It’s not easy becoming Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model. Not only do you have to learn your trade on the telly with Elle Macpherson, that Whitney off The City and a whole bunch of other fashionistas breathing down your neck – even if you win, you have to keep it a secret until after transmission.
Luckily, for that plucky young lady – tonight they can finally break their silence as the cycle eight finale airs on Sky Living, and that much-coveted magazine cover and “trending campaign” deal comes to fruition.
Twenty girls began the process with a heavily product placed holiday in Dubai (I won’t give the hotel the oxygen of publicity again) back in July. In the last three months there have been trials and tribulations, tears, tantrums and trips to Toronto – but tonight just three models (and they are now models, Elle says so) remain.
So who will take the ultimate prize in modelling star searches in Britain and Ireland on satellite television? Will it be straight-talking Anita, the dark horse of the competition, or could it be either Emma G or Letitia, the girls who look so similar, it’s still not clear whether or not they’re the same person?
Here’s our high-level guide to each of the contestants’ chances:
Aged twenty, Anita is the oldest girl in the final. Could those precious extra months on earth give her the wisdom required to cross the finish line in first place?
Anita had a slow start to the competition and although she’s never been in the bottom two, she certainly failed to light up the judges’ lives during the first five weeks.
However, since getting photo of the week in episode six, the no-nonsense Southampton lass has turned up the heat and finished in the top two for the last five weeks, grabbing photo of the week for the past two. That, as they say, is enviable form.
Despite not always oozing the wow-factor face to face with the judges (and sometimes coming across a bit chippy), Anita’s photos consistently deliver, no matter what the brief. Versatility being the key to modelling, Anita has a bright future…
Summary: Strong, confident and photogenic. The biggest improver in the competition, Anita is definitely the one to beat.
The baby of the group, it’s been a far from easy road to the final for 18-year-old Letitia. But despite not getting on with many of the other girls, having a tendency to break down in tears at the slightest sign of trouble and receiving regularly cutting comments from the judges on her journey, Letitia has surprised most and shown she has enough inner strength to make it to the final three.
A natural beauty, she has often been criticised for coming across “over-sexual” in her photos, offering poses and pouts more befitting of Zoo magazine than British Vogue. However, despite these problems, Letitia continues to intrigue the judges to the same degree that she divides them, often delivering fine photos from poor shoots.
She’s never been awarded photo of the week, but she has found herself in the bottom two twice, including last week’s semi-final. Questions have to be asked whether this young Surrey girl has quite what it takes to survive in the brutal British fashion industry.
Summary: Too much too young. She’s done well to get this far, but 2012 is unlikely to be Letitia’s year. Perhaps we’ll see her in cycle nine.
20-year-old Welsh contestant Emma has always been there or thereabouts during the competition. She started strongly, taking photo of the week in the first episode and in week five, before wobbling slightly in the middle of the competition (she was in the bottom two in week six), and then bouncing back with strong performances from week eight to the final.
But there is a problem with Emma that the judges just can’t get past… why doesn’t she light up the room when she enters it? (Apparently Elle does, according to Julian). Although her pictures are almost always fantastic, both photographers and judges alike keep saying Emma G lacks that X factor that top models need.
Despite the case of missing charisma, Emma is good at the job – she takes direction well and her journeywoman approach to the contest has ensured she has arrived in the final in good shape.
Whether she can turn up the volume one last notch remains to be seen, but even if she does, she’ll need something very special to see off the big personality of Anita.
Summary: Emma has second place written all over her. She’ll work in the industry, but these judges seem unlikely to warm to her enough in the final to let her win.
Sign up to the Radio Times newsletter for the latest TV and entertainment news