At the start of season 10 of Australia's Next Top Model, the series whose winners such as Alice Burdeu and Montana Cox have often become true fashion stars, judge Alex Perry told WHO, "The camera will not lie, at all. You can be as charismatic and clever as you'd like, but at the end of the day, this industry is about beauty and being photogenic."
Proving the designer's point, this cycle's most consistent performer, Aleyna FitzGerald, walked the runway to the top spot in the finale that aired last night and landed a one-year modelling contract with Priscilla's Model Management in Sydney amongst other prizes.
"Being able to be a part of the biggest runway ever in Australia's Next Top Model history, with 40 past contestants and winners, was incredible," FitzGerald, 17, tells WHO. "Models like Amanda Ware, Simone Holtznagel and Gemma Anderson were all so nice and gave me lots of tips."
Not that she needs many, says judge Megan Gale, who knew FitzGerald was ready for the fashion business as soon as they set foot in Milan during the filming of the season. "Aleyna was amazing in Italy during the casting challenge," Gale says. "She behaved exactly how a model should behave at a casting — professional, on time, walked well and she was polite."
Recalling that experience, FitzGerald says, "Just to go international was something I really wanted to do. Being over there and meeting designers and having them say I was actually good enough to start doing it all the time, I was just blown away."
Next up for FitzGerald, who had been working in an administrative job at a big Sydney company since the show wrapped, is getting camera-ready for the real world. "The contract with Priscilla starts today," she says. "I'm so proud to be with them — they are major in the modeling industry.
I can't wait to see what opportunities will come through them. I know I'm ready to focus and head overseas to get started."
She will start the career with the support of her school teacher parents and family. "I think it's all still sinking in for all of us," FitzGerald says. "I watched the finale with all of them around me, which made it so much more special. I couldn't go through all this without them.