IT’S been seven long weeks of photoshoots, catwalks, tears and laughter.
But Simone Murphy’s journey on Britain’s Next Top Model came to an end when the judges axed her from the competition after a stunning photoshoot in Cape Verde.
The 23-year-old, who is a former pupil of George Heriot’s school, announced in February she’d bagged one of the top spots in the hit reality show on Lifetime TV.
After reaching the final stages of the competition, anxiety got the better of the Edinburgh University graduate and the judges made the shock decision to send her home, sending fans into a social media meltdown.
Reflecting on her experience, Simone told the Evening News she was grateful for every opportunity she was given on the show.
She said: “Finishing 5th in Britain’s next Top Model is absolutely huge for me.
“I don’t think I could have imagined it as a kid if I’d tried. I was really nervous on the last photoshoot.
“I really wanted to make Scotland proud and be the first Scottish winner and I’m sad that I didn’t quite make it.
“I would love to see a Scottish model take home that title.”
The competition is judged by former contestant Abbey Clancy, supermodel Paul Sculfor, fashion writer Hilary Alexander and celebrity photographer Nicky Johnston.
Each week, the aspiring models are put to the test in a series of challenges – ranging from photoshoots to dance routines.
Simone said: “Shooting in Cape Verde was an incredible experience, I’m so grateful to the entire team behind the show for every opportunity they gave me. I loved having some free time to jet ski there.
“My most challenging moment of the competition was probably when Bianca was eliminated, it was so melodramatic.
“When I watched it back I was laughing at myself but I remember living in the bubble during filming and feeling like I’d never see her again. I’ve made friends for life.”
As a teenager, Simone participated in a few photoshoots but never took modelling seriously. It wasn’t until she was scouted while working part-time at Harvey Nichols that she began to consider it as a career. She applied for the show “spontaneously”.
She said: “I felt a lot of love on social media when I was eliminated and it’s definitely a confidence boost.
“I’m hoping to sign with a London agency to pursue my modelling dreams but I’m feeling very drawn towards TV and I’m actually looking into presenting as I love the feeling of being able to connect with people which is probably why I’m so drawn to social media.”
She added: “To anyone thinking of applying for Britain’s Next Top Model, I urge you to take that leap of faith because you never know where you could land.
“To anyone wanting to model in general I would say work hard, stay driven and don’t forget to have fun with it – you have to love what you do.”