UW-Madison student wins chance at modeling

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Posted by madcityradio.com on December 14, 2008 at 23:39:36:

University of Wisconsin-Madison student wins chance at modeling in New York

University of Wisconsin-Madison junior Rianna Hardesty learned she won the national "Next Year's Model" contest as she walked to her Introduction to Buddhism class, providing an unusual clash of information: Earning a much-sought pop-culture prize, then studying a religion developed in the 6th century.

"I was so excited," says Hardesty, 20, "but I was trying to pay attention, too."

The contest stems from veteran supermodel Carol Alt and other industry execs, who chose four contestants from thousands of entrants. Hardesty, a Columbus native, didn't enter herself her mother, Kristen, did. Then Kristen didn't tell Rianna about it until she was picked as a finalist.

On Thursday, Hardesty heard about her win, chosen by online voters. She receives a trip for two in February to New York City, where she will participate in a photo shoot with her picture likely landing on the cover of Alt's book "Model, Inc." While in New York, she will meet with a top modeling agency and receive a $500 wardrobe package.

Hardesty, who studies communication arts, is an intern at International Learning Community in UW-Madison's Adams Hall, a dorm with sections concentrating on different languages.

She has never done professional modeling, but she was interested in pursuing it. "I didn't think I'd get anywhere with it," said Hardesty, a 2006 graduate of Columbus High School. "I have a friend really into photography and she would use me as her model. But that's it."

Hardesty's mother will join her daughter in New York. They'll meet Alt, and Rianna will receive the chance to break into a highly competitive industry.

"It's an amazing opportunity," she says. "Whatever comes of it, either way, I'll enjoy it."

(Wisconsin State Journal)

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