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Cover Girl 2016: Meet our four fab finalists

By Sara Lyness

Published 24/02/2016

Sunday Life Cover Girl finalists (L-R) Gabriella Wellard, Emma Leahy, Olivia Szoszkiewicz and Amy Blair. Picture: Mark McCormick/Sunday Life.
Sunday Life Cover Girl finalists (L-R) Gabriella Wellard, Emma Leahy, Olivia Szoszkiewicz and Amy Blair. Picture: Mark McCormick/Sunday Life.
Emma Leahy and Olivia Szoszkiewicz. Picture: Mark McCormick/Sunday Life.
Gabriella Wellard and Amy Blair. Picture: Mark McCormick/Sunday Life.
Sunday Life Covergirl finalists (L-R) Gabriella Wellard, Emma Leahy, Amy Blair and Olivia Szoszkiewicz. Picture: Mark McCormick/Sunday Life.

Our Cover Girl finalists have had their top model makeovers and are catwalk ready.

In last week’s Sunday Life, we revealed our perfect ten – the fabulous fashionistas from across Northern Ireland battling it out for the Cover Girl

competition crown.

Since then, our beauties have received a pampering session courtesy of our beauty partners Jason Shankey Hair Salons and make-up artist to the stars,  Oonagh Boman.

They took part in a glamorous photoshoot led by our top photographer Mark McCormick, modelling the latest fashions from Victoria Square.

Each week, we’ll reveal exclusive pictures and interviews with each finalist before they get the modelling opportunity of a lifetime on March 12 – a spot on the Spring/Summer 2016 Belfast FASHIONWEEK catwalk.

Our expert judges will then have the unenviable task of picking a final three to compete for the prestigious Cover Girl title.

Those final three model hopefuls will then be whisked away for a sun-drenched fashion photoshoot in Alicante courtesy of our travel partners Aer Lingus before the lucky winner is named Cover Girl 2016.


Gabriella Wellard is 22 and from Holywood.

Gabriella said she was more than a little surprised to make the Cover Girl top ten.

“I was actually a bit hungover and making my way through town when I was stopped by the Cover Girl scouts in Victoria Square,” she said.

“I wasn’t looking my best, I had make-up on from the day before so I was a bit shocked to be stopped, but pleased too.”

Gabriella, who works for nightclub dance troupe Fire Angels as well as in a care home, said she’s ready to make the most of the opportunities the Cover Girl contest might offer.

“I’m pretty laid back but obviously it would be amazing to win,” she said.

“I’m chilled out about it but if I could get more modelling work I’d be delighted.”


Emma Leahy is 18 and from Ballynahinch.

Emma was on a shopping trip to buy pens for her A-Level art work when she was spotted by the eagle-eyed Cover Girl scouts.

“I’ve never modelled before, people tell me that I should but I guess I’ve never had the opportunity until now,” she said.

“I’ve had a lot of fun at the shoot so I guess now we’ll just see what comes of it.”

The Down High School pupil thanked her friends and family for their support of her fledgling modelling career.

“To get to the final three would be such an experience,” she said.

“Everyone at home is behind me all the way, so I just hope I can do it now.”


Olivia Szoszkiewicz is 18 and from Warrenpoint.

The A-Level student who is originally from Poland got a shock when she bought last week’s Sunday Life.

“I asked my dad to get the paper, when I opened it and saw my face in the top ten I screamed. I was so surprised and happy,” she said.

“Fashion is something I love so to take part in Belfast Fashionweek is amazing for me.

“This is just a wonderful opportunity to get a start in modelling; it’s very exciting to be a part of something as big as this.”


Amy Blair is 18 and from Dungannon.

The beautician has a family friend to thank for her Cover Girl top ten place.

“He rang my mum and told her to get Sunday Life – he said she had to get me to enter so I did,” she said.

“I still can’t believe I’ve made it this far.

“The photoshoot has been really chilled out and relaxed, just lovely.”

After a taste of the top model lifestyle, Amy said it’s definitely a career she wants to pursue.

“It’s just something that I really enjoy, everything else I’ve tried I just don’t have the drive for.”

“I’d just love to get some modelling work out of this and build a career.

“I can’t wait to walk on the Belfast Fashionweek catwalk – it will be such an adrenaline rush.”

Online Editors

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