Harleen Nottay beats 1000 to beauty pageant final

Harleen Nottay has won one of the last 15 places. Picture: contributed
Harleen Nottay has won one of the last 15 places. Picture: contributed
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A FORMER contender on a top TV modelling show has strutted her way to the final of a glam international beauty pageant.

Harleen Nottay stands to win a modelling contract worth £100,000 if she is crowned the champion at Vatika Miss Asiana 2014.

The 23-year-old ex-Ikea worker will go up against rivals from as far afield as Holland and the USA after seeing off competition from more than 1000 other applicants to reach the final 15.

Miss Nottay, from Newington, was the first Asian contestant on reality show Britain’s Next Top Model in 2010 – years after her first taste of the catwalk came in the Edinburgh Mela fashion show when she was just 12.

Now as the only Scot in the prestigious final in London this month, she hopes to bag a contract with magazine Asiana.

She said: “I trained with an agency when I was 14 and that’s what sparked my love for modelling, but I did not do proper modelling until I was on Britain’s Next Top Model.

“I got placed tenth and I was quite fortunate because the week I got eliminated they had to do a naked shoot in chocolate.

“It was a reality check going on it, because what I thought I excelled at, I did not, so it took a lot of practice.”

But the size eight has brains as well as beauty, having studied business management with entrepreneurship at Edinburgh Napier University.

She said: “I decided to do a course in business because my more serious side was saying ‘what if modelling does not work out?’.

“I believe everyone has to have a plan B because it’s not something everyone makes it in – it’s a very cut-throat industry.”

Miss Nottay will travel to London tomorrow to undergo an intense course of “pageant training” with 2008 Miss England winner Laura Coleman.

She will learn how to present herself on stage and prowl properly along the catwalk – and make sure her outfits are the perfect fit for next weekend’s extravaganza at the Montcalm Hotel.

As well as the magazine modelling contract, the winner will volunteer with UK charity ANGEL! Foundation, which strives to fight against crimes that women face in India such as female foeticide.

And, not least, the modelling contract to the value of £100,000 would come in quite handy.

Miss Nottay said: “It would change everything in my life and jump-start my career.”

Pageant event director Rajesh Nair revealed so many women had applied for the pageant, which is the first of its kind in the UK, that organisers had to double the entrance fee to identify the serious contestants.

He said: “It’s a platform for aspiring models and there’s nothing like this out there so it’s going to be very important for the winner.”

kate.richardson@edinburghnews.com