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Dorma just a small-town student at heart

Emily Dorma shot to instant modelling fame with potential opportunities for the future after her competition win in China. - Alan Worsfold Photography
Emily Dorma shot to instant modelling fame with potential opportunities for the future after her competition win in China.
— image credit: Alan Worsfold Photography

For a short time in China, Emily Dorma discovered what it felt like being a celebrity. Back home in the Cowichan Valley, she's returned to being a typical small town 16-year-old.

Despite being mobbed after winning the New Silk Road Miss World Competition in China where the fashion industry is so huge models are treated like rock stars, Dorma doesn't think the experience will change her. She had to be whisked away in a scene of bedlam after her crowning.

"In the first 10 seconds, somebody broke my crown,'' said Dorma, who took a few days to rest at home after the long trip before returning to school at Frances Kelsey Secondary.

"It was more like the people who paid to watch the show were jumping fences. No shame.''

Dorma was amazed at the response. Young people went crazy with their adoration.

"I had to sign all these little girls' shirts,'' she said.

Dorma didn't expect to be put on a pedestal at school.

"I don't think it's going to be much different,'' she said. "I think it's going to be, 'Em, I missed you.'''

What the experience and her instant fame means for a future in modelling remains to be seen.

"I kind of want to take a while off and go to school and figure things out,'' Dorma said. "I've always been told brains over beauty. I do want to go to school.''

There's still the matter of what was in the red envelope Dorma received on-stage after her crowning. The Dormas don't know the specifics of the enclosed certificate since it's in Chinese.

With 46 contestants from around the world, a few things got lost in the translation.

"I think the hardest thing was the language barrier between all the girls,'' said Dorma. "There was some drama.''

Misconstrued emotions and words were common, she said, when "you put 46 girls in a room and they can't talk to each other.''

Dorma especially hit it off with Rhanna Mayara of Brazil in their own special way.

"I made quite a few friends when I was there,'' said Dorma. "I got a lot of information.

"The girl from Brazil was crazy, but we got along.''

For all the modelling Dorma has done, it's frequently been in the company of just a photographer and a few other people.

What took some getting used to, she said, was "when you stepped out from backstage into a crowd of people and none of them spoke English.''

Despite all the glitz and the glamour, Dorma enjoyed some of the events away from the spotlight.

"My favourite parts of it were when we took the bus up to the Pu'er Mountains,'' she said.

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