Monday 19 September 2011

Top model agency hunts for new face from Kenya

International modeling agency, Elite Models, famous for representing Tyra Banks, Naomi Campbell and discovering Cindy Crawford chooses a fresh face from Kenya.

NAIROBI, KENYA (SEPTEMBER 18, 2011) REUTERS - Kenya's young, bold and beautiful were out in force in the capital Nairobi on Sunday (September 18th) for the final of the international elite model contest.

Organised by one of the world's leading modeling agencies the event marked the end of a month long search for a new face from Kenya.

With high hopes of reaching the international stardom achieved by other models represented by the agency including Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford, finalists strutted their stuff in front a panel of beauty pageant judges.

The event was also a chance for local designers and fashion students to display their work in front of a host of local and international industry experts.

"I believe it shows what Africa has to offer in both design and as well in look. We do have beautiful girls in Africa. We do have beautiful designs and creations. This gives us a platform to be able to showcase to the world what we have to offer," said Anthony Mulli, a designer from Nairobi whose decorated bags and elaborate jewelry were featured on the runway.

Judging the competition was international director of Elite Models, Stephane Pesciomoro and a panel of internationally renowned pretty faces including Miss Ethiopia Rahel Debeb, Miss Universe India Ushoshi Sengupta and Miss European Union Carmin Moreno.

Speaking during a break between catwalk shows, Moreno said there were many qualities the judges would be looking for when choosing the winning girl.

"Well of course the basics will be the height and you will have to have certain measurements as I say most of them, all of them they meet the criteria. And beside that we had a couple of interviews with them because we also need someone who has a personality which is spontaneous and very strong and confident," she said.

Elite Model agency have been holding castings and competitions all over Africa and the rest of the world as part of their annual search for new faces to represent the brand.

The winner of each national competition gets the chance to travel to Shanghai where they will compete in the world final.
The top three contestants in Kenya also win a year's modeling contract with Elite, said to be worth over 325,000 US dollars.

"Yes the girl who'll win tonight will have a chance to represent herself first at the Elite model world final and of course she will also represent her country but she will compete to be one of the top fifteen next top models," international director Pesciomoro told Reuters.

After three hours of catwalk shows in which girls had their last chance to impress the judges, 15-year-old school girl Michelle Daka from Nairobi was crowned winner. Second place went to 21-year-old Gloria Baraza and third place went to Beatrice Chepkorir, 19-years-old.

Mobbed by photographers and competition judges after the results were announced, Michelle Daka said she never dreamt of winning.

"I'm very excited and still can't believe that I actually won. I thought my age would hold me back but I'm so happy. I'm so glad to be here," Daka said.

Elite model agency represents over 700 models all over the world.

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