Congratulations to all the 2016 Winners

Open Winner 2016, Olivia Strumfin will fly (all expensed paid) to Europe in February to start her working contract with CORE Management based in Hamburg and Berlin. Having just completed her HSC, she is ready to ‘fly’. We wish her every success as she embarks on her dream, a new career and a new chapter of life.

Contracts with CORE Management to work in Europe are being considered with the following winners and finalists for 2017: Chloe Ryan, Jinima Waddy Parsons, Bree Millar, Sam McGlone, Natalie Barker, Wyatt Brennan. Other contracts are being negotiated for two of last year’s finalists, who have now fished their HSC: Kyam Hunt and Savanna McDonagh. Congratulations to Shania Montana as the Top Fundraiser and to Madelaine Baker as the recipient to the Michael Heald Personal Development Award, sponsored by South Coast Private Hospital.

Also another news item – to go with picture of Kirra (see photo below)

Star power: Internationally signed model and Highlights on Mental Health ambassador Kirra Jones with Billie Gurr at Saturday’s ball. Pictures: Robert Peet.

Kirra Jones is a shining example of the possibilities and career outcomes – as a direct result of the multi faceted opportunities brought about by Illawarra’s Top Model.

At the Illawarra Top Model Highlights Ball and Grand Awards Wollongong’s own Kirra Jones, our Ambassador for Highlights on Mental Health and the face of ITM – now a successful International Model, since she was spotted and groomed for an international modelling career – made possible by our Gold Sponsors CORE Management EU. Kirra was launched into Europe 2014 and is now signed with leading agencies in London, Paris, Milan and New York among others, and is featured on runways of the world’s fashion capitals sporting all the top international brands. Kirra spoke so enthusiastically about her worldly experiences, challenges and triumphs. She was also able to express with her own first hand experience how important this cause is to her – and that she was honoured to be our guest again at the 2016 Awards Event.

Another news item (you can drop off the old ones)

As we conclude the fourth year of our campaign we are proud of our progress in the Illawarra – as Highlights on Mental Health and Illawarra’s Top Model have ramped up a significantly improved, positive and accepting attitude towards mental health. Our progress and success have been made possible only due to the extraordinary support and encouragement from our Major Sponsors, Community & Media Partners, Foundation Sponsors – and all the ground troops who have gone beyond the call to support this exciting new initiative. We are confident in our mission to progress and move forward with improved awareness and fundraising for mental health in the Illawarra… and look forward to the continued relationships and support from our valued sponsors, acknowledged here-under.

llawarra Mercury Readers’ Choice Award winner Bree Millar – Photo Josh Brightman – Balanced Image Studio

Winner of 2016 Illawarra’s Top Model Olivia Srumfin – Photo Josh Brightman – Balanced Image Studio



Dapto teenager Olivia Strumfin was announced as the winner of the Illawarra’s Top Model competition at a gala night held at the University Hall on Saturday night.

The 18-year-old was picked out from 12 finalists, with an event spokeswoman saying she had been recognised for being “an all-round package”.

Ms Strumfin will head to Europe to work with German-based modelling agency Core Artist Management as part of her prize.

This year’s second annual modelling competition received more than 100 entrants and raised $52,000. Funding will go towards a mental health “clubhouse”, run out of St John’s Lutheran Church on Burelli Street.

The Wollongong program is based on, but not accredited by, a United States “community-based” treatment approach to mental health, Clubhouse International.

Proceeds from the modelling competition will also go towards providing respite for young carers.

At Saturday’s gala, a number of prizes were awarded including the Mercury Readers’ Choice Award, given to Bree Millar.

Photo Gallery – Photos by Josh Brightman, Balanced Image Studio.
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New TV ad for the finals

Watch out for the new ad on WIN. Thank you WIN for your support.


Who will be Illawarra’s Top Model 2016

Don’t miss the Illawarra’s Glamour Events of the Year

Illawarra’s Top Model Finals and Runway Fashion Show
Novotel Northbeach
October 8
Highlights Ball and Grand Final Awards – Runway
Fashion Spectacular -University of Wollongong
Great Hall – October 22

Illawarra’s Top Model 2016 Campaign raises awareness and funds for mental health services in the llawarra.

Our fabulous entrants in Illawarra’s Top Model have the opportunity to win these amazing prizes:

  • International Modelling Contract with CORE Management EU (all Expenses paid)
  • Inaugural Michael Heald Personal Development Scholarship Award $3000 Sponsored by South Coast Private
  • ITM Top Fundraiser Award
  • Mercury Readers’ Choice Award


Download as PDF

Listen To Radio Commercial

The 2016 Heats Are On

Illawarra’s Top Model 2106 proudly presented by Mecedes-Benz Wollongong announces

The Heats are on this weekend!

Come and watch our beautiful entrants compete on a specially constructed 50 metre runway in Wollongong Central Mall.
From 11.30 am til 1.15 pm this Saturday and Sunday. Practice makes Perfect and we congratulate them on having rehearsed so hard and kept up their fundraising as well.

Come to the Mall to support our wonderful Illawarra’s Top Model Entrants and celebrate their commitment to Mental Health. We are all so proud of them.

