girl’ from Fresno steps out on TLC’s ‘My First Home’

Taryn T. Francis, center, a Clovis High and Fresno State graduate who went on to pursue a career in the Los Angeles area, and her husband, Yuriy Yermilov, talk with a real estate agent during a home tour filmed for the TMC reality show “My First Home.”
Taryn T. Francis, center, a Clovis High and Fresno State graduate who went on to pursue a career in the Los Angeles area, and her husband, Yuriy Yermilov, talk with a real estate agent during a home tour filmed for the TMC reality show “My First Home.” TLC

Those of you who caught the fifth episode in this season of TLC’s “My First Home” got to hear Taryn T. Francis talk about growing up in Fresno. She moved to Los Angeles seven years ago to pursue more career opportunities. One such opportunity was being part of the reality show. The episode is scheduled to be repeated at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 14.

“The show covers our story of being a young couple in L.A. searching for our first home to buy at the same time as planning our wedding. The big challenge for me was being a small-town girl of the Fresno area, house prices are not nearly as inflated as the L.A. market,” Francis says. “Our show on TLC represents the ups and downs of our home search, and ultimately our happy ending.

“I am so thankful the cameras were there to document everything. Now we can look back at this experience and cherish it for a lifetime to come.”

One of the biggest factors in the house search was making sure there was a big-enough yard for the couple’s two dogs: Bakin and Blondie. A small yard was a deal breaker.

Long before she moved to Los Angeles and met her husband, Yuriy Yermilov, Francis earned national attention as the junior dance grand champion on “Star Search” in 1992. Francis and her mother, Tina, went to Orlando, Fla., to tape her “Star Search” appearances in which she won a $10,000 prize.

She went on to open her own dance studio of the arts when she was 16, graduated from Clovis High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in theater arts and dance from Fresno State.

Francis teaches dance arts at a private school for kids with learning challenges, and she continues to work professionally as a dancer, choreographer and master class teacher. She also judges dance and cheerleading competitions around the world.

Francis has an extensive background in dance, competitive gymnastics, professional cheerleading, fitness, martial arts and the entertainment industry. She’s a former level 10 nationally ranked gymnast.

Disney star coming to Fresno Spring Fair

Olivia Holt, who has starred in such Disney projects as “Kickin’ It” and “I Didn’t Do It,” will sign autographs from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 7, at the Fresno Fairgrounds. Her appearance is part of the inaugural Fresno Spring Fair being held Thursday through Sunday, May 5-8.

The autograph is free with a paid admission.

Billy the Kid photo on the road

The Billy the Kid photo that Randy Guijarro bought for $2 in 2010 at an antique shop in the Tower District – which turned into a two-hour National Geographic special narrated by Kevin Costner and a payday that could reach $5 million – will be on display at Witherell’s Old West Show in Grass Valley on Friday, May 6 and Saturday, May 7.

Guijarro will be joined by Donald Kagin, the man who spent a year validating the original historic and scientific research. Kagin is handling the sale of the tintype, its worth now estimated at $5 million.

Local film and TV producer Jeff Aiello put together “Billy the Kid: New Evidence,” which aired on the cable channel Oct. 18. The special looked at the yearlong quest to authenticate Guijarro’s purchase, a 4-by-5-inch tintype that shows Billy the Kid and members of his gang playing croquet.

Other news

New on KFCF lineup: A survey of KFCF (FM 88.1) listeners revealed they wanted more documentaries. In response, “Reveal” from the Center for Investigative Reporting has been added to the local radio station lineup. It is broadcast at 4 p.m. Thursdays.

‘Frozen’ auditions: “Frozen” started as a movie, became a plot line for “Once Upon a Time,” will be a new stage show at Disneyland and it’s now a singing competition. Open auditions for the latter are scheduled from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 7, and noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 16, for the third annual California Frozen Singers Tournament. For more information, go to www.jliveent.com and to sign up online, send an email to jliveking@gmail.com. You can also call or text 559-362-4026.

Take a seat: You can own a seat from “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Starting at noon Thursday, May 5, a select number of studio audience chairs will be auctioned off, with proceeds going to the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation. Bidding closes at 3 p.m. Thursday, May 12. Go to oprah.screenbid.com to see the chairs.

Rick Bentley: 559-441-6355, @RickBentley1

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