My medical career will have to wait…I’m Britain’s next top model: Letitia Herod crowned competition champion
19-year-old hopes her win will help change attitudes as she endured humiliating comments about curvy figure during competition
23:52 GMT, 1 October 2012
06:49 GMT, 2 October 2012
With an aptitude for maths and science, she had dreamed of becoming a doctor and changing lives.
But now Letitia Herod has her sights set on the rather less cerebral goal of changing the modelling industry – after being crowned as Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model last night.
The 19-year-old hopes her win will help change attitudes as she endured humiliating comments about her curvy figure during the 13-week competition, which saw Elle Macpherson and her team of industry judges put 20 aspiring models through their paces on the catwalk.
Scroll down to see Letitia win…
Winner: Letitia Herod wants to change the modelling industry after being crowned as Britain and Ireland's Next Top Model last night
Before the contest, Miss Herod had
secured A-levels in maths, physics and biology at Esher College in
Surrey, where Keira Knightley once studied.
youngest of four girls, she hoped to follow her stepfather into a
medical career, but shelved her plans after her eldest sister Rebecca,
29, persuaded her to apply for the show.
Herod, who still lives at home in Oxshott, Surrey, with her solicitor
mother Anne and her stepfather Paul Shenton, a GP, said: ‘I need to make
the most of this while I am young. I know that modelling can open lots
‘When you get a chance like this you have to grab it with both hands. I won’t be young for ever.’
In the early stages of the contest, the judges voiced concerns about whether Miss Herod’s figure was suitable for high fashion. In one episode, designer Julian Macdonald pointedly said to her: ‘Lovely to see you and your breasts.’ In another, he asked bluntly: ‘Is Letitia just a Page Three girl or is she a model’
But after her victory, she said: ‘Size zero just doesn’t really exist any more. I think there’s been a shift and fashion designers are interested in reflecting real women.
‘I think the days of heroin chic are behind us. If you look at the models in the Victoria’s Secret campaign they have curves and look like real women.
Winning smile: Letitia with Elle Macpherson as the 19-year-old was crowned winner. She will now grace the front cover of Company magazine and will front a campaign with Miss Selfridge
'I hope to represent the fact that it’s good to have curves and be healthy.’
Miss Herod will now grace the front cover of Company magazine, is a ‘face’ of Revlon and has a contract with international agency Models 1. She will also front a campaign with Miss Selfridge. By the end of the contest even Macdonald had been won over, calling her ‘drop dead gorgeous’ and ‘very sexy’.
Miss Macpherson, 48, said: ‘I was looking for someone who broke the mould.’
Miss Herod’s mother, 56, said she was ‘very proud’ of her daughter, adding: ‘She can always go back to college later on if necessary, but she has been given the chance to make it as a model which is a huge opportunity.’
VIDEO: Letitia Herod crowned Britain and Ireland's Next Top Model