Harper's Bazaar to print Kelsey and Amanda covers
Cover girls ... Amanda and Kelsey.
Harper's Bazaar will print magazine covers featuring both Amanda Ware and Kesley Martinovich for its November issue in the wake of last night's Australia's Next Top Model blunder.
The womens magazine had covers of all three finalists of pre-prepared and was ready to go to press with the winner last night before host Sarah Murdoch announced the wrong name on live television. Harper's has since decided to release both version of the magazine.
"We've listened to what our readers want and it's clear that under the circumstances, Kelsey also deserves a cover. Based on this, we've decided to print both covers and let our readers buy their favourite or both," said the magazine's editor Edwina McCann.
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Interestingly, the magazine’s creative director Claudia Navone appeared on last night’s finale and made no bones of the fact she preferred Kelsey’s cover over Amanda’s. While the goal of the show was to find a model who was capable of an international career, Navone said their goal was to sell magazines.
Murdoch told outside chance Kelsey she had won the competition in front of a live television audience on Foxtel channel Fox 8 last night but was forced to interrupt her acceptance speech with the news that she had made a terrible mistake and Amanda had in fact won the public vote. The prize included the coveted Harper's cover, a $25,000 modelling contract, $20,000 cash and a new car.
McCann said the Harper's website had been bombarded with angry complaints from viewers withing minutes of Murdoch's gaffe, demanding that Kelsey's cover see the light of day.
McCann said she had been so impressed with the way the young Sydneysider took the bad news, she was convinced to go ahead with the suggestion.
"I couldn't have handled myself as well as she did in that situation, I would have been in the foetal position," McCann told Fairfax.
"I thought 'Well, she's got what it takes to handle the pressure of this industry.'
"It was the decent thing to do. She deserves a cover."
The magazine was poised to go to press last night as the wrong result was announced and the wash up has created a logistical nightmare for publishers.
McCann said she was sat in the audience at the live show when all hell broke loose.
"After Kelsey's acceptance speech we were getting up to leave when the correction was made. We were literally ready to press the button to send it (the Kelsey cover to the printers)
"The minute it happened I was obviously horrified."
Instead, the dual covers went to press this morning, but McCann said deciding where to send which covers had been a nightmare. The magazine has opted to do a 50-50 print run, she said.
"Do we send more to Queensland for Amanda? Is there going to be a backlash? It's all a bit crazy.
"The whole thing has been shock after shock."
The show is now in its sixth season with two finalists historically being chosen by a panel of industry judges.
But in a first for the program, Fox 8 announced the winner would be chosen by public vote. McCann said producers also decided towards the end of the series that the panel couldn't reach agreement on a final two and would instead let a third contestant through to the live finale.
"It was sprung on us at the Harper's elimination episode," McCann said of the changes.
"What makes good television doesn't necessarily sell good magazines.
"It's a business...a big global masthead. We've tried to make these sorts of decisions (related to Top Model) with our commercial hats on."
But despite the drama, McCann said she was "proud" to have both young women feature on the cover of Harper's Bazaar and believed both have big futures ahead of them.
"I guess it shows you how cut-throat and tough this industry is. It is just the beginning for them. I'd love to say that [after what happened] it will get easier but it won't. Disappointment is a big part of what models have to learn to deal with."
In addition to the Harper's cover, Kelsey has also been given $25,000 from Foxtel as a consolation and will be flown to New York free of charge.
A visibly horrified Murdoch said she felt sick before having to tell a celebrating Kelsey that in fact she had actually lost.
She blamed the wrong name being fed to her through an ear piece.
"Tonight we saw the perils of live TV," Foxtel spokesman Jamie Campbell said in a statement last night.
"At the time of the result announcement there was a miscommunication between the broadcast truck and the stage.
"Sarah handled what was a difficult situation with utmost professionalism and grace. Amanda and Kelsey were neck and neck in the voting all night.
"We apologise to Kelsey for the error."
The mistake has made headlines around the world with some viewers openly wondering whether the incident was a deliberate stunt.
The show is yet to address the allegation officially, however an industry head connected to the show this morning dismissed the stunt claim as "ridiculous."
Judge Alex Perry has also laughed off the suggestion.
An online clothing company has also been quick to capitalise on the gaffe. Redbubble.com has already released a t-shirt with the words ‘Australia’s Next Top Muddle’ printed on the front.
Spokesperson for the site Adam de la Mare said he had the t-shirt ready to go before midnight last night after he saw the buzz on Twitter.
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