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Model behaviour... rising stars of the runway with the world at their feet

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Camera confident: The CMPR models strike a pose

Camera confident: The CMPR models strike a pose

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Blonde ambition: Aimee Boyle

Blonde ambition: Aimee Boyle

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Talent Spotter: Cathy Martin

Talent Spotter: Cathy Martin

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Camera confident: The CMPR models strike a pose

It's funny how things turn out.

For years Co Down girl Sheena MacAuley (22) was the smallest in her group of friends. Then one summer she underwent a growth spurt - and by the time she returned to school she was towering over everyone else.

"I was a bit gangly for a while," she laughs.

Before that, her lack of height meant she could never have considered modelling as a career.

But Sheena has gone on to be one of the stars of Belfast Fashionweek. Not only that, but she's been the face of CastleCourt and has done shoots for George at Asda. She has been the face of Ten Square hotel in Belfast and also of the prestigious Lough Erne Resort in Co Fermanagh.

"I grew up in Banbridge, 20 miles south of Belfast, at The Corbet, and I went to primary school in another townland close by called Dechomet," she says.

Sheena went to Our Ladies Grammar in Newry for a year and then completed her schooldays at Banbridge High, before heading to Glasgow University to study business.

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Sheena's dad Diarmaid is in his mid 50s and runs a glazing business in Banbridge, while her mum Helen, also in her mid 50s, is a housewife. But it was through her mum that the doors into modelling began to open.

"When I was 15, I was asked by my mum's friend and her hairdresser Shane Bennett to take part in one of his hair shows at Hillsborough Castle - and then I was scouted there by Cathy Martin," she says.

"When I started I couldn't drive and my mum was a big influence on my career by taking me to assignments. Once I was able to drive, there was a great sense of independence driving around to jobs. That independence helps you to mature a lot and engage with lots of new people and always remain professional."

Sheena admits she wasn't particularly confident growing up and still isn't, when it comes to large group situations, but her confidence has gradually improved over the years.

"The most nerve-racking thing about modelling is always the moment before you walk out onto the catwalk where you think, 'I am going to trip'," she says.

"But one of my favourite moments is also that first step out onto the Belfast Fashionweek catwalk. It's so well organised and it's great, having all the other girls there as well. I think that moment is the best."

Sheena has been seeing her boyfriend Adam Fallis (23), a business student at the University of Dundee, for the last five years and says he is very laid back about her modelling career.

"He always just waves me off to shoots and doesn't really take it under his notice much. I did a fashion show at the University of Glasgow and it was the first time he came to see me and I think he was quite surprised by it all.

"This year he was roped into doing a bridal shoot with me which was very funny to all our friends. I think he secretly likes it.

"Any time I appear in newspapers or magazines, my mum always buys him a copy of the articles or photographs and I know he has my CastleCourt leaflets up in his university room."

Sheena's sister Lisa (27) and brother Daniel (25) are both accountants, but she has taken a different path and is in her final year studying business at Glasgow University.

She is hoping her career will eventually combine fashion and business.

"I was always interested in clothes and fashion. I'd like to go into the fashion industry as a buyer, but I'm finding out very quickly how competitive it is," she says.

"I would eventually like to move to London to where all the action is."

Sheena has met a few celebs along the way, including Alex Zane from Rude Tube on Channel 4, but she still has one major star to cross off her tick list. "I've yet to meet Niall Horan from One Direction so that would be my ultimate goal," she laughs.

Meanwhile, Ellen Lundy (23), from Portadown, has recently picked up on modelling again after going to Leeds University to study.

She is the youngest of three - her sister Anna (30) is a lawyer in London and her brother Michael is studying anthropology in Tokyo.

Her dad Paul (58) is a teacher in senior management and her mum Vivienne (59) is a retired special needs teacher.

"Everyone said since I was a young girl, 'You should be a model, you're so tall', so that gave me the idea of doing it," Ellen says.

"I was asked to do photos from an early age. Then CMPR approached me through Instagram and I went to audition with them, but after that I moved away to Leeds.

"Then when I graduated, I got in touch with Cathy Martin to remind her that I still existed. Since then I've been pretty busy doing modelling work with CMPR - catwalks, photography and so on. I was at Corick House hotel in Tyrone to do shoots for their website and brochures - that was one of my biggest jobs this year.

"I'm always invited to Belfast Fashionweek and I do shoots for DV8."

Ideally, Ellen would like to stay involved with both modelling and film production as her career progresses.

"I want to travel more and raise awareness of different issues. Education in developing countries is more my focus at the minute," she says.

She has already been to Nepal and will soon be heading to Uganda to do a documentary with LRTT, which recruits teachers in the UK and sends them to rural developing regions to train local teachers.

"Their film-making scheme is new, so I jumped on the bandwagon. It was really tough but amazing at the same time. I was both the interviewer and camera operator," she says.

"We had really dire accommodation - just a different way of living - and we were eating rice all the time. It was really challenging but I can laugh about it now.

"I really wasn't anxious. I love travelling so I wasn't scared. I was thrown in at the deep end - I was only worried for about an hour and then that was it, I was over it. But every job I do is so amazing.

"I meet amazing people every time, every photoshoot or fashion job is so much fun and I get to know the models a bit more.

"It's like having a good time with your friends."

Ellen admits she finds Belfast Fashionweek quite nerve-racking.

"All the models are so supportive and they help calm you down. I just try not to think about it until I'm doing it," she says.

And her advice for aspiring models: "Make sure you have a lot of confidence and really work with what you've got - that is about it. You can't do it unless you are super confident."

Aimee Boyle (19) is the youngest of the four and she is all set for the bright lights and big city after growing up in the rural town of Newtownbutler in Co Fermanagh.

