The search for the 2019 #FaceFashionofEyewear has come to a close. The winner of the first ever eyewear model search by Dynamic Vision Optometrists is 24-year-old Gabriella Ashley Pillay from Geluksdal in Brakpan, Gauteng. The competition, which ran from October 2018 to February 2019, sought to unearth an authentic South African personality with a flair for fashion, a strong social media presence and a face fit for modelling top international eyewear brands to South Africans.
“We are blown away by the number of entries received in our first #FaceofFashionEyewear competition. The calibre of entries was also extremely high and it was a tremendous challenge to filter them all and whittle down to the top ten. We would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every contestant for their wonderful entries.
“Gabriella Ashley Pillay was a clear winner, but the places after that were very close, so close in fact that we offered a prize to our fourth-placed contestant. In second place is the lovely Gcina Mnisi-Ndhlovu, in third place is Gela Le Roux, and in a very close fourth place is the beautiful Kayla Ferreira,” says Ruahan Naude, CEO at Dynamic Vision.
The judging was based on three criteria, namely public votes, online presence and social influence, and a panel of judges that evaluated look, style and suitability. Over 500 entries were received and the judges had the tough task whittling them down to 40 semi-finalists. At this stage, the judges started to look at the number of votes each semi-finalist had received, as well as the way in which they had garnered the votes. The judges looked at the use of the #FaceofFashionEyewear hashtags and Dynamic Vision tags on social media. Contestants were judged on how they used social media to promote themselves and influence votes. From there entries were narrowed down to top ten who all deserved to be there. At that stage, the judges looked at the quality and relevance of content.
Pillay wins an exciting prize package worth over R95 000. It includes fashion sunglasses from Jimmy Choo, Guess and Carrera; fashion eyewear with Blue Light Protection from SEIKO; two fashion eyewear photo shoots worth R5000 each, and 5 Nights for 2 People at the Uroa Bay Beach Resort in Zanzibar. Mnisi-Ndhlovu won herself fashion sunglasses from Marc Jacobs, Carrera and Guess; fashion eyewear with Blue Light Protection from SEIKO; one fashion eyewear photo shoot worth R4000, and a 2-day holiday for two at Becks Safari Camp, Karongwe valued at R50 000. Le Roux won fashion sunglasses from Kate Spade, Carrera and Guess; fashion eyewear with Blue Light Protection from SEIKO; one fashion eyewear photo shoot worth R3000 and a 2-day holiday for two at Klaserie Drift Safari Camp valued at R15 000.
Commenting on her #FaceofFashionEyewear journey, Pillay says: “I entered #FaceofFashionEyewear model search competition because I have first-hand experience of the importance of one’s vision, eyes and getting eye care in general. As a young girl, I witnessed the pain my late mother went through from complaining about how painful her eyes were, as well as the headaches that came along with the struggle, to a point where she eventually lost her vision in one eye. That obviously put more strain on the other eye and later led to blurred vision. I remember reading the newspaper one day and came across an article of an optician in Brakpan that helps the needy with affordable eye care. I showed my mother the article and without any hesitation, we called and booked the next available appointment with the optician. A week later she got her eyes tested and chose a beautiful frame for her.
“I’ve never seen my mother so happy. It was overwhelming because completely losing her vision was one of our biggest fears. Our eyes play an important role. I saw the competition on Instagram and thought let me give it a try. Firstly, I love eyewear, I love fashion and I love modelling. Because Dynamic Vision is an Optometrist group it reminded me of late my mother. It also gave me the opportunity to educate my fellow social media friends and make them aware of the importance of keeping your eyes healthy. I gained more knowledge along the journey. Once again Thank you for this wonderful opportunity I’ll be forever grateful.”
Buoyed by the overwhelming response to the competition, Naude says Dynamic Vision will stage #FaceofFashionEyewear again in 2020. To help future entrants, Dynamic Vision has teamed up with Wasabi Foto and Safilo SA to offer eyewear test shoots to modelling hopefuls throughout the year.
“Send a recent photo or two to email@example.com as well as a brief bio about yourself and your contact details. All entries will be considered, but preference will be given to entrants who we think have what it takes to be the #FaceofFashionEyewear. Please note at this stage test shoots are held in Johannesburg, as that is where we are based, so in order to qualify you must be able to get yourself to the test shoot,” he explains.
Naude concludes: “Well done to everyone who were part of this year’s competition and congratulations to our winners.”