By and  on February 6, 2008

Westfield Group put 50 aspiring models in the public arena as the Ford Supermodel of the World contest culminated last month.

Finalists from 50 countries engaged in preparatory activities, such as walking lessons and go-sees, fun trips around Manhattan, and a shopping excursion with kids at Garden State Plaza in New Jersey, a megamall owned by Westfield, as part of a charity event supporting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis.

To top it off, there was a runway show with the finalists at Terminal 5, the new event space in Manhattan, to announce the winners. The show on Jan. 16 was styled by Tiffany Dubin, with a mix of contemporary and vintage looks, and cohosted by Maybelline and Westfield, one of the world's largest developers.

André J, serving as emcee, kicked things off by paying homage to Eileen Ford. "I'm going to bend down to you. I want to look like you, honey," he told her.

Nicole Faveren Vasquez of Peru was awarded the first of two $100,000 Maybelline contracts.

"I need somebody to translate — she doesn't understand what's going on," laughed Maybelline model Tomiko, who presented the honor. Luckily, the second contract went to Alexina Graham of the U.K.

The most coveted prize went to South Korea's Seung-hyun Kang, who was awarded a $250,000 contract from Ford.

"This is my first time in New York and it is such an amazing city full of people from all over the world," said the 18-year-old who has only a year and a half of modeling experience. "I'm hoping that becoming a Ford model will allow me to be a role model to Asian girls everywhere — to show them that great things can happen for them in the fashion industry. I think it's a special honor that Ford chose an Asian girl — it sends a great message."

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