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Health, Beauty & Fashion

Looking for top models

The Elite Model Look contest is back to choose Singapore's next top models
The Straits Times - October 1, 2011
By: Imran Jalal
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Looking for top models Supermodels: Philippa Lett will mentor the contestants in the Elite Model Look competition. -- PHOTO: HILL & KNOWLTON

Model wannabes, practise that pout. The Elite Model Look, the world's leading modelling competition, is back in Singapore after a six-year break.

About 1,000 starry-eyed girls aged 14 to 21 are expected at the auditions from Oct 9 to 23 in a worldwide contest that has helped provide a route to fame and fortune for the likes of supermodels such as Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista and Gisele Bundchen.

The Singapore leg that kicks off next weekend at VivoCity consists of weekly casting calls, ending at Ion Orchard on Oct 23. Entrants must be at least 1.7m tall.

The number of participants will be whittled down to 15 finalists and two will be chosen at *Scape mall on Nov 3 to go on to the international finals in Shanghai in December, where US$350,000 (S$452,000) cash will be shared among three winners. They will also ink a contract with Elite's head office in Paris.

The contest was last staged here in 2005 and was not held again after its licence was not renewed.

However, a franchisee comprising five partners has stepped in to revive the Elite modelling agency here which closed down in 2006, and to see Singapore take part in the legendary model contest. It was launched in 1983 by Paris-based Elite Model Management agency as an annual hunt for new faces to join its crop of models.

One franchisee partner, Mr George Sakkalli, a former TV producer who is Elite's commercial director in Singapore, said: 'We want to create a dream for these girls who might not even have thought about modelling.

'When you're young, you're tall and gangly, you probably don't feel special about yourself. We know who you are when we see you and we can embrace that kind of inner talent and beauty.'

The other partners include the former vice-president for distribution in north and south-east Asia for Viacom International Media Networks, MrChris Keely, and fashion photographer and director Eric Ceret. They are based in Singapore.

The 15 finalists here can look forward to getting their names on the books of the new Elite's modelling agency here.

The judging panel will also select a woman to model in at least three shows next year at Blueprint, a fashion trade-show event that is home-grown but with an international focus.

Elite's contest here received quite a lot of publicity back in the day. In 2003, the Singapore Tourism Board sponsored the international finals in the Singapore Indoor Stadium, while the 2005 competition saw around 400 model hopefuls turning up at the casting parties.

Local women who took part in the contest also received a career boost.

They include Huda Ali who represented Singapore in 1985 in the international finals and Celine Chua who won the 1999 local leg and went on to snag a campaign with American leather-goods brand Coach.

Participants here might want to note that they can skip the queue at the casting calls and submit photos to the competition's website by heading down to Guess boutiques where they can take photos of themselves at the camera booths available in the stores.




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