A Slovakian woman who defied racist bullies to land a modelling contract is to be the face of one of Northern Ireland’s biggest fashion events.
Denisa Stanova — who almost quit the province following a racist attack on her home — will front the two-day Magners Light Spring into Summer showcase at St George’s Market in Belfast.
The development comes following an attack on the home of an Eastern European woman in Ballymena this week.
Denisa will not only be the face of the advertising campaign, appearing on billboards and adshels around Belfast, but she will also open the first show tonight.
The 21-year-old’s rise to the top of local modelling was revealed by the Belfast Telegraph in November last year, after she won the Face of Northern Woman magazine.
Denisa moved to Belfast in February 2008 and set up home in the south of the city with her boyfriend and some friends who had also travelled over from Slovakia. However, they were forced to flee their home for a night after a group of thugs smashed their windows with bricks.
The attack was one of a spate on homes belonging to eastern Europeans in May and June of last year. Images of the race attacks were shown around the world and Belfast found itself being labelled as the race hate hotspot of Europe.
Denisa has since moved home several times, but she has now settled down in her new place in south Belfast.
Michelle McTernan, co-director of the event, said she was extremely proud to have booked Denisa.
She revealed: “Since winning ‘The Face of Northern Woman' last November, Denisa has been absolutely inundated with photographic and catwalk modelling through her agency, The Style Academy.
“Denisa is a natural beauty and has everything going for her — looks, posture and, most importantly, great attitude.”
The fashion feast will kick off tonight with the Something Old, Something New show, followed by Deadly Designer tomorrow night.
Showcasing for the first time at Spring Into Summer will be acclaimed designer Vera Wang, who will unveil her latest bridal collection, which is available at Brown Thomas in Dublin.
“When Michelle asked me to be the Face of Spring into Summer I could not believe it”, Denisa admitted.
“I thought it was a joke as there are so many more beautiful girls in Northern Ireland than me, but I am very proud.”
Tickets for each night cost £10 and are available now at Ticketmaster.