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A dancer and model is among the finalists of a prestigious UK-wide competition.
Antonia Di Carlo (35), from Nairn, made the shortlist for the modelling competition, Top Model UK, in London later this year.
Candidates are also involved in volunteering with the Top Model Foundation and she has recently visited a school for visually impaired children in Edinburgh.
On being a finalist in the competition, she said: “It feels incredible! It’s always been a life-long dream. I used to take photos of myself as a little girl in my room, I experimented with make-up since I was 10 and I always practised pouting – even at that age!
“It means the world as I’ve always dreamt of doing it! It’s funny because as a dancer I always dreamt of doing the things I’ve accomplished and it’s surreal to think back on all the places and people I’ve had the opportunity to dance with. Now I want to do that through modelling too.”
Top Model UK finalists gain first-hand experience of the industry as well as help raising vital funds for children in need.
Ms Di Carlo, who has Italian roots, moved to Glasgow aged 16 to study dance before living in Manchester, Liverpool and London.
“I trained in ballet, jazz, contemporary, contact improvisation, and worked in commercial, hip-hop, heels and dance hall my whole adult life,” she said.
“After a year in London, I applied for work in Ibiza, I became a resident dancer for three seasons in a row up until 2012, when I signed a contract to work in Bollywood and spent a year in India!”
After coming back home for a short period, she took on performing jobs in California, Poland, Australia and Thailand, where she worked for three years performing and modelling.
Recently, she also placed fifth – out of 12,000 applicants – for Playboy Model Search 2022.
“I love to play different characters, it’s like acting,” she said, talking about her career as a model. “I always thought I wanted to be an actress even before I knew I could take on dancing as a professional career.
“I love to play – and I also love inspiring others to play and keep the inner child alive, follow your dreams because I don’t fit into societal norms and it’s OK not to.”
Ms Di Carlo is now back in the Highlands, where she has been teaching musical theatre classes at Eden Court for 10 to 16 year olds and also teaches regular classes in the city centre.
She has also recently been granted a new space for her dance classes at Telford Retail Park in Inverness. The space is managed by charity Outer Spaces, which uses vacant buildings as temporary studio and project spaces to promote community-led projects.
An open day for the new studio will take place on April 2.
“It is a dream to have a space as a creative artist,” she said. “Being able to facilitate dance to the community is where my passions lie.
“Not only will it allow us the space to develop our skills for creation in an environment that I am so grateful for, I will be in a position to share my experience with like-minded artists such as aspiring film-makers, photographers, music producers and of course the wonderful local dance talent in the Highlands.”
Those interested in her dance classes can contact 07563 804572.