25-year-old openly gay model Nanna Grundfeldt has taken home the title of Finland’s next top model on the second season of The Search for Finland’s Top Model (Suomen huippumalli), the Finnish version of America’s Next Top Model.
Nanna is the first out lesbian model to win one of the over 30 versions of America’s Next Top Model around the world (including the original U.S. version, which has never been won by an out lesbian).
The Search for Finland’s Top Model follows the same basic format as the American reality competition, but with more emphasis on photo shoots than runway competitions. The second season began on April 13 with 11 contestants, who were slowly whittled down to three for the finale, which aired last night in Finland.
Finalists Riina, Anna-Kaisa, and Nanna
At the beginning of the finale, the finalists were asked to do a photo shoot wearing their own clothes. Nanna wasn’t the photographer’s favorite, but still did well.
Throughout the episode, it was clear that all three finalists were nervous about the competition. Nanna indicated that she didn’t believe she would win, but she wanted to do everything she could to try. She shared a heartbreaking story about how her mom died of cancer, and how she wanted to stay positive and never give up.
The second shoot was for Cosmopolitan magazine, and the finalists were glammed up for this one. The photographer commented on Nanna’s awkward body movement — a persistent criticism of her throughout the competition — but her photo came out great.
At the judging, Nanna was praised for her personality and improvement during the whole competition, but the judges were still concerned about her body movement and difficulty walking in heels.
All three women were portrayed as possible winners as the judges deliberated, but to her surprise and delight, Nanna was ultimately crowned the winner.
Nanna’s win wasn’t a big surprise to many Finns, however, because the winner of the competition was leaked on Sunday by bottled water company BonAqua, which accidentally put up 35 billboard ads featuring Nanna with the phrase “Bon Aqua congratulates Finland’s next top model” a day early.
A BonAqua billboard ad posted on Sunday
By the time the company realized its error, however, it was too late — Finnish news outlets had already widely reported BonAqua’s mistake.