By Myriam Dijck
Having been bullied at high school for her height and looks, a Kingston student has been nominated for a major modelling competition.
Anna Kathryn Stayduhar suddenly shot into the world of glamour, runway shows and designer clothes when she was selected as one of the 41 contenders for Top Model Worldwide after a mass runway ‘runoff’.
Anna, 22, said: “It was scary, I was just so nervous. My boyfriend dropped me off there, but he had to leave because you can’t bring parents or your friends. I really needed that support.
“When he left I kind of teared up because I was really nervous being there by myself and didn’t really know what to expect.”
Anna, a second year journalism student, will be representing her home country, the US, at the grand finale held at the London Hilton Metropole Hotel next year.
High school bullying
Anna now feels like she can set aside her past insecurities and embrace the way she looks.
She said: “I was always picked on in high school for my height, my facial features, and my big feet. For my particular look to now be embraced as beautiful is wonderful. I hope if this story comes out that young people will not let bullies from their school make them feel ugly or insecure”.
In September this year she decided to join the modelling agency Impact Model Management after two passers-by saw her in Surbiton and said she looked like a model.
When she was on a photo shoot she met one of the Top Model panellists, Geoff Cox, who told her to apply that same day. She was just in time for the final interview session and got invited the next day.
During a six hour mass runway interview Anna was one of the few people left to become a contender for Top Model Worldwide, leaving behind 4,000 others who applied.
She said: “When they said interview I thought we would actually be talking to somebody, but we were runway walking.”
“From 10.30 till 5 I had to stay there and they just kept cutting girls out. Cutting, cutting, cutting and eventually I was one of the few left. They would leave the room and we’d be sitting there sick to our stomachs. I didn’t eat because I was so scared and thought I would just be sick,” she added.
Top Model Worldwide prides themselves with their ethical approach to the competition.
Anna said: “They wanted to see us without make-up, the bare minimum,” Anna said. “I feel like I don’t have to change who I am because that’s the way they selected me.”
Top couture designers from around the world dress the finalists the fully choreographed final runway shows on March 17 next year. Over a quarter of last year’s finalists went on to walk at London Fashion Week.
Anna said she just wants to enjoy the final show and make the best of it, but she insists on putting her university degree first.