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From the dogwalk on to the catwalk

Emily Dorma in a Marilyn Monroe inspired photo shoot. - Alan Worsfold Photography
Emily Dorma in a Marilyn Monroe inspired photo shoot.
— image credit: Alan Worsfold Photography

Emily Dorma is on top of the world.

A magical 2012 continued for the 16-year-old Grade 11 Frances Kelsey student when she was selected as the winner of the New Silk Road Miss World modeling competition Saturday in Pu’er in Southwest China’s Yunnan province.

New Silk Road, a fashion organization and China's elite modelling company, realized its vision of discovering international level supermodels by hosting its own Miss World competition for the first time. Dorma was the youngest of the 46 contestants, topping out at age 26, from around the world.

She just arrived home after a long trip from China Monday night and wasn't available for comment Tuesday morning, still jet-lagged and catching up on her sleep.

Dorma made international headlines in February when handling her Havenese dog Reo that won the best in breed during the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York City.

Since then (following Reo's retirement), her Havenese dog Eddie won five best-in-shows this summer, including the top Havenese in Canada during August.

On the modelling side, Dorma entered the ITM-NSR Model Look North American competition at the River Rock Casino in Richmond in May. She didn't win that competition but was named the most photogenic contestant and people's choice in an on-line vote.

"It's been a pretty good year for her,'' said mom Bev.

Emily hadn't expected to go to China but got the call "at the last minute,'' said Bev. "We had less than two weeks' notice that she was invited.''

Emily actually got into the event because of her Finnish heritage, as Finland did not have anyone entered in the competition.

Emily took the late preparations in stride before reality hit about the all-expenses paid trip to a five-star resort where the competition was held.

"She was all very calm until the day before when she started having to pack her suitcase and got progressively more anxious,'' said Bev.

"She's travelled around North America, but not overseas.''

Emily has been modelling for a couple of years, "but it's not her primary focus,'' said Bev. "Some of these girls, it's their lifelong goal to go. For her, it's not. She's got so many interests.''

Emily will continue going to school and wants to become an anaesthesiologist.

"She'll just keep doing what she's doing,'' said Bev.

Pageant material, however, indicates "winning here likely paves the way for more modelling experiences in other areas related to cultural exchanges.''

The Dormas don't have any information yet on what the win means in terms of potential modelling contracts or assignments.

Victoria photographer Alan Worsfold, for one, isn't surprised by Emily's success.

He did a test shoot with her during November of last year when she was with the Barbara Coultish Talent and Model Management in Victoria.

"I've been shooting models for nearly 20 years and Emily is certainly one of the most beautiful girls I've photographed,'' noted Worsfold. "She is also very down-to-earth and easy to work with. Emily is also very bright, kind and friendly which I'm sure has helped her succeed. She learns quickly and takes direction well which makes her wonderful to shoot.

"You never know what they're looking for in these searches.  It certainly is a great accomplishment to win it with all the competition.''

Emily certainly seemed to be enjoying the experience of the competition. "It's my first time in China and I'm loving it,'' she said after her crowning on a video summarizing the event results.

There's a whole other side of the experience, Bev noted, that Emily might not have expected.

"After she was crowned, she also had two police officers at her side the entire time, as she was swarmed with people wanting to touch her hair, see her eyes, have autographs and get photos with her.''

Friends and family are obviously thrilled for Emily, but no one thinks the crowning or the experience will go to her head, so to speak, or change her in any way.

"She is a beautiful girl, inside and out and so very confident, yet unassuming,'' Bev concluded.

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