“You Wanna Be On Top?” – the theme song for Canada’s Next Top Model tells the story. The winner of the popular reality show gets to walk away with a modeling contract from Elmer Olsen Modeling Agency, a $100,000 beauty contract from Procter & Gamble and an editorial spread in Fashion Magazine. Rebecca Hardy, winner of cycle two show, is in town for Toronto Fashion Week. The young starlet from Mannheim, Ontario used to work at the JM Schneider meat factory in Kitchener and her life has changed dramatically since claiming her victory. She candidly shares her experiences about being on TV and her new career.
“Being on Canada’s Next Top Model was really stressful. People don’t understand how long the hours are – you are running on no sleep.” She quickly got used to the cameras following her every move after only a couple of hours into filming. With eight episodes per season, each episode features a fashion challenge, photo shoot or commercial; Rebecca found the Venus Breeze commercial the most demanding exercise to carry out. “They gave me my script last but made me go first – I had the least amount of time to memorize my lines.”
Rebecca appreciates her TV encounter because it helped prepare her for the challenges of a modeling career which involves castings, photo shoots, runway shows, traveling to foreign countries, language barriers and more sleepless nights. She also portrays a positive attitude about accepting harsh feedback from the judges which is probably a big factor in her being able to survive an industry renowned for its high rejection factor.
The dark-haired beauty has now graced the cover of a few magazines … she remembers walking into a Shoppers Drug Mart to get some products and seeing her face staring back from the magazine rack. When asked what it was like to see her face splashed on the cover, Rebecca replies humbly, “kind of weird … I can’t find the right word to describe it.” No wonder the fame has left her somewhat speechless; going from small-town Ontario to a high-exposure glamorous lifestyle is a huge transformation.
But how glamorous is it? What goes on backstage at a runway show is far from beguiling – it is pure chaos. “Hair and makeup is getting done like crazy. I remember I did two back to back shows in Toronto Fashion Week – I had basically 10 to 15 minutes to go from one look to a complete other look. I have five people working on me at one time … You are rushing, you can’t get your shoes on. Then you go onstage and it is all calm and collective. That is what the viewers see but they don’t see how insane it is backstage.”
Rebecca will have to continue to work very hard to get those runway gigs and photo shoots in an industry that has become celebrity driven. She has already proven to herself, and the international modeling community, that she has what it takes. After all, beating out all the other final competitors from across the country for such a title is no easy feat … and that’s exactly what this top model has done.