She is studying communications management and PR at Ulster University and is the face of Blush Boutique and English designer Kevan Jon. She has had recent interest from international agencies in Milan and was Sunday Life Cover Girl in 2014.

Aimee still lives with her mum, classroom assistant Angela (40), and her brother Ryan (18), who studies business at Magee College in Londonderry.

She pays tribute to her mum, who gave her a lots of lifts to jobs around the country when she was just starting out: "She's always done her best for us - she's great."

When Aimee was 16, she was asked to feature in a lifestyle spread for the Impartial Reporter newspaper in Enniskillen, which included a shoot with photographer John McVitty - and this led on to other things.

"John got me to do some PR pics for Donnelly Brothers (car business) and another photographer saw them on Facebook and asked me to come up to Dungannon - and then Cathy [Martin] saw them," she says.

"It was really random. Down in Fermanagh, you would never really hear of modelling and stuff. I'd never heard of modelling agencies - I'd heard of ACA model agency run by Alison Clarke because of Miss Northern Ireland, but I never thought you could go and do such a thing. I thought it was just for people from the city.

"That seems silly now because I know there are people from all over the province doing modelling."

Aimee is currently the face of Blush Boutique and has also been asked to model for English designer Kevan Jon, who supplies dresses to Blush.

"He asked me over during the summer to do a shoot for him. At the end of January, I am to fly over to Manchester to shoot his autumn/winter 2017 and spring summer 2018 collection. It seems strange talking about 2018 now."

Aimee admits it was hard to stick to her school studies when so many jobs were coming in. She won the Sunday Life Cover Girl competition in 2014, which involved a lot of work.

"There was a four-day shoot in Portugal and I had to take lots of time off school during my A-levels, but they were really nice about it," she says.

"I am at university at the minute, but I am thinking of dropping out because I don't think it's for me. I'm doing communication management and PR."

Aimee admits that when she gets a call from CMPR asking if she is available, she would rather go ahead and do the job.

"I actually have an interest in becoming an air hostess, working somewhere else in the UK and seeing if I could branch out. I'm definitely not a home bird. The more things you do, the more people you meet and the more travelling you do."

Yet she was not always so confident: "When I was flying to Manchester on my own, I was like, 'I am so out of my depth'."

Aimee admits her style has changed since becoming a model. "My style is pretty modern, plain - skinny jeans, knee boots and a coat at the moment. Nothing too out there," she says.

"I learned you could be called last minute for a job, so you have to be ready - no piercings, no false eyelashes, like most girls my age would have. I've learned it's so much better to have plain nails - it's better for clients and then you don't get told off."

Aimee says there is a lot of waiting around behind the scenes at the catwalk shows. "You kind of zone out for a while. Before the people come in, I always try to have a wee practice run with the girls on the catwalk, so you get a feel for the catwalk and the audience and what outfits you are wearing," she says.

Aimee says the biggest star she has met was Louis Walsh, who was at the Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards when she was there as Sunday Life Cover Girl.

"But I am taking everything as it comes at the minute - I don't like to set myself up too high in case of a fall. I've learned that everything that comes is a bonus," she says.

Sarah Kennedy (26), from Portnoo in Donegal, is now modelling part-time here after returning to education with the hope of forging a career in the hospitality industry.

The red-headed Irish beauty placed second in Britain and Ireland's Next Top Model and has recently been scouted by Kate Moss' agency following her participation in the Cirque show in Portrush.

Sarah lives with her dad Michael (75), who is a farmer, her mum Breege (61) and has three siblings - sister Caroline (44), a clerical officer, law student Hugh (24) and Michael (46), who works in the concrete industry.

She says she had never considered modelling when she was a child.

"When I came to my teens, people used to say, 'You should be a model', but I never took it on board," she says.

However, when she was 18, Sarah signed up with an agency in Londonderry, but she now admits it didn't really happen for her, so at the age of 22, she entered the Next Top Model competition.

"I came second in it and that skyrocketed my career. But after two years, I went back to college to get an education and I'm now at the LYIT school of hospitality at Killybegs and working at Solis Lough Eske Castle, which is the only five-star hotel in Donegal," she says.

"But I suppose probably my most exciting time in modelling was when I was in Top Model and Elle Macpherson mentored me on the show for seven weeks. That experience was like nothing else. I was very lucky to get that. The shoots, the challenges and the people I got to work with and meet - that was the highlight for me.

"I also met Dannii Minogue, who was part of the show. Those are the most famous people that I've met and I was lucky enough to work alongside them for seven weeks - that was incredible.

"Elle is such a well-known supermodel and having her critique you and push you drives you to do better - and not everyone gets an opportunity like that. I got a lot of confidence from that.

"Top Model was an incredible experience, but it had definitely a lot of challenges. It has really helped me with my career after it and as long as people want to book me, I am going to continue modelling."

Sarah says when she is preparing for the catwalk, she prefers to keep herself to herself.

"I am happy to get in my zone because the catwalk is my favourite thing to do with modelling. When I step out, I just know I am going to give it my all," she says.

"It's the adrenaline rush you get from that - it's such a high. I relax and enjoy every second."

Sarah says her goal now is to go into general hotel management.

"I love hospitality, I love meeting people. You meet people from all over the world. It's like my catwalk buzz - it's almost the same. That's definitely why I love it," she says.

Sarah moved back to Donegal to live with her parents when she went back into study and is really enjoying it.

"It's nice to be getting spoiled, especially at Christmas," she says.

CMPR Models: Sheena MacAuley, Sarah Kennedy, Ellen Lundy, Aimee Boyle

Styling: Blush Boutique

Make Up: Stevie Lennox

Location: Ritas at The Perch

Photographs: Kevin Scott


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