UPDATE: Grazia Daily has spoken to Storm Model Agency about Roland-gate. Here's what they said...
'We’re thrilled that this year’s event has captured the public’s imagination. Make Me The Next Model 2011 has become the model competition to enter. Entries are up by 1000% on last year, and there are some great faces to watch out for. We would encourage everybody interested in modelling to send in their pictures. Our expert judging panel are looking forward to meeting the 250 finalists at our boot camps, and to choosing the top 50 at our grand final in London on the 30th July.'
Grazia Daily finds itself in something of a conundrum this morning. News reaches us that ladsy internet naughtiness sites such as The Poke and Reddit have been publishing stories suggesting that their readers vote for one particular entrant in the Make Me the Next Model 2011 online contest - the high street giant's recently-launched beauty talent search.
That entrant is "Roland, from Belfast" a young male with a shaved head. Naturellement, the sites' readers were delighted to oblige, and so, as of yesterday, Roland was the No.1 most voted for "future face of Next" on the label's site.
On the one hand, as fans (and purveyors) of web mischief, Grazia Daily is somewhat enchanted by this development. But on the other hand, as you can see in our recent issues of the magazine, we have been excitedly championing this opportunity to find a new talent in the modelling world (the winner gets a contract with top agency Storm and a £2000 shopping spree) and we suspect that 24 year old Roland probably isn't it, although his natural beauty certainly is fresh and very striking.
So it is with a slightly heavy heart that we ask fashion fans everywhere to redress the balance on Next's website and help the fashion label promote some genuine future talent for the industry.