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Face of Foothills Winner's Blog

Home at Last

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Finally! After four months abroad, well over fifty hours of traveling, and thousands of sheep later, I am finally back in the Arizona sunshine. Being in New Zealand was an experience I will never forget, but home is where the heart is and I am so happy to be back. As are my friends:



Ready to Return

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Well, here I am, finally on the home stretch—I have less than three weeks left in New Zealand, 20 days to be exact. And to be completely honest, I’m ready for some Arizona sunshine.


Home Away from Home

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Today marks my sixth week in New Zealand and I think I can finally say that I’ve settled in. When I got here, I wanted so badly to fast-forward through the first month—I didn’t want to go through the process of getting accustomed to new things or put in the effort to make friends. I just wanted to wake up one morning and be, I don’t know…content? Comfortable? It’s hard to describe. It’s that feeling you have at home, where everything moves fluidly but you don’t really notice it because it’s just what you’re used to.

 To be completely honest, I’m amazed at how perfectly everything worked out here. On my housing application, I listed Bryant Hall (my dorm) as my absolute last choice. All I can think now is THANK GOD I ended up where I did. I have a wonderful RA, who made settling in a million times easier than it should have been. I’ve found my Kiwi soul mate (no, not a boyfriend). And I’ve met a handful of American kids who I can be myself around—and one Canadian.

 I have to say, getting away from campus, no matter where we go, is always a relief. It reminds me of why I made the crazy decision to come here in the first place. New Zealand is beautiful, exotic, and wonderful, and in a way, the country sort of embodies everything I hope to be one day. I’ve visited Hobbiton, the movie set from Lord of the Rings, hiked the Tongariro crossing with people from all over the world, swum with dolphins in Tauranga… It sounds dreamy, I know. And for the most part, it is. But there’s no escaping the day-to-day struggles and I’ve been working hard to stay strong. Because for every bad day, there’s a handful of good ones.

 In a few weeks, I have 14 days off for “spring” break (it’s actually winter here). Possible destinations include Sydney, Australia and the South Island (I’m on the North Island)—but I’ll keep you posted. 

 Well, that’s all I’ve got for now, although I do have a quick confession to make… I might have brought a copy of the magazine with me. And I might have showed it to a few of my friends. And they might think my life is ridiculously glamorous now. Phew. Thanks AZ Foothills :) 


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Hiking the Tongariro Crossing

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The view from Mt. Maunganui in Tauranga 



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Swimming with dolphins 


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Me at The Shire



A New Place, New Adventures

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After an eight-week long winter break, I can finally say I’m back at school—sort of. I’m writing this from my dorm room at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand. I’m here for to study for a semester, but getting ready to leave made me feel like I was preparing for an extended vacation, rather than a semester of college. Honestly, if you’ve been pining away for a new wardrobe, study abroad. You’ll need loads of clothes and shoes that you could never justify buying for Arizona weather. 

The flight over wasn’t too bad, just thirteen hours from Los Angeles to Auckland, the capital of New Zealand. Thankfully, the 2013 issue of Sports Illustrated Swim just came out and I had Kate Upton to keep me company. It took days for her and the SI crew to get to Antarctica to shoot the cover spread—news that instantly quelled my internal grumblings about long plane trips. Everything went smoothly and before I knew it, my RA was helping me carry my fifty-pound suitcase up to my new dorm room. 

The first day was hard. I successfully held back tears and ignored my homesickness, but they were there, just beneath the surface. I think it’s easy to hold them in when you’re alone because no one’s there to trigger them—case in point: the moment I heard my mom’s voice, I felt myself crack. I’m already facing some challenges: food (trying not to freak out that the only option at dinner was beef lasagna), fitting in with the other kids, adjusting my routine (the gym opens at 5:30 am, thank the Lord)… But it’s been less than two days and everyone keeps reminding me to give myself some time. These four months will (supposedly) be the adventure of a lifetime, or so I’ve heard. Either way, I’m keeping my fingers crossed.



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Comfort food upon arrival     


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Dorm room at Waikato


Emily's Face of Foothills Takeover

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My year has finally begun and it seems like everywhere I look, I see my own face starting right back at me. Even when I go to the grocery store with my mom or out for a quick Starbucks, I run into a friend, acquaintance, or someone I vaguely know who congratulates me on my win and recounts their personal voting tales. I mean, Tucson is small, but not that small. It makes me realize just how many people were rooting for me. 

My grand prize—the photo shoot for the cover of the January 2013 issue and web header—came up fast, just as I was buckling down for finals. I think I actually lugged one of my textbooks with me to the shoot but, alas, homework took a back seat that day. 

Even though my modeling experience is limited, I’ve come to learn that photo shoots aren’t as glamorous as they seem.  Yes, the clothes are expensive and beautiful. Yes, you get to have your hair and makeup done by professionals. And yes, you get to frolic in front of a camera in heels. But modeling and everything that goes on behind the scenes is genuine hard work. By the end of the day, everyone on the set (myself included) was exhausted.

We began at 7:30 am and after bagels and coffee, I was whisked away by the wonderful Diane Aiello for hair and make-up. As you can see from the pictures, she did an amazing job transforming me into what AZ Foothills refers to as a “brunette vixen.” Very flattering but in real life, I’m just a regular 19 year-old who hasn’t the slightest clue how to apply any kind of makeup and wears sweatpants and UGG slippers whenever possible.

We had seven outfits to get through and wasted no time getting started. Diane and I got into a rhythm right off the bat. She would hand me an outfit, usually something wrinkle-prone—the steamer got a lot of use that day. I would scurry off the bathroom to change (after a couple cycles, I ditched the bathroom in favor of changing in the hallway) and before heading outside, Diane strapped me into my heels (no shoes in the house!) Warren, the photographer, made the whole process easy—his directions were clear and I felt comfortable while he snapped away. Unfortunately, we shot outside and in order to make my hair as voluptuous as possible, a fan was blown directly in my face. After about three hours of trying to be sexy through watering eyes and goose bumps, I started to droop. Thank God for lunch breaks. We sat down for pizza but being a health nut, I brown-bagged it: avocado and turkey sandwich and an apple.






The rest of the day went quickly and all of the images turned out beautifully. I have yet to get my hands on a hard copy of the magazine, but I’m sure they will blow my mind yet again when I see them on the glossy pages of AZ Foothills.

Well, time to wrap things up, but before I go, I’d like to impart some of my wisdom on any girl reading this who wants to be a model. My number one piece of advice is to always be respectful and gracious towards the people working on set with you. The photographer, the makeup and hair artists, anyone helping with lighting, with props, with set-up.  Being friendly and saying please and thank-you can go a long way—they are working just as hard (if not harder) than you. And of course, always bring snacks, unless you enjoy passing out.


See you next month! Or get your fix early by following me on Twitter at @EmilyS_Glynn.



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