A Night of Broads, I Mean Aboard, the Intrepid - Elite Model Look 2001 National Finals, by Spyder Darling
Elite Model Look 2001
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Photos by Glyn Emmerson © 2001 NY Rock   
Think fast, which one of the following doesn't belong: A) Pretty girls, B) Champagne, C) Cup cakes, D) An aircraft carrier, E) None of the above. The right answer, for one starry-eyed night at least, is E. As in Elite Model Look 2001 National Finals held July 10th aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid in New York. In search of the freshest new faces across America, each year, Elite Model Management gathers the willowy winners of their citywide competitions for one final nationwide search.
  
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  This year, 34 winners from 30 cities were brought to New York to compete for a handful of chances to go on to the International Finals where 15 lucky, lanky ladies will win modeling contracts totaling over $1 million. That breaks down to about $66 thousand each, but since it's much more exciting to say a million, we'll go with that. And with a young age range from 14 to 24, that sure beats working at Wendy's.

 Elite Model Look 2001
The Winners
Photo by Glyn Emmerson © 2001 NY Rock
The event began with a sunset champagne reception atop the windswept flight deck of the Intrepid. After enough time to get the platoon of judges, press and invited guests a little gassed, all were ushered into the event tent, canopied to keep the feather-light contestants from flying overboard in the evening breeze. It didn't take long for everyone to settle in along the runway and tiered audience area, graciously appointed in white. Soon the lights dimmed and out came the girls to sell the judges (representatives of W, Vanity Fair, Allure and other fashion-industry insiders) on their sassy assets. To the hard-rocking back beat of Lenny Kravitz, Foghat, and ZZ Top, each comely cutie tried her hardest (some more successfully than others) to look like the supermodels of Elite Look history such as Cindy Crawford, Stephanie Seymour, Frederique and a whole henhouse of others whose names I can barely pronounce, much less spell.

Elite Model Look 2001
Katarina Muniz
Photo by Glyn Emmerson
Photo © 2001 NY Rock
 
This year's Elite Model Look was hosted by supermodel Maggie Rizer who did a fine job introducing the contestants and describing the crash course in "Modeling 101" that the girls went through. The full fashion immersion included runway lessons (Maggie admitted to falling over on her first "trip" down the catwalk), hair and makeup consultations, courtesy of power salon Bumble and Bumble, and meetings with the fashion media. In an industry where the models are normally best seen and not heard, Maggie was well spoken, relaxed and as charming to listen to as she was to look at. A model hostess, you might say, worthy of the contestants' admiration and aspirations.

Though all the girls looked great, despite many having little or no runway experience, it would be cliché to say there were no losers here, especially since many faced a long bus ride back to Boise, or parts even more remote, as their only consolation prize. It was a great time for the audience though, even if a personal favorite didn't make the final four (Natasha, you was robbed!). For the record, the winners who will go on to the International Finals in Nice, France this September are...

  • Alyssa Hayes - 14 yrs. from Overland Park, KS
  • Meredith Altom - 16 yrs. from Buras, LA
  • Ashley Searcy - 16 yrs. from Nashville, TN
  • Kansas Craft - 17 yrs. from Ponca City, OK
After bouquets were presented to the winners and supportive shoulders to sigh on for those not flying to France, the event ended back outside with more champagne, some cupcakes with custom E frosting, and a formidable fireworks display.

Though no one can say for certain who the next Cindy, Stephanie, or Frederique will be, one thing is sure: Rarely has the USS Intrepid been more "see worthy" than when in the hands of this evening's Elite crew.

August 2001

Previous Coverage: Elite Model Look 2000

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