Meet Monique Corbett, our first Indulge Bay Model, who took the crown at the Repertoire fashion show at Farmer Autovillage competing against 14 other hopefuls.
Monique also won the Innovate category while Melanie Kusserow, 32, of Ohauiti, won the In Style category and Gaynor Schiff, 68, of Welcome Bay, won the Inspire category. Samantha Fraser, 19, was crowned winner of the People's Choice section.<inline type="photogallery" id="15047" align="outside" embed="no" />
I was one of the judges with Monarch Model agency's Amanda Bransgrove and Repertoire's Lee Kleiman and Meghan Bowker, and I can tell you it was a hard decision as each and every girl was stunning, and showed off Repertoire's gorgeous summer collection to the max.
They were of all ages, shapes and sizes, and showed that when you know how to dress for your shape you can look like a model whatever your age.
Monarch Models has offered to sign all 15 finalists to their books for commercial work, and Monique already has a paying job booked for November.
Monique, 22, who is doing a BSc at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, was overwhelmed when the the announcement was made.
"The feeling whilst walking down the catwalk and everyone cheering and clapping was indescribable," she said.
Friends who had encouraged her to enter were there with Monique's mum and her friends, her aunt, her dad and his partner.
"They were all so happy, proud and excited."
Monique entered to gain insight into the modelling industry, and to work on her confidence.
All the girls were giving catwalk coaching by former model Deb Batkins of the Bay of Plenty Times, and model agency owner, Amanda.
"Through the competition I think I achieved both things. The first walk I was terrified. The training we had by Deb and Amanda was more than helpful, though, and I became more confident as the show went on."
Monique's host of prizes include a modelling contract from Monarch Models, a photoshoot and indulge cover, Repertoire clothing, a two-month lease of a VW convertible from Farmer Autovillage and a $2000 bespoke indulge ring from Artisan Jewellers in Greerton.
Monique also takes away friendships made through the competition.
"The girls in the competition are so beautiful inside and out. We will definitely all be in touch and have been since the competition."
The sell-out event raised more than $12,000 for the Newspapers In Education Programme - a not for profit reading scheme to increase literacy and engage young people with media, so we felt virtuous while we wallowed in fashion.