Don’t forget to Save Our Dates….

The Heats : Wollongong Central Mall (ITM will make some hard decisions to choose the Semi Finalists)
Saturday 3rd September – Heat (1) 11.30 am till 1.15pm
Sunday 4th – Heat (2) 11.30 am till 1.15pm

The Semi Finals: Wollongong Central Mall – (Selection of 12 Finalists)
Saturday 10th September at 12 pm till 2pm

The ITM Finals/ Glamour Fashion Parade
Novotel Northbeach Ballroom
Saturday 8th October 12pm til 2pm.

Click here for tickets for ITM Finals and Fashion Parade at Novotel
Reserve now and pay on-line for a front row seat and a free glass of Champagne and canapés.

Who will be ITM Winner for 2016!

Illawarra’s Top Models get ready, get set and ‘get fitted’ tomorrow in ‘red hot’ new season fashions in Wollongong City Mall… in a practice run – in preparing for the ITM Heats September 3 and 4… when 50 stunning models will strut a 50 metre ‘red carpet’ runway in Wollongong Central. The De Lorenzo Creative Team are preparing the ‘looks and new season styling’ in ‘rediness’ for the big weekend and all the events, when makeup artists, hair designers and fashion stylists get it all together.

Competing for a spot in the semi finals, successful models will be announced on the day – to go through to the following Saturday, Sept 10th for the Semi Finals again in the City Mall at 11.30am. Presented by MBW, a red hot fashion show you cannot afford to miss… will mark spring fashion week supporting Highlights on Mental Health and celebrating the opening of H&M. Be early to secure your seat along the model’s runway.

A super group of dancers from the VPA Dance Studio, Wollongong will open the ITM Heats under the bridge between David Jones and the new H&M.

Unique opportunities for local aspiring models will be ‘up for grabs’ right here in the Gong!

Judges will be on the look out for fresh new Australian faces in Wollongong – during the Heats and Finals of Illawarra’s Top Model

Illawarra’s Top Model directly links Wollongong to the Fashion Capitals of the World when international Casting Agent, CORE Management EU will visit Down Under for the ‘glamour events’ of the year to judge Illawarra’s Top Model 2016. The Open Winner will be treated to an expenses paid return airfares trip to Europe, incorporating placement opportunities with a network of leading European agencies, sponsored by Core Model Management EU which will offer our top model winner the chance to work with the worlds leading brands and industry icons.

Platinum Sponsor South Coast Private, Media Partners WIN TV, i98FM and Illawarra Mercury, applaud Illawarra’s Top Model in a show of support to Highlights on Mental Health.

Wollongong’s Kirra Jones was discovered through Illawarra’s Top Model and she is an ambassador for the Highlights on Mental Health Campaign and Illawarra’s Top Model. She is already signed in top agencies in London, Paris, New York and Milan through our ‘mother agency’ in Europe, CORE Management. This is a positive and youth engaging campaign that is effectively lifting the ‘stigma’ that has hung so heavily over Mental Health.

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery has wholeheartedly committed his personal support to the campaign, now in it’s 4th year, stating“The Highlights on Mental Health campaign ticks all the boxes. The fundraising events are inspirational and fitting for Wollongong’s new Centre. It has engaged families and the community at large, while raising awareness for Mental Health and the Illawarra Clubhouse.”

Robyn te Velde welcomes the participation and generous prize being put forward by her son Paul James Hay, Proprietor and Director of a leading European agency, Core Artist Management EU.


An Invitation to Illawarra’s Top Model Information Evening

Illawarra's Top Model Presented by Highlights on Mental Health

Join us as for a special information forum on 3 August, where we celebrate our progress with #ITM-2016, launch our latest sponsor and offer you another opportunity to register.

Come along to our next Information Forum to gain a full understanding of Illawarra’s Top Model and this significant community engaging campaign which supports Mental Health in the Illawarra.

Wednesday 3rd August
6:30pm to 8:00pm
28 Stewart Str, Wollongong

Get the heads up on #ITM-2016

Come and gain a better understanding of Illawarra’s Top Model – see whether you would like to register your interest and become part of all the exciting ITM Events. Bring along your parent or guardian, especially if you are under 16 and would like to enter our new category.

Learn about the great prizes and the many benefits that will provide a socially rich and positive ‘life’ experience moving forward. Share in an experience that will build confidence for any career path.

Volunteers will be available on the night to assist you with your registration and will answer any questions you may have.

Our speakers

The evening will be filled with guest talks. Some of our finalists from last year will share their experiences and chat about fundraising ideas. Our Platinum sponsor, South Coast Private will outline the new Personal Progress Award & Scholarship valued at $3000.

Guest Speakers Dan Hunt, our community Ambassador, and Lisa Burling a local PR sensation who has won several awards, will share their inspiration with you on the night.

Meet the 2015 finalists and winners

Talk to last year’s winners and their parents. Learn about their experiences and ask them any questions you may have.

We look forward to sharing this informal information-celebration evening with you.

Models & Mental Health – How do they connect?

