Joy from Larbert is our model winner

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A nine-year-old schoolgirl from Larbert was named the winner in the search for 
Scotland’s next top model.

Joy Baba-Yemi took the top spot in the contest which was organised by the Howgate Shopping Centre in partnership with Model Team, Scotland’s top agency.

After a successful casting day when she was one of a dozen people of all ages invited to go forward to the next stage, the youngster was selected as the winner last Saturday.

The finalists had already taken part in a fashion show in the centre last May, as well as a professional photo-shoot last month.

On Saturday, they again hit the catwalk in the Howgate for three fashion shows featuring clothing, footwear and accessories from the centre’s retailers.

After watching the shows and studying the images from the photo-shoot, judges Michael O’Brien, director of Model Team, and Jill Buchanan, Falkirk Herald editor, faced the difficult task of selecting an overall winner.

Michael said: “It was a really tough decision but we were both in agreement on the winner.”

After the announcement, Joy, a P6 pupil at Kinnaird Primary School, said she was shocked when her name was announced.

But she is already looking forward to a spending spree with the £200 Howgate gift card presented as part of her prize. She will also be signed by Model Team in the hope of securing professional modelling roles.

Her delighted mum Elizabeth, who watched the show with husband Pius and daughter Elizabeth (17), said it was the youngster who spotted the Howgate posters inviting entries for Model Search Scotland 2017.

She said: “It was her idea to enter and we are all delighted that she has won. She loves doing this sort of thing. Joy was the poster girl for her school cluster a few years ago and enjoyed being involved.

“She is very creative and likes drawing but also is busy with dancing and gymnastics.”

The family, who also have a son Michael (14), moved to this area seven years ago from England, first living in Bonnybridge before moving to Larbert two years ago.

Margaret Foy, Howgate marketing manager, said: “We were delighted to host Model Search Scotland again this year. It had a great reaction and all the finalists were fabulous on the catwalk.”

The finalists were: five to 12 years: Justin Arboleda (11), Falkirk; Georgia Cannon (8), Larbert; Joy Baba-Yemi (9), Larbert; Erin Charleston (11), Falkirk; Dominika Janik (10), Edinburgh.

Teen –13-19 years: Olivia Clarke (15) Edinburgh; Mimi Moore (14), Edinburgh; Jodie Warren (14), Glasgow; Rachel Pollock (14), Paisley.

Young adults – 20-30 years: Rebecca Hutchison (20), Dalkeith.

Commercial – 31-plus: Charlotte Hutchison (75), Denny; Ewan MacLean (46), Stirling.