The 16th International Elite Model Look Contest was held in Nice on September 11, 1999. Vika Sementsova from Ukraine emerged the winner. Such models as Claudia Schiffer, German, Linda Evangelista, Canadian, Naomi Campbell, English, Natalya Semanova, Russian, have worked for the Elite Agency.

In 1996, this glorious assemblage was joined by Diana Kovalchuk, Ukrainian, who won the Elite Model Look Contest then. Now the Agency has signed a $150,000 contract with another Ukrainian, Vika Sementsova.The first Elite Model Look contest was launched by the Elite Agency in 1983. The Agency itself was established in 1971. At present, its headquarters is in New York and has 28 representations at all the continents. In 1979, the Agencyís head, John Casablancas opened 44 schools for models. The Agencyís annual turnover is about one hundred million dollars. It is made of two departments: Celebrite for stars (Brook Shields, Nastasia Kinsky, Cameron Dias) and Developpement et Promotion for aspiring models. This year two Ukrainian girls represented Ukraine at the final round of the Elite Model Look Contest: Vika Sementsova, 14, from the town of Zaporizhzhya, and Katya Karachentseva, 16, from Odesa.
Before going to Nice, they had won the qualifying contest in Ukraine (all of the participants should be 175 cm tall and no younger than 14). Incidentally, Vika failed to get through a previous qualifying round in Ukraine, but was noticed by Omar Harfouch, president of Super Nova Europe Company Ltd., who promoted her and thanks to his efforts, Vika finally got through.76 models from 57 countries gathered in Nice to compete for the Elite Model Look prizes. The jury, headed by the German designer Wofgang Joop, had a hard time choosing the best and as many as four models vied for the top prize in the final round.
Vika Sementsova and Katya Karachentseva at the Andriuivsky Uzviz in Kyiv.

Elite Model Look'99 prize winners with John Casablancas, president of the Elite Agency.
The first place went to Vika, the second to Oleksandra Vukovych, Yugoslavia, and Raika Oliveira, Brazil.Nice Matin newspaper wrote on September 11: ďThe Ukrainian girl enchanted Nice with her beauty. This attractive girl spent the day of September 1 on the beach of Cote d'Azure - back home she would have had to go to school. She says she prefers the career of a model to studies at school. Sheís happy her vacations got extended thanks to her participation in the beauty contest. ĒThe interests of the two Ukrainian girls in Nice were represented by Omar Harfouch, president of the Super Nova Europe Company Ltd, and Valid Harfouch, president of the Super Nova Radio Station. They were organizers of the Elite contest in Ukraine, for which they received an official licence in spring 1997. The winner of the Elite Model Look í98 in Ukraine, Lesya Opryshko, was also among the ten best models in Nice that year.
She signed a 50-thousand dollar contract.Heorhiy-Hryhoriy Pylypenko, a Welcome to Ukraine correspondent, talked to Vika Sementsova, winner of the Elite Model Look í99 in Nice.
Whom of the other contestants did you like best?
: Raika from Brazil. If for me, she would have won. I dream of becoming a supermodel of the Sindy Crawford type. They say there is a resemblance between us.
WU: Cindy is of an age unusual for model, she's 33 and recently, she gave birth to a child. What would you like to do in the future? You know, youth passes so fast.
Vika: Oh well, I hope by the time I'm that age I'll be a mature person. Noe I have my dreams hoping they'll come true. I want to live in New York, work with the best couturiers. Itís one of the reasons Iím studying English so hard. In fact, one of the clauses of the contract is that I must know English.
WU: What language did you talk with other contestants?

Volodymyr Klychko, brothers Harfonch and Xavier Morean, president of the EML World Contest, congradulate the winners of the Elite Model Look'99 Contest.

On the Rhnl beach in Nice.
Vika: There was so little time for socializing. So much work. So much photographs had to be taken of me. Then visits to the museums, boat trips, restaurants. Really, it was so hard, but I did my best to keep going. My self-control impressed the judges, too. I think every contestant had a good chance of winning. But you had to show all kinds of talents to get to the final round. Say, at the African Party contest you had to dance an African dance. Then, at another contest, you had to make an ďoutfitĒ out of a huge T-shirt. I did not participate in the dancing contest though - the music they played was not my style and they did not have what I wanted but it did not prevent me from winning the overall contest.
WU: Were you really happy not having to go to classes at school back home?
Vika: Not really. I did miss my friends in Zaporizhzhya, my classes, particularly those of geography and history. You know, I learnt I had been voted Miss Nice only when I returned to Kyiv. I was really surprised! Remembering the Nice days, I can say that I was so tired all the time! If not for the brothers Harfouch I wouldnít have made it. Iím so grateful to them.
WU: I know now that you want to travel all around the world, that you like being photographed, that it was your first trip abroad. Who got you interested in becoming a model in the first place?
Vika: My elder sister, she lives in Kyiv. My father is a worker, I inherited his character. Heís a tall man, so I inherited this too from him. My mother is an accountant, sheís a very good-looking and good-natured person. So, Iíve inherited something from her, too. I believe I have a strong will power, this is probably my own. I donít think the attractive appearance should be the only thing that a model should have, there must be something else... I feel quite all right on the catwalk. Well, in fact, I feel all right in practically any situation.
WU: We know your measurements: 81-60-86, all in centimetres, of course. Youíre so young, youíll keep growing some more and youíll be taller than 175 cm.
Vika: I hope Iíll be all right in this respect, too.
WU: Could you say a few words about your personal life?
Vika: Oh, thereís nothing to talk about yet. Iím just fourteen. The contract with the Super Nova was signed by my parents. I donít smoke, I donít drink, I like friends who are purposeful and nice to be with. I like reading books, biographies of stars in particular. But now thereís only one thing on my mind: my career of a budding model. In November Iíll go to Tokyo, then Iíll return, celebrate the New Year at home and then Iíll go to New York. I do hope my dreams will come true, and I also hope that my colleagues and my bosses will be nice people.

Vika and Walid Harfonch.

WU: And I hope the Elite Agency has just such people. But are you going to stay in New York for long? Itíll mean that Ukraine is going to lose another of her beauties!
Vika: I donít know yet. But when I come back I want my compatriots to look not the way they are now, I want to see them civil, genial, happy and smiling.
Valid Harfouch: ďSheís got the makings of a star, she looks a professional model, so sure of herself, she feels at ease in public. Vika is punctilious, kind and good-natured into the bargain. We with my brother Omar have put a lot of trust and care into her.Ē

Photos by Erik Brissaud, by courtesy of Super Nova Radio Company