Put a bunch of aspiring models into a house in Sydney and watch them try to prove they have what it takes to make it in the high-stress, high-stakes world of modeling, as well as get on with each other. That‘s the premise of the popular Australian reality pay TV series "Australia’s Next Top Model," which began on Foxtel on July 20. Hosted by supermodel Sarah Murdoch, the program is based on "America’s Top Model," created by Tyra Banks.
In May, 16 hopefuls were selected after a nationwide audition to star in the sixth series of the program. During the series, these finalists are transformed from attractive girls-next-door into potential working models, while navigating their way through various modeling assignments and tasks. Each week, the judges assess task performance and potential to narrow the field until only two remain.
Recently, the final four girls spent a week in Tokyo, living it up in a suite at the Hilton Tokyo. The episode involving their Tokyo sojourn will air in mid-September (Tokyo residents will be able to view snippets on YouTube.
One of the models, 19-year-old Kelsey (she only uses her first name), describes it as a wonderful experience, but can’t say too much because everything is hush-hush. “One girl gets eliminated each week. We’re not allowed to tell anyone anything until the episode has aired,” she says at the Hilton.
Born in Perth, Kelsey lived on a little island for six years, three of which were in a lighthouse. Then she moved to Byron Bay on the eastern coast of Australia. During high school, she did a little bit of modeling and after finishing high school, decided to try for “Australia’s Next Top Model.“ “I had seen the American version and I saw the 5th series of the Australian version. I auditioned and was selected as one of the finalists. We started filming in May. For the first show, it was quite hard getting used to cameras in your face.”
In previous seasons, the girls have had to deal with the ups and downs of “model house” life: all the drama you’d expect when you put a group of ambitious girls under one roof. But Kelsey said that so far, there had been very little tantrum tossing. “ I think I am an easy person to live with, and quite tidy. My only bad habit is that I make the bathroom floor very wet once I get out of the shower.”
The Tokyo week was a welcome respite. For one thing, they didn’t have to clean up their rooms. “It’s my first time overseas and Tokyo is wonderful. We have had some long days, doing photo shoots. We shopped at Shibuya. The scramble crossing was amazing.”
Kelsey, of course, hopes she will be the final girl at the end of the season. The winner takes home a prize package including representation by a top modeling agency, a contract to appear in a campaign to be the face of iconic jeans brand Levi’s; a trip to New York to meet with one of the world’s top agencies, ELITE New York; a Ford Fiesta Zetec; $20,000 cash and an eight-page spread in Harpers Bazaar Australia.
Kelsey says her own fashion style is varied. “One day, I’ll be in a really girly dress and the next day, some ripped jeans and T-shirt. I really love Japanese fashion, especially the Harajuku girls. We even tried on a kimono. Now that was a challenge.”
Keeping in shape is another challenge. “I try and get to the gym at least three times a week. One of the girls in the house does Pilates and she has been teaching me that. We also have to be careful what we eat. Our house is full of Cherry Ripes (chocolates), but I’m happy to tell you that most of them are still there.”© Japan Today