With just under a month to go until Shanghai, the excitement is building. Although many of the finalists have already got their plane tickets – and no doubt the outfits they’re taking – sorted, others are still joining the line-up. Last Thursday, November 3, the Singapore leg of Elite Model Look hit the city’s Red Dot Museum. The Sunday before, 45 girls had been reduced to 13, and a 300-strong audience turned out to see which of them would win the golden ticket. First each had to shine in four different outfits, ranging from Guess S/S 2012 sportswear to ready-to-wear, swimwear and evening dress. In the end, it was 15-year-old Fiona Fussi that conquered their hearts: her fascinating looks the result of a father from Austria and a mother from Hong Kong. In The New Paper, the fresh-faced student dedicated her win to her grandmother, who had passed away just a few weeks before.

The Elite Model Look Singapore line-up The Elite Model Look Singapore line-up
2nd RU Louise Arild, winner Fiona Fussi, and 1st RU Putri Diana Abdullah celebrate 2nd RU Louise Arild, winner Fiona Fussi, and 1st RU Putri Diana Abdullah celebrate

Meanwhile, back on September 20, MEGA Alma-Ata, the biggest shopping centre in Kazakhstan, played host to the country’s first ever final. The finalists’ bootcamp had been picture perfect – an 8 day sojourn in a huge house in the mountains above Almaty – and now the moment they had been waiting for had come. In the morning, the contestants practiced their walks and had fittings, before meeting the jury: Elite’s Victoria da Silva was presiding alongside Maya Akisheva, Editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan Kazakhstan. The final itself saw a first in the 2011 competition: alongside the usual evening wear rounds, the contestants appeared clad in rich medieval attire – from velvet floor-length gowns to fur-trimmed boots. Having dazzled the audience with a flashback to the era of courtly romance, the winner was at last announced: first place went to 14-year-old Anastassiya Kozak from Temirtau. The first girl to walk must have left a lasting impression... (You can follow Anastassiya’s own account of the big day here.)

Backstage at Elite Model Look Kazakhstan. Image: HYPE MODELS Backstage at Elite Model Look Kazakhstan. Image: HYPE MODELS
The 'Medieval Round', Elite Model Look Kazakhstan. Image: HYPE MODELS The 'Medieval Round', Elite Model Look Kazakhstan. Image: HYPE MODELS

Crossing over the Western Pacific Ocean to an archipelago 1500km from eastern Australia, Elite Model Look descended on New Caledonia on June 3. Here, in the fragrant gardens of the Hotel Royal Tera in the capital Noumea, 12 contestants battled for the chance to represent the country this coming December. They had been in training with choreographer Sthan Kabor-Louët for 3 months previously, so everything was perfectly rehearsed by the time the 300 guests that night took to their seats. Elite Model Look President Michaela Goddard-Quesada had arrived the day before from Paris to head a jury that also included the photographer Emmanuel Righetti, responsible for the country’s stylish black and white contest shots. For two hours guests enjoyed house music and giant screens following the action (plasma TVs for the VIPs on the terrace), before the winner was announced: congratulations to sixteen-year-old Noumea resident Lou Anewy!

New Caledonia winner Lou Anewy New Caledonia winner Lou Anewy

And finally, we can't leave Asia-Pacific before announcing one of the most recent winners: Kim Eun Ji. She came out on top of Elite Model Look South Korea in the ninth annual contest there, held at the Sheraton Seoul D Cube City Hotel on October 30.

Kim Eun Ji. Source: MK Photo Kim Eun Ji. Source: MK Photo