Orange trio feature as modelling pageant helps uncover 'hidden' country talent

THREE aspiring models from Orange won awards in this year’s Australian Country Fashion Beauty Pageant held in Bathurst recently.

About 70 young men and women from across NSW took part in the pageant, with Orange’s Harriet O’Malley named Australian Country Top Model, Makayla Winner named NSW Central Tablelands/Western Model of the Year and Chase Aldrich named NSW Country Model of the Year.

Contestants were judged by a panel that included former Miss World Belinda Green and Platform Models owner Gary Johnson.

Unfortunately, regular panellist June Dally-Watkins OAM was delayed on an overseas trip to China and was unable to attend.

Harriet said the Australian Country Fashion Beauty Pageant was the first time she had competed in a modelling competition and was thrilled to be named Australian Country Top Model.

“I couldn’t believe it, it was the first time I’d ever walked in heels,” she said.

Harriet said while she would love to pursue a career in modelling she also planned to go to university. 

Makayla said she hoped her win would be the first step in a modelling career and bring her closer to emulating her model hero Miranda Kerr.

“I’d love to go somewhere with modelling,” Makayla said.

“I think it’s something I could put my heart into, work hard at and get somewhere.”

The pageant is also a fundraiser for Kidney Health Australia, a cause that is close to Makayla’s heart because her grandmother died of kidney cancer.

“I think my Nan would have been very proud,” she said.

Pageant organiser Tom Pratley said it was wonderful to see such a high standard of entrants.

“We had 75 entries from all over the state,” he said.

“We had entries from St George’s Basin in the south, from Gosford to the north and from Condobolin in the west.”

Mr Pratley says the event, which has been running since 2007, is about giving people living in the country the chance to put their modelling skills to the test.

“We have great talent in the country, but it is often hidden,” he said.

“This gives people the opportunity to try modelling and helps build their self-esteem.”

The winners ...

Australian Country Top Model: Harriett O’Malley (Orange)

Australian International Model of the Year: Anuradha Mandal (Hillston)

Australian Country Runway Model of the Year: Danielle Turner (Forbes)

Australian Country University Model of the Year: Ashleigh Seabrook (Bathurst)

Australian Country Swimsuit Model of the Year: Meg Jones (Gundagai)

Australian Country Junior Model of the Year: Amy Cole (Bathurst)

NSW Country Model of the Year: Chase Aldrich (Orange)

NSW Central Tablelands/Western Model of the Year: Makayla Winner (Orange)

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