Uni student moves into Next Top Model house

24 Jul

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By Rebecca Palma, Bond University journalism student

An 18-year-old Gold Coast girl has the chance to become Australia’s Next Top Model after the top 15 contestants were revealed recently on the Fox8 TV show.

Shannon Richardson of Upper Coomera entered  the competition to prove to herself that she could do something different.

Shannon said she was in a lecture at Bond University – where she has deferred a law degree –  when she missed a call from a ‘mysterious Sydney number’ that confirmed her selection into the top 50 contestants.

“I rushed outside to check the message and I burst out into tears – I was just so overwhelmed with happiness,” she said.

“Even my father started crying when he explained how proud of me he was.”

Australia’s Next Top Model (ANTM) returned to television for the first time after a two-year break.

ANTM executive producer Shaun Murphy said this season’s show has undergone a change in format that sees a more ‘streamlined’ approach.

“Last season we went from 100 at boot camp down to 20 and then 16 went into the house,” he was quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald as saying.

“This time it’s a boot camp of 50 and by the end of boot camp we have 15 girls and then we head overseas and one was going to be eliminated.”

The $15 million mansion in which the contestants were housed for the three-month filming period was stripped of a teenage girl’s everyday ‘necessities’ and tough regulations were enforced about contact with the outside world.

“That meant no phones, no internet, no TV, no letters, not even radio,” Shannon said.

“We were allowed a phone call home every fortnight to one person and for a very strict amount of time.”

It was this seclusion from the outside world that bought the contestants aging between 17 and 21 together.

“The other girls were amazing,” she said.

“This cycle was different – we became a family instead of a group of nasty girls who constantly tried to undermine each other.”

Shannon said that despite the support net from both other contestants and the judges, she never lost sight that at the end of the day she was in a competition and only one of them could be Australia’s Next Top Model.

“It’s all well and dandy to be beautiful and take great photos but that will only take you so far,” she said.

“It’s your personality and how you utilise your brains that will really take you the distance and make you memorable.”

The winner will receive a modelling contract with IMG Models, a trip to Paris to build a professional portfolio, and a spot on the cover of fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar.

Season 8 of ANTM airs on Foxtel’s Fox8 Tuesday nights from 7.30pm.

Caption: One of Shannon’s ANTM portfolio photographs

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