Rhiannon D’Averc introduces the finalists for the Face of London Runway 2021 – and how we reached this point.
After a long journey of virtual sessions, we were finally able to get together in person for our semi-final round of this year’s Face of London Runway competition, sponsored by ChariTea and LemonAid.
Here’s how it all happened:
- An entry form appeared on our website, allowing entrants to submit photographs, videos, and their essential details. In our first round, we heard from over 250 applicants– and were still getting enquiries a few weeks after the closing date (sorry – you snooze, you lose)!
- We narrowed this list down to the most promising people to go ahead to our virtual round. In Zoom calls of up to 10 models, Rhiannon and Maxine Griffiths met all of our entrants, asked them some questions about their modelling experience and goals, and put them through their paces with a virtual walk at home. We chatted with people from all around the UK and from all walks of life, and plenty of invaluable advice was dispensed!
- It was brutal to try to cut down the list, but we made it – just 40 of the models were invited to our photoshoot in Harringay. At T On the Green in Bruce Castle Park, we set up a shooting area that was distanced from other park-goers and, kitted out in masks, two London Runway photographers (Ian Clark and Mrityunjoy Mitra) snapped the final shots. Maxine put them through their paces on the catwalk, and Rhiannon captured videos – all assisted by our team members Amber Johnson, Alex Panek, Cicilia Brognoli, and Jessica Carvalho!
- We wanted to challenge the models in all areas, so we asked each of them to complete specific tasks. With so many models to test, you can bet it was a hectic day! We got everyone signed in with temperature checks to keep us all safe, and then it was time to get started, with staggered arrival times meaning we could keep smaller groups running through each of our different challenge stations.
- Each model was asked to pose with Ian first, in a black and white outfit. Next they donned bright and beautiful colours for a celebratory pose with their bottles of Lemonaid, provided by our sponsor! They also posed with sunglasses provided by @bring_onthesun2, to bring out their inner divas. You can see shots from each of our challenges over these pages!
After everyone had taken part in their photoshoots, Maxine had everyone walk for her again – this time in person and with the ability to see everything live and in sharp focus! The final challenge was to read a script for a short video to camera, as well as showing us some of their happy moves. You can spot these on our Instagram @londonrunwaymag, put together into montage videos by our own Fil Mazzarino!
It was a fun day with a lot of great work put in, but when it came down to the wire, we had to make some extremely difficult choices. There are some very talented models in this group, but only ten of them could make it through to the final round. Well, okay, it was supposed to be ten. We sat down to decide with the intention of picking ten. But just like last year, we found it so hard to decide that we thought we’d leave a bit more of a decision in your capable hands! We’ve gone with a top twelve – six entrants in the womenswear category, and six in the menswear category. In alphabetical order only, they are…
1. Adetola Olagbaju
2. Alison Cline-Williams
3. Dawn Gomersall
4. Kirsty Spence
5. Pariz Santos
6. Spirit Jansen
1. Faizz Mir
2. Flavio de Brito
3. Javier Flowers
4. Jonhoi Burnett
5. Pele Sengphom
6. Robert Keene
So, what happens next?
You can see the final images for our top ten finalists over the coming pages. You’ll also find them on Instagram and Facebook, posted individually. We’ll be opening the vote to you, members of the public and our readers, to hit ‘like’ on the finalist that you’d love to see win. We’ll end up with one womenswear winner and one menswear winner, with two runners-up in each category, based on a combination of your votes with our judging scores.
And we can tell you, it’s all very tight –there’s a lot to play for here! Last year’s winners really came down to the line, and the year before, we had such a close run on the public vote that the judge’s score tipped the winner over the line. This means that every single vote really counts!
The vote will close on the 20th August and you’ll be able to meet the winners in our next issue! They’ll be getting an exclusive cover shoot with us, help with their modelling career over the next year, and invaluable advice from Maxine via The Model Workshops to allow them to develop their skills. Over the coming weeks, be sure to check up on @londonrunwaymag, @photobyian, and @the_mj_studio to see more of the stunning shots which we couldn’t possibly fit in these pages. And don’t forget to check out @the_model_workshops to see what our judge Maxine is up to! A special thank you to @tonthegreen for their space, and to @bring_onthesun2 for lending us their sunglasses. Finally, a raise of the glass to @lemonaid_uk and @charitea_uk for sponsoring us – and keeping us hydrated on a hot shoot day!