The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Best Weekend - - FRONT PAGE -

She’s too young to legally or­der a glass of cham­pagne to toast her amaz­ing suc­cess but that hasn’t stopped 17-year-old Aleyna FitzGer­ald from pur­su­ing an in­ter­na­tional mod­el­ling ca­reer with full force.

Last year’s win­ner of Fox­tel’s hugely suc­cess­ful Aus­tralia’s Next Top Model fran­chise has been walk­ing run­ways across the world since be­ing crowned the show’s win­ner by just half a point last Novem­ber.

And she could just be the most suc­cess­ful Aus­tralia’s Next Top Model con­tes­tant.

The stun­ning teen, who quit school and her part-time job as a re­cep­tion­ist at a fork­lift fac­tory in ru­ral NSW to chase her dream, has come a long way since she first ap­peared on the re­al­ity se­ries.

She’s worked for ma­jor de­sign­ers such as Dior, Yves Saint Lau­rent and Valentino. In July she re­placed Kendall Jen­ner (who she’d love to meet one day) as the face of fash­ion house Balmain’s au­tumn/win­ter 2017 ad cam­paign. This week she has again been walk­ing the cat­walk at New York Fash­ion week for the world’s big­gest brands.

“It’s been a crazy year for me,” FitzGer­ald tells BW dur­ing a rare trip home to Syd­ney to spend time with her fam­ily and pro­mote her as­so­ci­a­tion with For­ever New’s Ever After collection.

“I’ve gone in­ter­na­tional. I’ve been to Paris, New York and all around the world wher­ever work takes me. It’s just so ex­cit­ing.”

FitzGer­ald, who trav­els the world on her own (in econ­omy) and of­ten bunks in at ho­tel rooms with other mod­els, says it isn’t all glitz and glam­our in the fash­ion in­dus­try and in­sists it re­quires hard work and per­se­ver­ance to make it.

“If you re­ally want to do it, you will find the en­joy­ment out of it,” she ad­vises any­one con­sid­er­ing the work. “I re­ally en­joy do­ing it, but it is a lot of hard work.”

Among the dif­fi­cul­ties of the job is the ab­sence of fam­ily and friends but FaceTime and reg­u­lar phone calls and texts help her get through that iso­la­tion.

“It is emo­tional,” FitzGer­ald says. “It’s scary be­ing away from home and on the other side of the world with­out my par­ents and my fam­ily to sup­port me.

“I didn’t think it would be so dif­fi­cult be­cause you see the glam­our, you see all the fun. All of those things

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