Donegal student Maria Gildea has been given a whirlwind start to her modelling career, having scooped the overall title of 2012 Specsavers Spectacle Wearer of the Year. It’s a huge coup for the 20 year old, who beat off stiff competition from thousands of models to take the title at the international final held at London’s Battersea Power Station.
New to the modelling scene, Maria has now been signed up by MOT Models, one of the largest modelling agencies in the UK. The top agency signed Posh Spice and Geri Halliwell in their early careers. Maria will also be represented by Assets Model Agency in Ireland.
Gok Wan, style guru and ambassador for the anti-bullying charity, Kidscape, hosted the event, which was also attended by Coronation Street actress Helen Flanagan. Other specs-wearing celebrities at the final included Mc Fly’s Tom Fletcher; actress Su Pollard; Strictly star Sid Owen; TV presenter Jeff Brazier; Atomic Kitten singers Jenny Frost and Liz McLarnon; Made in Chelsea’s Oliver Proudlock and Emmerdale’s Kelsey-Beth Crossley.
The panel of judges included X Factor singer Marcus Collins; Carly Hobbs from Fabulous magazine and blogger Liberty London Girl.
Maria Gildea’s journey began in August at the Spectacle Wearer of the Year Irish final at the RDS in Dublin when she beat off stiff competition from thousands of hopefuls to win a place in the final, representing Ireland.
Specsavers founder and patron of Kidscape, Dame Mary Perkins, says: ‘To have so many young people proudly sporting specs is fantastic and it’s made all the more worthwhile because we’ve been able to raise a record breaking £30,000 for our charity partner Kidscape.’