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Swimmer makes waves in fashion world

A FORMER swimmer has been tipped as the next Erin O'Connor of the modelling industry.

Monique Bryson-Clarke has her sights on being Ireland's biggest catwalk queen.

The 23-year-old is one of the newest girls on the modelling circuit, but with her stunning looks and short crop, the Co Louth girl has been tipped for major success.

"I think short hair can be a positive and a negative thing, but it seems to be going down well for me so far - it definitely becomes a trademark," Monique told the Herald.

"She's not your everyday, long-haired, press-call kind of model that Ireland is full of these days," top agent Derek Daniels added.

"Monique is edgy and different -- she's picking up bookings across the board, and doing extremely well."

The blonde beauty - who has sported her pixie hairdo due to years of training in the pool - loves her short locks and says that they help her stand out.

"I think because I look a little different with my short hair, I can offer something unique.

"I'm definitely very inspired by the likes of Erin and Agyness Deyn, I think they're fabulous," said Monique, who competed in the water for her province from the age of 14 to 17 at national galas.

The newcomer experienced her first brush with the business as a teen and although she only committed to modelling full time after completing university, the offers are already stacking up.

"I've been quite busy so far and it's brilliant -- I've done fashion slots on TV3's Ireland AM and photo shoots with Vero Moda and Trespass."

In 2006, she was spotted by a scout in London, but decided to steer away from modelling until she had completed her studies.

"My parents advised me to wait until I had finished my degree and my masters, so I did. But that really gave me a taste for it."

After being crowned Maynooth University's Next Top Model in 2008; posing at the L'Oreal Colour Trophy show in 2008 and landing a billboard campaign as the face of Quays Shopping Centre in Newry, Monique's confidence has grown dramatically.

In September she signed up with Assets agency and in between finishing off her masters in Irish History and Politics at University of Ulster, she has spent most of her time attending castings.