A former insurance adviser called ‘freckle face’ and ‘ginger nut’ at school has been crowned Britain And Ireland’s Next Top Model.
Jade Thompson, 20, from Stoke-on-Trent, was ridiculed by other school pupils because of her distinctive looks.
But she has now secured a contract with agency Models 1, and a deal to grace four covers of Company magazine.
Jade, who beat thousands of other hopefuls on the Sky Living HD show, said she “never imagined” getting so far in the modelling competition and that jibes had affected her confidence.
She said: “At school I got called things like ‘freckle face’ and ‘ginger nut’. It became really hurtful … I started to wish I’d never had freckles.
“People would even stop and stare at me in the street. But after leaving school, I started to like having ginger hair and freckles.”
She said: “It was quite refreshing that the make-up artist (on the programme) liked my freckles and wanted to keep them on show.”
Jade said it made her angry that people with ginger hair get a hard time, saying: “It’s just another hair colour after all and I don’t understand why it’s a big deal.”
She beat runner-up Juste Juozapaityte, 20, from London, in a catwalk show final, judged by Australian supermodel Elle Macpherson and fashion designer Julien Macdonald among others.
Jade, who has posed in underwater and nude shots for the Sky show, was spotted by scouts for the programme at the Britain’s Next Top Model Live event last year.
Elle said that Jade’s distinctive look was to her advantage. “When we met Jade, she said we wouldn’t meet anyone like her and she was right,” she said.