A DUBLIN schoolgirl who bears a striking resemblance to supermodel Lily Cole has been chosen to represent Ireland for the first time at the world's largest modelling competition.
Laura Harris (16), from Templeogue, has won a place in the world final of Elite Model Look 2010 on October 10 in Shanghai, China.
The prestigious contest sees more than 350,000 hopefuls at regional and national castings every year and has helped launch the careers of fashion icons Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Heidi Klum and Gisele Bundchen.
"I still can't believe I won the Irish competition and that I'm going to Shanghai at the end of this month," Laura told the Herald.
"I'm in the fifth year, so it will be difficult to keep up with all the preparations ahead of the trip, but I should manage."
Manager of the Elite Model Look Ireland, Sebastian Castrillon, told how the judges -- including former Assets model Anne Morgan and Big Brother contestant Hira Shah -- were delighted to have found such a natural beauty to represent the country.
"We've had auditions all over, in Belfast, Galway, Cork, Limerick and Dublin, we found some amazing girls but I have to say that Laura really has the 'whole package'," he said.
"She really deserved to win the Irish final last Saturday, she is beautiful, well-educated, she has a fantastic personality, she's really natural and has that remarkable Lily Cole look.
"I think she's going to do very well at the world final."
The 5ft 8in stunner said that she had been compared to the 22-year-old actress and supermodel from a young age.
"I think I was 12 when my auntie first told me that I looked like Lily, after that it became more regular, and a lot of people noticed it in the competition," she said.
"I think it's fantastic that people think I look like her, she's gorgeous and she started young as well, so she's a real inspiration.
"I also know that she did an art degree [art history] in Cambridge while she was doing modelling, and that's what I'd like to do. I'm hoping to study horticulture or botany in college because I just love gardening and I think it would be so much fun to do this kind of job if I can't be a model."