Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

March 29, 2008

Holly stays to the end of ‘Supermodel’ competition, while staying true to her Appalachian roots

BLUEFIELD — She’s climbed from the Appalachian Mountains to the heights of the fashion industry. Now, a Southwest, Va., woman may rise to an even greater challenge and claim the title of “supermodel.”

Holly Kiser, 21, of Coeburn, Va., is the last woman standing on Bravo TV’s reality show, “Make Me a Supermodel.” And, in the season finale this Thursday, the Dickenson County native will compete against three men for the top prize of $100,000, a modeling contract and a pictorial spread in GQ magazine.

When the show premiered Jan. 10, Kiser was one of 14 male and female models chosen to share a loft in New York and compete in weekly challenges designed to test their modeling potential.

“Going into this week I feel at peace,” Kiser said, in an e-mail interview arranged through Bravo. (She and the other finalists remain sequestered in New York.) “I have done all I can do, it is in God’s hands now. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason — that is what keeps me going. Whatever happens, I know it is for the best.”

Throughout the course of the show, Kiser has worked to remain true to her traditional religious upbringing. This raised a challenge in a show that aired Jan. 24, during which she had to pose in provocative photos with a fellow contestant. Kiser — who disclosed that she and her fiancee are waiting until marriage before becoming intimate — was noticeably uncomfortable during the photo shoot, and it resulted in her being placed in the “bottom three” for potential elimination.

Kiser prevailed, but said the threat of elimination was the worst moment of the show for her.

However it was a segment on this episode that made her mother, Sharon Kiser, also of Coeburn, most proud of her daughter.

“I was probably most proud of Holly when she stated that she and Ray (Holly’s fiancee) were waiting ’til marriage,” Sharon Kiser said. “I thought that was a bold statement to make on national TV. I hope it gave other people the courage to stick to their convictions.”

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