THREE TOP CARIBBEAN MODELS FOR ELITE IN CHINA
By Walter Greene
Elite Model Management's annual Elite Model Look finals in China will be graced by three of the Caribbean top young model when they host their annual International model search next month in Shanghai, China. Amanda King of Guyana; Shanika Fernandez of Trinidad & Tobago and Krystal Benjamin of Antigua & Barbuda were selected as the Caribbean finalists, from a large pool of Caribbean model hopefuls who traveled to Trinidad for the grand finals recently.
The three selected models will now travel to China for the grand finals of the competition in December. The annual model search has been a key factor to choose models worldwide for the Elite Model Management. Several of today's top models including; Cindy Crawford, Stephanie Seymour and Gisele Bundchen got their start at this model search competition which was created in 1983.
ANYA AYOUNG CHEE - The Caribbean beauties had to compete in an array of competitions for the final judging which took place at the beautiful Hyatt Regency in Trinidad. They were judged on their headshots, as well as competence and posture in swimwear, resort wear and evening gowns. On hand for the Elite Model Look Caribbean finals were Anya Ayoung Chee, the current winner of `Project Runway' the Lifetime television reality fashion designer's competition, who is from Trinidad & Tobago, and, is a former `Miss Trinidad & Tobago Universe' who represented the twin island republic at the `Miss Universe 2009' pageant. Also on hand was the Caribbean franchise holder of the model search Derrick Lewis.
SHANIKA NO NEW COMER - 18 year-old Shanika Fernandez got her start when her Uncle, noted Trinidadian former model/dancer and model co-ordinator, Earl Thompson brought her to Guyana as a guest model for the 2009 Guyana Fashion Weekend. She later participated in Fashion Week Trinidad & Tobago and completed photo shoots with renowned photographers, Donn Thompson for Profiles 98 Magazine as well as Calvin French in Trinidad. Shanika's show business journey started in dance. "I started dancing at age 5. I was trained in ballet at La Dance Caribe under the stewardship of Ms. Heather Henderson-Gordon. I was later introduced to modern dance, tap, folk, limbo and hip-hop dancing," said Shanika. She completed exams with the Royal Academy of Dance and the ISTD where she passed the Advanced Foundation stage in Ballet and Distinction passes in both modern and tap dancing. The six foot beauty has had several dance successes under her belt. International competition is nothing new to Shanika, she was among a group of 9 dancers who represented Trinidad & Tobago at the World Hip-Hop Championship in Los Vegas, competing against 40 countries from around the world.
FRONTRUNNERS - 19 year-old Krystal started modeling with noted Antiguan designer Calvin Southwell on her island home two years ago and Amanda was discovered as one of the models at Guyana Fashion Weekend, with Guyanese designer Sonia Noel. Shanika, Amanda and Krystal will compete with 64 young models from all over the world including a strong cadre' of frontrunners including: Lieve from Chile; Elsa from Angola; Victoria from Argentina; Carmella from Gabon; Mitchelle form Kenya; Julia from Mosambique; Lou from New Caledonia; Chinwe from Nigeria; Fiona from Singapore; Katharia from Uraguay and Oriana from Venezuela.