America's next top models strut New Zealand
30 Apr 2010
New Zealand became a giant catwalk for some of the world’s most beautiful young women - as the latest episodes of hit TV series America’s Next Top Model screens in the US.
Four episodes of cycle 14 of America’s Next Top Model were filmed in New Zealand, where stunning scenery provided the backdrop to the beautiful contestants.
Former supermodel and series host and creator Tyra Banks, runway coach Miss J and fashion photographer Nigel Barker visited the country along with the six finalists in the reality show.
Host Sara Tetro and runway coach Colin Mathura-Jeffree from New Zealand’s Next Top Model - the local version of the series - also starred in some of the episodes as guest judges.
"I chose New Zealand as a Top Model location because it is a place that a lot of Americans, particularly young Americans, think of as a fantasy destination," said Banks.
New Zealand revealed
The contestants were excited from "the word go", when they found out in a previously screened episode that the mystery destination they would be flying to was New Zealand.
Host Tyra Banks also confirmed that the show was going to New Zealand to her fans late last year on her Twitter page.
"Rumours are true and you’re the first to know. Top Model is going to NEW ZEALAND for cycle 14! Can’t wait to get there."
The series is filmed in a series of locations around the country for the four episodes, starting with Auckland.
Auckland - City of Sails
Contestants flew to Auckland - known as the City of Sails - from New York. New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland is renowned for its harbour and beaches, surrounding native rainforest and vineyards.
The finalists were greeted at Auckland Airport by Miss J and Kiwi counterpart Mathura-Jeffree, of New Zealand’s Next Top Model, before being whisked away to receive a powhiri, or traditional Māori welcome, on Mt Eden.
After a series of ‘go-sees’ or interviews with New Zealand fashion designers, the models were sent on their first "farm-themed" photo-shoot where they lined up beside an iconic Kiwi animal - a merino sheep.
New Zealand merino wool is used to make high-end winter fashion, and is prized all over the globe.
"I was very impressed to learn that New Zealand is such a fashion forward country. The models and I loved exploring the hip boutiques and cool restaurants," Tyra Banks said.
On the model trail
US fans of America’s Next Top Model will be able to follow in the footsteps of Tyra Banks and some of the world’s up-and-coming young models with a new website just launched by Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand.
The gonewzealand.com website will feature travel deals that focus on New Zealand’s natural beauty, outdoor adventure, award-winning gourmet food and wine, luxury spas and accommodation, and authentic Māori cultural experiences.
Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler said the series was a good introduction to everything New Zealand had to offer as a tourist destination.
"People hear ‘New Zealand’ and they think of great outdoor experiences and beautiful landscapes. America’s Next Top Model will show the stylish side of the world’s youngest country, where local designers like Karen Walker and Zambesi and events like New Zealand Fashion Week and World of Wearable Art are pushing the boundaries of the industry."
Video: Tyra Banks talks about New Zealand
NZ fashion designer - Karen Walker
Style sisters - Nom*D and Zambesi
These topics may also be of interest to you