A young call centre trainee from Motherwell won the first Runway Competition held by Extreme Models this weekend at the Tramways Building with an entry field of more than 60 contestants.
The Lorraine modelling school held the ramp show to unearth new talent – and found bags of it in Yelena Mankuzi, who wins R2 000 cash and a fashion photo shoot.
Mankunzi, 20, only arrived in Port Elizabeth in November to join her family in Motherwell, and the catwalk competition was her first foray into modelling in her new city.
Wearing a bright orange dress and tan suedette heels from budget chain store Mr Price, she wowed the judges with her graceful walk to take the first title.
The judging panel of former international model Anle Marais, of Mohair South Africa, fashion stylist Brandon Bruintjies from Markhams and My HeraldLIVE editor Gillian McAinsh said they had a tough job due to the variety of ages and styles shown.
Among the mini-models the decision was particularly hard, due to the “cute factor” of the younger children. Cradock first grader Aluve Yamkela, six, was the final model to take to the ramp and took the prize in this category.
Another child model, Caitlyn Gouws, 11, also impressed the judges with her fresh, natural look.
Among the senior models, the male group was particularly strong but Bongani Gongxela won out in the end.
Mbasa Ndobongwana and Andria van der Merwe were hot on the heels of overall winner Mankunzi.
Extreme Models owner Veruschka Barnard O’ehly said the night had been a success and she planned to repeat the event again next year.
“The competition was open to the public and entrants did not need modelling experience: what you do need is your unique creativity on the runway and confidence,” said Barnard O’ehly.
“We were looking for a representative for our annual Runway Competition to put Port Elizabeth on the map, and see this as a community project developing the youth of today.”
Each model walked a 15 meter runway, wearing an outfit of their choice, and the judges were briefed to consider the overall look as well as runway attitude.