29 September 2004

Martin Hamer

Finalist Olivia gets the chance to shine on TV

Journalism student Olivia Midgley could already be well on her way to television stardom.

Olivia Midgley

The 19-year-old from Leeds (pictured left), who has just begun a BA in Journalism Studies at the University of Sheffield, is one of six finalists in the Spirit of Beauty contest run by haircare brand Pantene Pro-V in conjunction with GMTV and Premier Model Management.

She is spending the next month being preened and pampered by a team of experts before discovering in early November whether she is the overall winner who will get to play a starring lead in a TV commercial and the chance to present with Lorraine Kelly on GMTV’s LK Today.

Horse-riding enthusiast Olivia, known as Liv to her family and friends, was interviewed on television this week by Lorraine Kelly who told her the judges had been impressed by the teenager’s “natural beauty”.

More than 5,000 people entered the nationwide search to create a “household name” and were invited to three national judging days staged in Glasgow, Leeds and London.

It was not until the day before she was due to start her journalism course that Olivia – who wants to work in newspapers before pursuing a career in broadcasting – was told she has been shortlisted, meaning she would have to miss several lectures in the early weeks of the course.

“I was surprised but obviously delighted to get the call. It’s too good a chance to miss, although I was worried initially I might not be able to start the course – I have always wanted to do a journalism degree,” said Olivia just hours before dashing off to London to prepare for the Lorraine Kelly interview.

University staff have arranged for a student friend to keep Olivia up-to-date with the coursework and she will be back in Sheffield each week for some lectures, seminars and workshops – and to catch up on all the work she has missed!

Family, friends, fellow students and departmental staff will be able to monitor her progress over the next month on television as GMTV are expected to show clips of how she and the other finalists are benefiting from the makeovers and training they will receive.

The overall winner, decided by a public vote, will be announced at a glamorous gala in London on 1 November. The lucky woman will also have the possibility of a contract with leading agency Premier.