Work it, Girl! Ford Model Aspirants Clatter Down Midtown Catwalk

“Maybe you’re born with it, maybe it’s Maybelline; in my case, it’s Maybelline!” fashion muse Andre J told the crowd at Ford Models’ “Supermodel of the World” contest, at Terminal 5 on Eleventh Avenue in midtown on Wed., Jan. 16.

Andre, playing emcee for the night, was just about to announce the winners of the year-long contest that brought young women from all over the world to New York to compete for contracts of up to $250,000 with the venerable 62-year-old agency.

Founders Jerry and Eileen Ford sat prominently in the first row, and at the other end of the runway, was All My Children star Level Rambin holding hands with former cast-mate Aiden Turner.

“I have so much advice for these models, especially the winner tonight: to just really be professional, be reliable, save your money and just have fun!” said model Tomiko Fraser, for 8 years has been one of the faces of Maybelline, a sponsor of the event. “But really, professionalism is going to keep you working for a very long time.”

Though Fraser felt the bony contestants did well, there were a series of awkward moments on the catwalk—sort of like a live performance of America’s Next Top Model–when 30 odd terrified young ladies strutted in neon-colored ensembles provided by Westfield and shoes that seemed just a bit too big for their skinny little feet.

The event was a kind of flaccid pre-game for the big tent shows, which are scheduled for the first week in February at Bryant Park.

After a foul-up in the DJ booth, Andre J attempted to hype up the bored audience by providing some comic relief. “Do you know what it means to get robbed after the show?” he asked Seung-hyun Kang of Korea, who won the largest contract. “Um, I’m sorry?” she said, in halting English.