Winning a modeling contest might seem like a dream, but for one young local, the dream is now officially a reality.
14 year-old Sophie Fortin of Luskville won the overall prize at the Top Model Search Canada competition in Toronto on August 21.
She entered the competition in November 2015 after seeing a call for auditions in Ottawa posted by a friend on Facebook. “I had considered modeling before but I hadn’t done any,” Fortin told Pontiac2020.ca. “But I had seen some shows on television and the internet and I was interested in trying it.”
With no previous training, Fortin turned to those sources for tips on how to walk, stand and pose before going to her first auditions. “That morning at the practice I was not good and I was scared,” she admits. “But when I got on stage, I was good.”
“Even as a little girl, she always wanted to be on stage,” added Sophie’s mother Stephanie Seguin. “Acting, singing, modeling; it didn’t matter. She liked to be in the spotlight.”
The judges liked what they saw and Fortin was selected to go to Toronto the following August to take part in a week-long training session held at a hotel. During this time, hopefuls ranging in age between 14 and 25 years-old, were advised on how to move, how to be photographed and how modeling agencies operate.
On Thursday that week, all the candidates took part in a fashion show, strolling the catwalk in little black dresses, then in bikinis and finally in jeans and a Top Model Search t-shirt. Needless to say, sky-high high-heels were worn each time.
On Friday, representatives from 17 modeling agencies were invited to meet the candidates. Wearing no makeup so their features were plain, each young person was questioned, studied and measured during the four-hour interviews.
The next morning, the candidates rushed from their hotel rooms to study the lists of agencies expressing official interest in pursuing a contract. Of the 17 agencies, Fortin was on the list of 16.
Saturday evening featured an awards show for the photographs during the week but Fortin did not win any. Although Fortin was called on stage as one of the 25 best models of the week, she did not win Best Female Model award. Yet, just when it seemed the show was over, one last announcement was made: “Best Overall Model: Sophie Fortin”.
The winners of the Top Model Search Canada contest; Sophie is third from the right.
“I was so surprised,” she said. “It was a great experience for me.”
The next step for the family is to sort through the various offers from the modeling agencies, some of which are based in New York City.
“We went to Toronto with no expectations,” said Stephanie Seguin. “It was just for the experience. At that age, you don’t know what it is until you try it.”
Due to Fortin’s age, any contract will take into account her schooling requirements. “To start, they need to teach her how to walk, to pose, how the business works. When she is ready, the agency will look for work for her,” Seguin added. "Any modeling she does will have to be photographed locally or during school holidays."
For now it’s back to school for Sophie Fortin, dressed in her usual jeans and sneakers, but with a bright future in the spotlight ahead of her.