The Echo’s Face of 2012 winners

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IT has taken five weeks, over 100 entries and more than 10,000 votes to find our top wannabe models – and this week they went head-to-head in a bid to be crowned the Sunderland Echo’s Face of 2012.

For one last time our potential catwalk kings and queens went in front of the judges hoping to wow them with their perfect poise and sparkling personality.

Winners of the Echo face of 2012 - Sophie Wharton and Ravi Gill...

Winners of the Echo face of 2012 - Sophie Wharton and Ravi Gill...

The expert panel included JonPaul Reay and Carley Armstrong, from Zeebra Model Management, Susan and Harry Hall, from Reds, owner of Collinson Jewellers Harry Collinson and Echo Editor Rob Lawson.

The 13 finalists met their fellow contestants for the first time on Monday night and they all admitted the competition was tough. But it was time to put their nerves to one side and concentrate on looking professional on the catwalk.

Model and dancer Daniel Canavan, from Zeebra, boosted the finalists’ confidence by showing them the ropes at our model boot camp. He knew exactly what he was looking for in our potential stars.

He said: “They need to show off their personality, shake off the nerves and be themselves.

“They all picked up the routine really quickly and they put on a great show, especially as they are not trained models and they were in front of a big crowd.”

After an intense hour of walking, twirling, posing and pouting, our gorgeous girls and boys took to the catwalk at the Stadium of Light cheered on by friends and family.

They had to pull out all stops to be in with a chance of scooping the fabulous prizes on offer.

These prizes include a 12-month modelling contract with Zeebra Model Management, a professional photoshoot with David Lawson Studio, which will appear in the Echo, and a sparkling goody bag courtesy of Collinson Jewellers.

They will also receive a year’s free hair styling thanks to our main sponsor Reds and a place in the final of Miss Sunderland and Mr North East, which takes place at Rainton Meadows in June.

Finalist Jodie Dury’s mum said: “I’m really proud of her because it’s completely out of her comfort zone. She’s really quiet so we are all so proud of her for actually coming here and taking part. I entered her and it’s the first time she has ever done anything like this. The competition is brilliant because it’s open to everyone you don’t have to be a certain height or size.”

She added: “Everyone thinks their daughter is beautiful and I would encourage other parents to put their kids in for it.”

Lucie Royer was entered by her sister, Gabrielle. She said: “Lucy has done a lot of charity fashion shows and she loves the excitement of it so I thought I would put her forward.

“She always looks glamorous but she was shy to enter herself so I thought I would do it for her – tonight has been fab and all the entrants have been really good.”

We saw the biggest turnout of supporters yet at the Stadium and Echo editor Rob Lawson was very impressed with the standard of entries.

“The quality of entrants has once again been fantastic,” he said. “Everyone has done really well to get this far. It takes a lot of bottle to do what they have done.”

He added: “I would like to thank everyone for coming along and wish everyone the best of luck in the future.”

After two turns of the catwalk the gorgeous wannbe models took it in turns to be grilled by the judges. They were all hoping to win them over and convince them that they were worthy winners of the Face of 2012 crown.

Judge Susan Hall, from Reds, said: “It’s been a brilliant night, there was a good turn-out and it seems to be getting more and more popular.

“Ravi and Sophie stood out for me because I thought they were both a little bit different. Ravi had such a good look, you could tell he was very fashion conscious and a genuinely nice lad.

“Even though you could see Sophie was nervous we all agreed she could have a good future in the modelling industry, she has the figure, the looks – the complete package.”

After experiencing a few hours in the shoes of a model, the 13 contenders were left in suspense as the judges told them they would have to wait until the winner was announced in the paper today to find out if they had got their hands on this year’s title.

Mark Sparshott, from Ryhope said: “It’s been really nerve-racking and a bit loud but overall it’s been good.”

The 20-year-old has thought about modelling but never taken it seriously. He said: “I wasn’t sure if it was something I could do but I’ve really enjoyed tonight so it’s something I would pursue.”

Chris Todd, from High Barnes, is studying Sports Science but enjoys being in front of the camera. He said: “It’s been a great night, just what I expected and my friends and family have filled the front row.

“I think this is one of the best competitions, it doesn’t stereotype people and leaves it open to anyone and everyone – I would definitely encourage other lads to take part.”

The judges had a difficult decision to make but they were finally unanimous in choosing 17-year-old Ravi Gill, from South Hylton, and 19-year-old Sophie Wharton from Seaham.

The judges were impressed by the pair’s sense of style, confidence and energy.