Sophia Howell and Liam Rondon after being crowned and sashed. (Picture by Christoff Griffith.)
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Queen’s College’s new king and queen of the runway are Liam Rondon and Sophia Howell, who captured the titles before a massive audience in the annual model search contest, Star Strut: Phoenix – Rising from the Ashes.
For some, the judges’ decision was a surprise, if the deafening screams from the 12 contestants’ supporters were anything to go on. There was a sudden hush, then a buzz when MCs Brian Lashley and Lisa Eversley announced that Jamahl Burke and Kaya Burnett were second runners-up and the very popular Aaron Grimes and Atara Padmore were first runners-up.
However, the event is not a popularity contest and both Rondon and Howell looked the part, rocked the runway, and based solely on Saturday night, could have been print and catwalk models. They were a complete package from the God and Goddess opening to the final Phoenix Runway category, where they wore formal wear.
In addition to the title, Rondon also won the God and Goddess segment among the males, while Howell captured the Phoenix Runway and Living Art segments and was judged the Most Improved Female entrant. Her Living Art paint splashed ballerina costume, complete with tutu and shoes, was awesome and she walked the runway en pointe.
Padmore went home with the win in the designer segment, which showcased 19-year-old Shanna Boyce’s lovely Fashion Couture line, and Grimes copped the Fit for Fashion, Phoenix Runway, and Living Art categories as well as Director’s Award of Excellence. He signalled his intention to win when he rode in on a motorbike during the opening segment and brought something extra each round that made him stand out from among the others.
Third-placed Burnett and Burke won the Most Photogenic Female, the designer (male) and People’s Choice categories, respectively.
The very popular Gabrielle Brome was the People’s Choice among the females; Zion Nicholls was the Most Photogenic and Most Improved Male contestant; and Shequanna Morgan copped the Gods and Goddess and Fit for Fashion categories.
The other contestants were Alana Springer, Xavier Dash and Mark-Anthony Hinkson.
Hosted by the 2018 Graduation Class, the event featured young entertainers Jehoida Cooke, girl group Serendipity, Myles Wilkinson, Barbados Talented Teen winner Meghan Green, rappers New Matter and Christopher Burnett and Deshawn Hinkson. (GBM)