Australia’s Next Top Model winner Montana Cox flew under the radar at the beginning of the 2011 series. Then, with the makeover episode, she was not only physically transformed but also reached a “turning point” that saw her go from strength to strength with every photo shoot that followed. Host Sarah Murdoch and judges Charlotte Dawson and Alex Perry gushed about her model potential, while guest photographers and designers say they’d love to keep working with her. A day after her big win at the Opera House, we chatted to the 18-year-old Melbourne stunner on being a fan of the series and her model inspirations.
What did you think your chances of winning were?
I thought it was very [low]. I just had no idea. I tried to think of the worst possible outcome so I wouldn’t be disappointed. The whole time I was like, ‘Nup! Not gonna win, not gonna win.’ So to hear my name being called out was a real surprise. I was really shocked, and it’s so exciting.
How does it feel to know you already have such a large, passionate fan base?
It’s really great. I’m really thankful for all the fans; they seem so into it, and they’re really encouraging and supportive. You feel a lot of confidence in yourself.
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They’re definitely a very vocal audience!
[Laughs] They are very vocal. There were these three girls in particular who I could just hear the whole night. It was really cute. They were squealing, like, “Montana! Give me a hug!”
Have you always been a fan of the Top Model franchise?
I have! I’ve always watched it. I always wanted to go on it but I never thought I’d actually get on to it. It’s really weird knowing that I’ve watched it all, and that I’ve watched the seasons — I know all the winners, and to know that I’m one of them is really surreal.
And how does it feel to know that Sarah, the judges and everyone are saying you’re the best girl yet?
It’s incredible to hear those words! There have been such amazing girls who have won the competition so far, so to hear that is really humbling. I just really hope I can live up to everyone’s expectations.
Do you have a favourite judge?
I really love Charlotte. She’s a wonderful woman and she’s a real softie on the inside. I also love Sarah — I think she’s really inspirational and a great role model.
You guys spent a lot of time with Charlotte on your challenges.
Yeah, we had a lot of downtime and we got to hang out with her a lot. She was funny and she clicked with all of us girls. I think all the girls have a special soft spot for Charlotte.
What is the ultimate job you’d like to book as a model?
I’d love to do high fashion runways for Chanel, and all those other high fashion brands. It would just be incredible. Maybe one day if I can get there!
We felt that you improved so much after the makeover episode. What else about you changed, aside from your hair?
It was a huge turning point for me. Before that I doubted myself and I wasn’t very assured of myself. After that I saw a new light and I thought, ‘I can do this now. I’ve really gotta try and put 100 percent in and really go for it.’ From then on in I just really wanted to shine, keep doing well and keep getting better.
Which was your favourite photo shoot?
The pink paint one, definitely! Rolling around in that pink paint . . . I think it was a lot of other people’s favourite as well. And also Dubai, because that was pretty epic. It was huge. But the pink paint one was like being a little kid rolling around in paint. It was really creative and a lot of fun.
In Dubai they bleached your eyebrows — is there anything you wouldn’t do for a job?
Probably shave my head! I wouldn’t be a fan of shaving my head [laughs].
Who’s your favourite model?
Probably Abbey Lee Kershaw. She’s Aussie, she comes from Melbourne, and she made her way up there to the big time, so she’s a big inspiration. Hopefully one day I can be on the runway next to her!
What’s your Top Model highlight, aside from winning?
Just meeting the girls I got to meet. I’ve made some really great friendships. They were such beautiful girls and we all got along so well. We could be so natural with each other and just be stupid. I didn’t expect to make such good friends.
Photo courtesy of Foxtel