'Age is not a barrier': Delight as inspiring school teacher and mum wins TopModel 2019 award

A school teacher is hoping to inspire others after winning a prestigious national modelling.

Monday, 1st April 2019, 11:34 am
Updated Monday, 1st April 2019, 11:39 am
Fiona Harrington in the self-style final of TopModel 2019 wearing the outfit created by The Northern School of Art fashion team. Picture credit: Colin Chau/TOP MODEL

Mum of two Fiona Harrington has been crowned the winner of the ‘Natural Beauty Curves Award’ in the 2019 TopModel competition, after an outfits was created by Hartlepool-based lecturers from The Northern School of Art's BA (Hons) Fashion with Body Contour degree course.

From left, Fiona Harrington with Dr Carol Harris, Karen Peacock and Alison Hudson from the School's Fashion with Body Contour programme. Picture credit: The Northern School of Art, Russ Norman.

Fiona, from Billingham, is delighted with the win and said: “My family were so happy and proud. The children at school were also really excited and pleased too. It’s wonderful to feel that I have been able to be a role model to show them that you should never give up on your dreams.

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“Everyone thinks models have to be young and really thin so it’s good to show that age is not a barrier too. I really hope that I have given inspiration to anyone who needs a reminder to have the confidence to believe in themselves.”

The outfit created by The Northern School of Art’s fashion specialists was worn by Fiona in the ‘self-style’ round of the TopModel 2019 final. She also wore an outfit by designer Omar Mansoor.

The 43-year-old business studies teacher said she was thrilled with how the stunning red and black outfit turned out on the day, even if the eyelash extensions that were specially-crafted out of feathers to match it presented a challenge to the make-up team at the event.

Fiona Harrington in the self-style final of TopModel 2019 wearing the outfit created by The Northern School of Art fashion team. Picture credit: Colin Chau/TOP MODEL

Fiona, who teaches at Trinity Catholic College in Middlesbrough, added: “We had such a short time to get ready and I’m so grateful to the TopModel team and makeup artist Adnana Chirila who worked tirelessly to help me to complete the look and managed to get the eyelashes on with literally seconds to spare,” she said on a visit to report back to the School’s fashion team. “When everything came together it looked absolutely perfect.”

Dr Carol Harris, from the school or art’s fashion department at the Hartlepool campus explained how her team had come up with the highly impactful look for Fiona using a range of skills that are taught on the Fashion with Body Contour degree course.

She said: “The initial design began with a bra and a reel of elastic and it evolved from there as a very creative design and make project. The satin quilted panels and lace overlay were then developed to create a luxurious look and we adapted it to suit Fiona’s requirements by adding the feather skirt effect.

“Alison in our team created the amazing eyelashes from the feather boa as an ingenious finishing touch. It looked absolutely amazing on Fiona and we are so happy to have been able to support her to achieve her very well-deserved win.”

The BA (Hons) Fashion with Body Contour course is one of a number of skills-based creative courses offered by The Northern School of Art, the only specialist provider of creative degrees in the North East. The School is rated TEF Gold meaning its students receive outstanding teaching which is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Open Days take place at the School’s Hartlepool campus on Saturday, June 8, Thursday, July 4 and Saturday, September 28, from 10am to 2pm to provide an opportunity to explore its specialist, industry-standard facilities, workshops, studios, editing suites, and technical rooms.