Olivia's glad she tried
The winner of this year's Richmond Mall Model Search just wanted to see whether she liked modelling.
Richmond girl Olivia Keenan, 14, said it felt "amazing" to be picked as the overall winner. "I thought I'd give it a go this year and see how I liked it. It was so nerve-racking but you've got to give things a try and I'm so glad I did."
She is in Year 9 at Garin College, and likes playing netball and volleyball. Her older brother Jack came with her to the preliminary round on Wednesday.
"I taught her everything she knows," he joked.
Her mum Jodie and younger sister Holly were there for the finals. They said Olivia's father Paul was in disbelief when they told him the good news, saying "Are you having me on?"
"I'm so excited for her," said Mrs Keenan. "She's a beautiful girl inside and out, she came with no expectations and just wanted to give it a go."
Olivia won a $500 photoshoot, a year's supply of Oxygen skincare and an appearance in Wild Tomato magazine.
Friends and parents of the competitors ringed the catwalk during the model competition, holding their smartphones up to make sure each child's moment of fame was caught on camera. Around 200 people watched 35 hopeful young models compete in four different categories.
Organiser Alana Riley was chief judge. She was joined by Angela Elliott from the Richmond Mall's Unichem outlet, freelance photographer Rachel McRae-Woods and guest judge MediaWorks general manager Christine Hatton.
Ms Riley said the judges were primarily looking for confidence in their young models, saying this was the most important attribute at their age. She said she knew many of the children took the show very seriously, saying some would not have slept before the finals.
"It's just about making sure you respect all the contestants as well, thanking them and making them feel good."
She said after the show was over, she always went to talk to the ones who missed out on a prize to make sure no dreams were crushed.
"Just because they didn't get through doesn't mean they're not good enough. It's just not their time."
The finalists from each category were:
Primary (Aged 5 to 8): 1 Bo Kessler, 2 Maja Booysen, 3 Chey Habib. Junior (Aged 9 to 11): 1 Jessica Harvie, 2 Emily Rogers, 3 Bree Crimp. Intermediate (Aged 12 to 14): 1 Olivia Keenan, 2 Georgia Rae, 3 Carmen Puklowski. Teen (Aged 15 to 18): 1 Rupet Bond, 2 Toia Gibbons-Smith, 3 Charlotte Handforth
- © Fairfax NZ News