From Manitoba to Milan: Meaghan Waller wins Canadas Next Top Model

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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TORONTO - From Manitoba to Milan: Meaghan Waller has won the third season of "Canada's Next Top Model."
The 19-year-old Winnipeg native - a first-time model who had never participated in a photo shoot prior to joining the reality TV competition - was named the winner during the show's season finale on CTV on Tuesday.
Waller - who once confessed she was "totally green to modelling" - beat out Linsay Willier of Edmonton and Calgary's Nikita Kiceluk, who finished third.
After hearing the news, a stunned Waller covered her mouth and cried quietly before looking down at her trembling hands. Once Willier left the runway, she whooped and began celebrating.
Now months after the finale was taped, Waller said in an interview just before the show aired that she still couldn't quite believe it.
"Honestly, I think my initial reaction was: `Where is Ashton (Kutcher)? I think I'm being Punk'd,"' Waller told The Canadian Press.
"It was a totally overwhelming experience. So many emotions running through me at once."
The show wrapped taping around the beginning of April and Waller had been sworn to secrecy since. She moved back to Winnipeg, returned to work at the Swank Boutique, hung out with her old friends and kept quiet about the outcome of the show.
"It's really kind of surreal, because it's kind of like I'm living a split personality life," said Waller, her blonde hair tied back tightly and out of the way of her pale blue eyes.
"I've gone back to work, and gone back to all of my friends and doing all my everyday things, and then on the other hand, I know this huge secret and I know my life is going to change in an instant, so it's really been weird."
Waller wins a modelling contract with Elmer Olsen Model Management, a spread in Fashion magazine and a $100,000 beauty contract from Procter & Gamble - money the level-headed teen said she plans to invest in a retirement fund.
The nearly five-foot-10 Waller certainly didn't seem destined to win the competition at the outset. She seemed uneasy about her orthodontic braces, and struggled with confidence.
Even in the finale, her competitors doubted her.
"I don't know what her strong points are right now because she's kind of been in a downward slump," Kiceluk said of her competition.
During the final photo shoot, the editor wanted each of the models to wear a strapless, belted yellow Versace dress, but it was too slender for anyone but Waller to squeeze into.
"Wow, so our fat asses wouldn't fit into that dress but hers can," Kiceluk noted.
Said Waller on Tuesday: "It was kind of like Cinderella and the slipper. ... I'm really glad I fit into it and none of the other girls did."
For now, she plans to continue living in Winnipeg, and otherwise says she's open to whatever comes.
"I think I'm just gonna be skyrocketed into an oblivion or who knows what, but I'm very excited for what's coming," she said.
"I'd most definitely like to make a huge name for myself as well as walking for designers like Karl Lagerfeld, and I'd love to shoot with Steven Meisel, and all those big things that models always dream of. Hopefully I'll have the opportunity."

Organizations: Canadian Press, Fashion magazine, Procter & Gamble

Geographic location: Manitoba, Canada, Winnipeg TORONTO Edmonton Calgary

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