Meet the new Face of Essex

12:57 03 April 2012

Ruby Cooke - winner of the Face of Essex finals

Ruby Cooke - winner of the Face of Essex finals

Archant

Watch out boys, there’s a new beauty in town, as the Face of Essex was crowned during a glittering ceremony in Romford, last night.

The star-studded audience watched as Ruby Cooke beat 29 rival beauties to take the top spot, in the hotly-contested competition.

Thirty stunning girls took to a catwalk in the Brickyard Bar and grill, in South Street, Romford, to impress.

After months of searching, hundreds of entries, and weeks of shortlisting, the judges took just minutes to decide Ruby has what it takes to be the next Essex It girl, in the contest from the Recorder and Uppercut Hair Group.

The Only Way is Essex (Towie) twins and Essex Fashion Week founders Adam and Simon Ryan, compered, with Adam telling the crowd the girls were being judged on “confidence, personality and looks”.

The judging panel, which included Recorder editor Mark Sweetingham, Uppercut owner Trevor Vale, and more Towie twins Dino and Georgio Geoorgiades, said they were impressed by Ruby’s “looks, style, poise, and personality.”

During the show, Ruby revealed her “guilty pleasure” is boyband One Direction, telling the judges member Harry Styles “likes an older woman”.

She was crowned winner by Britain’s Next Top Model finalist Imogen Leaver, behind second place Chanel Shayler, 22, from Billercay; and third place Georgia Phillips, 20, from Romford.

Shanice Ayliffe, 19, from Rainham, was named the most popular contestant, after taking the highest number of readers’ votes.

Imogen told the Recorder: “I could imagine how nervous the girls were feeling on stage, but it’s all about projecting an air of confidence – it goes a long way.

“The overall standard was great, but there were definitely a few girls who really stood out – the judges had a hard task.”

Mark Sweetingham added: “It might sound clichéd, but choosing the final three was incredibly difficult - there were so many great girls there on the night.”

Simon Ryan said the competition proved Essex, and Havering, was the “place to be”.

He added: “The contest really goes to show how much talent there is in Essex. It’s the place to be and it has the people to be seen with.”

Essex stars, including Harry Derbridge and Ricky Rayment from Towie, and reality girl group Two Shoes, were cheering on the girls from the club’s VIP section.

Harry said: “The girls all seemed really good. They’re doing Essex proud.”

Nearly 500 girls entered the competition which has been running since October.

Ruby will now take home a £2,000 prize pack, which includes a year-long contract with top modelling agency RAGE Models, along with a professional portfolio to launch the winner’s career £400 designer clothes from Choice Design Wear, a year’s free hairdressing at Uppercut, six months’ free membership at Virgin Active Health Club, spa vouchers, VIP tickets to Romford club The Brickyard and a chauffeur-driven limo from LA Stretch Limos on the night.

She will also receive a year membership for the UK’s fastest growing talent and casting company based in Essex, Talent Talks.

Pick up Friday’s Romford Recorder for a double-page spread picture special

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

Mmmm, nothing says Christmas like turkey gel, potato foam and cranberry air, or does it?

Read more

Lady Gaga and Nile Rodgers have been pictured working in the studio together.

Read more

From the Earth’s elliptical orbit to the scheduling of Christmas, the winter solstice is as scientifically complex as it is culturally significant.

Read more

Promoted content

We've got a great selection of Secret Santa presents and stocking fillers for under a tenner...  (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Office Secret Santa: it’s a Christmas ritual that everyone dreads, but no-one wants to seem like a Scrooge by saying no. Never fear, London24 is here to make buying gifts for Dave in Accounts simple and stress-free, with a selection of presents for under a tenner

Money saving Christmas gifts to add to your shopping list!

It’s nearly time to go on the hunt for Christmas presents, stuck on what to get for your nearest and dearest? We’ve picked out a selection of great deals to get you started and to help you save some pennies!

From the Earth’s elliptical orbit to the scheduling of Christmas, the winter solstice is as scientifically complex as it is culturally significant.

The introduction of the Genomic Medicine Centres is seen a a genetic revolution in the NHS, but why?

Ahhh… When did the 1990s become the “good old days”?

After weeks of challenges and cringeworthy boardroom showdowns, Lord Sugar made a decision – and Twitter was watching.

Quirky London