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THE fur never fails to fly on Aus­tralia’s Next Top Model. Judge Alex Perry was sav­aged re­cently for say­ing a size 8 model looked like ‘‘ over­stuffed lug­gage’’ as she posed in­side a cof­fin.

Perry was fu­ri­ous about the con­tro­versy, say­ing he was re­fer­ring to ‘‘ her mod­el­ling skills’’ not her body shape.

‘‘ Some­how ev­ery­one thinks I hate fat peo­ple . . . I can dress a big girl bet­ter than any­body,’’ he says.

Josh Flinn, model men­tor on the show who also works as fash­ion pub­li­cist for the Alex Perry la­bel in Syd­ney, has also been dodg­ing vit­riol.

The run­way coach says it’s one thing to be crit­i­cised on Twit­ter, but an­other for peo­ple to ha­rass you af­ter gain­ing ac­cess to your mo­bile phone num­ber.

‘‘ I’m not a celebrity or pub­lic fig­ure, I’m a per­son who works in fash­ion and does a bit on telly. Alex and Char­lotte (Daw­son) are much more used to this than me,’’ Flinn says.

‘‘ I don’t even know how some­body got that (Flinn’s mo­bile num­ber) and left a per­sonal mes­sage say­ing, ‘‘ Alex is such a mon­grel and both of you should die’. It’s hard for some­thing like that to be water off a duck’s back.’’

Oc­ca­sional barbs aside, Flinn loves his job on Top Model, which he sees as the ul­ti­mate re­al­ity show ‘‘ be­cause it’s re­al­is­tic’’. It iden­ti­fies mod­el­ling po­ten­tial, then works out who has what it takes to forge a ca­reer.

The suc­cess of the show, Flinn says, is tes­ta­ment to the grit of cast and crew.

This year’s Top Model fi­nale will be broad­cast live from the Syd­ney Opera House on Oc­to­ber 25.

‘‘ I think we’ve given the pub­lic enough credit to let them vote the win­ner,’’ Flinn says.

‘‘ What I hope is, they (view­ers) don’t just think about the per­son­al­i­ties, they think about who has learnt the most and who can con­tinue to grow and who is ac­tu­ally go­ing to work as a model.

‘‘ That’s all I want. Per­son­al­i­ties should be kept sep­a­rate be­cause it’s Aus­tralia’s Next Top Model, not Miss Con­ge­nial­ity.’’ Aus­tralia’s Next Top Model fi­nale, FOX8, Tues­day, 7.30pm

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