A model couple have won first prize in an national competition.

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Talitha Minnis, 20, from Lowestoft, has won the Model of the Year 2012 competition while her boyfriend Joss Mooney, from York, took first place in the men’s category.

Talitha beat off competition from 60 other entrants to take the crown during the final at Epic Studios in Norwich on Saturday. Her prize is a trip to Los Angeles next year, where she will spend a week living with Norwich-born Model of the Year organiser Kerri Parker and sign with her Hollywood modelling and talent agent.

Talitha said: “It is amazing to have won but it still hasn’t really sunk in yet. I am excited to go to Hollywood. Kerri will be taking me to red carpet events and I will be signing with an acting agent who will help me to get acting jobs.”

Talitha and Joss met a year ago during a night out in Manchester. Talitha said she encouraged her boyfriend to take part in the competition.

She added: “I cried when he won. It is an amazing achievement. He didn’t even think he would do that well.”

Talitha has been acting, dancing, modelling and singing since childhood. Her first modelling job was at eight years old. The former Bungay High School student has recently returned from a stint working as an entertainer in Marbella and is currently employed as a sales assistant at Hollister fashion store in Norwich.

The final of the competition was filmed and broadcast all over the globe and judges in the USA tuned in to watch and judge alongside the UK panel.

Other local winners include Leah Fincham, who works at Roccos Bar and Restaurant in Norwich and was first in the teen category, Jessica Wimbledon from Diss, who was a teen runner-up and Jack Godden, from Norwich, who was the male model runner up.

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