Australia’s Next Top Model ended with a bang at last night’s live finale held at The Star in Sydney. 16-year-old Melissa Juratowitch was announced as the winner of the 2013 series, beating fellow Melbourne girls Shanali Martin and Nyadak “Duckie” Thot. The shocked high schooler, who never auditioned in the first place (she was scouted in the crowd) and was worried her personality wouldn’t come through once the decision rested with the public, said, “The whole experience has taken me by complete surprise and I intend to make the most of this amazing opportunity. I’m still finishing my final year at high school and once that is completed I will pursue my dream as a professional model. I’m so grateful to everyone who has voted for me tonight and I will do my best to make you proud.”
This year’s new host, Jennifer Hawkins, handled the live hosting duties for the show, which replayed highlights from the series and brought judges Alex Perry (he had a bit of an accident coming off stage), Charlotte Dawson and Didier Cohen onstage. The top 15 models also returned, strutting down the stage during performances by Rudimental and Ricki-Lee Coulter. There was also a special showcase by Cirque du Soleil, who performed “Smooth Criminal” from Michael Jackson The IMMORTAL World Tour. As for guests, the events centre was filled with excited fans and competition winners, as well as local stars such as Laura Dundovic, Kerri-Anne Kennerley and Emma Birdsall — some kept the celebrations going at the after party held at Marquee.