Model Search 2013: Winners announced

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It could have been an evening in Paris, New York or even Milan. The Assembly Rooms was transformed into a catwalk as 15 fashion hopefuls did their turn at the final of Model Search 2013.

And if any of the entrants had nerves backstage, they certainly did not show.

The winners,  Viola Marx and Daneel Minev. Picture: Ian Georgeson

The winners, Viola Marx and Daneel Minev. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Having been whittled down from more than 100 entrants, the ten girls and five boys had spent hours perfecting their walk and poise with expert advice coming from entrepreneur and former model Fiona Best.

With hair and make-up applied, it was time to strike a pose and impress the audience and, most importantly, the judges.

On the panel were Cath Owen, operations manager at world famous agency Model Team, Rochelle 
Burgess, general manager at the St James Centre and Multrees Walk, Ms Best, owner of Catwalk Productions and Events, and Angus Purden, presenter of Postcode Challenge and a former Mr Scotland.

Giving some tips to the contestants – the youngest of whom were only 16 years old – Angus said: “What they will need to survive in the business is chutzpah, a good work ethic and, most important of all, banter.

Winners Daneel Minev and Viola Marx. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Winners Daneel Minev and Viola Marx. Picture: Ian Georgeson

“I took part in one of these competitions and I would love to say it was my mum who entered me, but I put myself forward.

“My first job was in Milan, which – for a wee boy from Shotts – was a bit different. That’s the great thing about being a model, it can open doors.”

Rochelle spoke of the qualities she was looking for in the entrants.

“I’m looking for someone who is commercial but a bit edgy,” she said. “If someone has both of those things it will get my attention.”

Jack Robertson performing on the night. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Jack Robertson performing on the night. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Hosting the evening’s search for Edinburgh’s next top model were Forth One favourites Boogie and Arlene Stuart.

The contestants showed what they could do in three fashion rounds – casual clothing, smart day wear and club wear, with seasonal ranges from brands including Next, G-Star and Officers Club.

And there was a lot at stake – with one boy and one girl set to snap up an exclusive contract with The Model Team.

As the models performed quick outfit changes backstage, the audience was kept entertained by the Edinburgh Rock Choir, who performed a rousing rendition of well-known hits.

Singer Jack Robertson, twice runner-up in Edinburgh’s Got Talent, also got the crowd going.

The competition build-up and grand finale were all for a good cause, raising money for the charity Cash for Kids which helps disadvantaged children in need.

As the contestants made their way off the catwalk, the judges faced a tough decision as they retired to deliberate.

Fiona said: “The most important quality we’re looking for is confidence, if you have that you can turn your hand to 
anything.

“Everyone has done incredibly well and worked very hard. They are all taking it really seriously but having fun at the same time. In just a few hours today, they came on in leaps and bounds.

“Many of them had never done any kind of modelling before and although they are full of nerves, they’re so 
enthusiastic.”

But it was psychology student Viola Marx, 23, from Musselburgh, and Daneel Minev, 19, a computer science and biology student from Priestfield, who stole the show.

“I just can’t believe it,” Viola beamed. “I loved being out on the stage – I had butterflies backstage and my palms were sweating, but when I got out on to the catwalk and I heard the music I had so much fun.

“Winning the contract is so amazing, I’m so excited about it. I don’t know what to expect.”

The lucky winners walked away with a raft of prizes including styling and treatments at Sassoon Hair Salon and tickets for The Lion King with a two-night stay at The Place Hotel.

Daneel, who studies at St Andrews University, said: “I’m very happy. All of the other models were great, I would even say we’re like friends now.

“It was great fun and I would like to continue with modelling – we’ll just have to see how the future unfolds.

“Now I just have to work out who I’m going to take with me to enjoy the prizes.”

The 15 finalists

Beth Ramsay, 18, Newington;

Viola Marx, 23, Musselburgh;

Vanessa Young, 19, Linlithgow;

Christie Oliphant, 17, Dalkeith;

Suzy McCallum, 19, Liberton;

Gemma Rice McMillan, 16, Bonnyrigg;

Alice McGrath, 17, Royal Mile;

Rachel Flett, 16, Craigour;

Suzanne Drennan, 22, Trinity;

Emily Fulton, 18, Bo’ness;

Chris Barr, 22, Trinity;

Sam McKechnie, 23, Leith;

Callum Dickson, 19, Cowgate;

Ross Hirst, 21, Currie;

Daneel Minev, 19, Priestfield.

‘I’d like to be a politician and a model’

Gemma Rice-McMillan, 16, from Bonnyrigg, is a social sciences student at Edinburgh College: “My mum and my boyfriend’s mum heard about Model Search and suggested that I enter.

“I was so happy to get through to the final – my family and friends have been really supportive. If I could, I’d like to model as a sideline, but what I really want to do is be a politician.”

Alice McGrath, 18, from the Royal Mile, is an art and design student at Edinburgh College of Art: “I’d thought about modelling in the past but I’m a bit shy.

“Then my mum told me about the advert for the competition and I decided to give it a go. I was surprised and excited to get through to the final. If it was possible, I’d love to do modelling as a career.”

Sam McKechnie, 23, from Leith, is an activist with Greenpeace: “It was interesting being on the catwalk, it wasn’t scary at all.

“We got really treated like models backstage, it was all very professional.

“The other contestants were great – we all encouraged each other and we ended up like a little family.”