Illawarra's Top Model Presented by Highlights on Mental Health

I am often asked ‘should models raise funds for a mental health cause?’ My answer is: who better! Experience has shown us the connection between models and mental health has great strength and power. Power to raise awareness of people around us who are suffering with their mental health and power to raise much-needed funds to help them.

A desire to support the cause

Now in its second year, contestants who’ve entered the Illawarra’s Top Model competition have often been motivated more by their desire to support Highlights on Mental Health, our chosen cause, than their ambition to get the sought-after prize – even though it is a great one, offering access into international modelling.

When fundraising counts

One of the criteria for our judges is just how much fundraising work a contestant does towards the cause. So we attract people who, being interested in modelling, can capture the public imagination with their personal glamour and the excitement the competition generates, while being the very same people who are passionate about supporting people struggling with their mental health. We embrace high ranking footballers who annually support Breast Cancer. So why not models and mental health? Keep in mind – 100% of the competition proceeds go to Highlights on Mental Health 2016.

Models are not immune

Many of our contestants have had a close brush with mental illness, known friends or family members with this struggle. Are models immune to mental health issues themselves? No matter how successful or seemingly strong a person seems outwardly, internal struggles can occur in everyone.

In the past eating disorders have been associated with modeling because of the industry’s tendency to demand the ‘super thin’ grace its catwalks. To address this, Illawarra’s Top Model Competition has three categories specifically for women of various sizes, –The aim is to give all young people greater opportunities and access to participate in this fun competition that can make a difference to real lives.

Supporting our contestants’ personal growth

We have introduced measures to protect and improve our contestants’ mental health and wellbeing throughout the competition process. How is this done? Each of our contestants has access to personal development and tutoring sessions throughout the campaign, with the goal of enhancing their confidence and sense of personal worth.

We in turn are confident that the Illawarra’s Top Models journey will offer each of our participants a socially rewarding experience through which they can develop new friendships and enhance their personal strengths. This can help to set them on a great future path, both professionally and personally. 

Public enthusiasm

The competition is growing in popularity, meeting with a huge groundswell of support in 2015. Again this year, the communities’ appreciation can be measured in dollars and cents on the My Cause Fundraising pages of each of our remarkable young participants. Here we pay tribute to all of them as they step up to the challenge, and in doing so, are already making a notable difference!

So come on Illawarra, get ready to support the upcoming Illawarra’s Top Model entrants in 2016 … and their commitment to raising funds for Highlights on Mental Health.

First #ITM-2016 Information evening a success

The first Information Forum for Illawarra’s Top Model took place on Tuesday 21 June 2016.The evening can only be classed as a resounding success with a greater than expected turnout of new and prospective entrants.

The evening was held to help new and prospective entrants in Illawarra’s Top Model understand the journey they are about to embark on, gain ideas and insights into the competition and how to fundraise as well as get support to enter if they needed it.

We are extremely grateful to Rob Spagoni from Centro CBD for opening up his Function Centre for the night and personally attending the bar for us, to Josh Brightman Photography for the amazing photographs for the evening and to Wollongong central for the $200 Shopping Voucher they donated for the evening’s new entrants draw.

The evening included a presentation from several of last years winners and finalists as well as some runway modelling, showing off the skills from last years entrants and this year’s entrants. It was great to see how well the entrants did after just a few coaching sessions.

The presentations for the evening covered a range of topics from ‘how to fundraise’ through to the amazing experiences and relationships entrants will build through the duration of the competition.

All new entrants are invited to Wednesday night coaching sessions at Novotel Northbeach from 6:30pm-8pm for information regarding ITM 2016.

We’re very excited to announce we already have 40 entrants registered and raising fund for the worthy cause of supporting Highlights on Mental Health, but there’s room for more!

Meet the first Illawarra Top Model entrants for 2016

Illawarra's Top Model Presented by Highlights on Mental Health

The search is on for Illawarra’s Top Model for 2016 and we already have our first entrants for the 2016 Highlights on Mental Mental Health fundraising initiative.

Ashleigh Doherty, of Wollongong, Chloe Ryan, of Windang, and Olivia Strumfin, of Dapto, are the first three entrants who got a taste of what’s come over the next few months last weekend.

Find out what they got up to and meet the girls.

Special Information Forum & Opportunity to Register


7pm June 21 Centro CBD Events Wollongong

Supporting Mental Health in the Illawarra

All registrations at this event will go into the Draw

for a $200 shopping Voucher from Wollongong Central

Get the Heads Up on How to Enter

Find out about the Great ITM Categories 2016

Hear how YOU can Benefit from this Experience

& The 2016 Highlights Awards

& The Importance of Community Fundraising

Guest Speaker: Dan Hunt

Community Partnerships Ambassador for the Dragons

~ Your Fundraising Journey will Include ~

Building Confidence

Great Fundraising Tips

Engaging with Community

Social Interaction and Making Friends

Personal Development & Building Self Worth

Walking with Style…Posture, Poise and Grace

Runway Technique – Coaching

The Power of Presentation

Styling & Personal Image

Meet our first 2016 entrants and see their progress

Meet 2015 Winners

Talk to the Mums and Dads of the 2015 ITM Entrants

2016 Line up of categories & Prizes to be announced