And the winner is…

(2010 Finalists l-r- Kelsey, Sophie, Presenter Sarah Murdoch, Amanda)

I’ve loved Australia’s Next Top Model ever since I happened upon the third series last year. All of the girls were gorgeous, and the photoshoots were stylish and whimsical, and the winner got the cover of Australian Vogue. The judges were audaciously snarky throughout. In the first episode, the girls were arriving to start the show and had to drag their suitcases up a long flight of stairs. They of course had no idea that the judges were in a separate room, watching their every move on monitors.  They sneered at skinny jeans, tattoos, wonky (asymmetrical!) haircuts and wobbly eyeliner.

One of the judges is called Alex and he is incredibly bitchy. One of my favourite things he has ever said was – ‘If I could raise an eyebrow, I would.’  If he thinks someone has done a good job in a photoshoot, he will say they look ‘expensive’. He is awesome.

My favourite contestants on Australia’s next Top Model are usually the self-declared bogans, who have temper tantrums and smoke cigarettes and swear and go to bed late and infuriate everyone. In the latest series, the wild child was called Kimberley and she flounced out of the judging room when she was eliminated. Most contestants cry, but Kimberley rolled her eyes and strutted out of there. Cassi Van Den Dungen (above), who was on the fourth series of Australia’s Next Top Model, was also a self-declared bogan, and she had temper tantrums more or less constantly. On her first runway walk, she tripped over her sky-high heels and blurted out ‘fuck!’ really loudly. She wore Nirvana hoodies and all the other girls hated her. She was my favourite.

For some reason, Australia’s Next Top Model always has a live final show. Jodhi, who presented the third and forth seasons, was so overcome with nerves that she dropped out of the live final at the last minute in 2008. She has since left the show and discovered scientology!

The Live Final is usually pretty boring. One year they had a live performance from Bryan McFadden (I always almost call him Steve McFadden – maybe I subconsciously want to see Phil Mitchell on crack, dancing around to The Who like the baby in Ally McBeal. I mean, that’s got to be better than Bryan McFadden, amirite?) This year was no exception. There was dancing and some clips of past shows and I was starting to get sleepy.

I was pretty sure that Kelsey was going to win. My favourite from the start, Kelsey is really cute and always took amazing pictures. She was a couple of inches shorter than the other girls and took tons of shit for it. She constantly got up on tip-toes on every photoshoot, even when she was in heels.

When Sarah Murdoch announced that Kelsey (middle) had won, I was really happy. Amanda (left) was gracious and Kelsey was so excited and then Sarah was like, ‘oh my God… I don’t believe this. Kelsey, you didn’t win. Amanda did.’ It was so weird. Everyone in the crowd was in a stunned silence.


I told my friend Nick about the whole thing today and he immediately said it had been rigged for controversy’s sake and to get people talking about Australia’s Next Top Model. I said, ‘Nick, how can you be so cynical?’

But then when I thought about it…

Australia’s Next Top Model got tons of headlines in Series 4 due to allegations of bullying, which led to the then presenter Jodhi Meares leaving and becoming a scientologist, and also to Vogue not working with AusNTM in the future.Series 5 had Cassi, who was a one-girl whirlwind and the media were shocked by her wild ways and much older fiance. Nothing shocking happened in this Series – and this was something to generate tons of headlines, even here in England where hardly anyone watches the show.

It’s clear to me that Sarah read out the name that was given to her, and didn’t realise when she’d got it wrong. But the producers – Who knows?

Because of the mix up, both girls have been told they will each be on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar. As you can see, Kelsey’s cover (on the left) is better:

I should re-watch the clip and see if Kelsey and Amanda really were surprised, or if it was obviously rehearsed, but I just can’t. It’s so cringe. You watch for me? Tell me what you reckon!

PS Yes, I know this is yesterday’s news. But I was too busy to blog yesterday!


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