TWO young modelling hopefuls got their first taste of the limelight after being voted the Face Of Essex. 

Kim Stoker, 20, and Shaun Hazelwood, 24, were two of nearly 200 contestants who sent their picture to the Gazette for the chance to win a contract with a casting agency. 

After entries were whittled down to a final 30, the public picked their two winners on Tuesday.

Former Stanway School pupil Kim is more used to walkies than the catwalk - working as a doggy day care assistant at Woofs n Wiggles, in Gosbecks Road.

She got more than 100 votes to take the top spot.

She said: "It's a little bit different to my everyday job - it's nice to get glammed up for a change.

"Normally I've got bruises all over me from the dogs, it's not very glamorous.

"I just entered as a bit of fun and was so taken aback when I got the call.

"I've always wanted to do some modelling but have never had the confidence - this is a boost for me."

Sales and marketing executive Shaun, 24, got nearly 70 votes to win.

The former St Benedict's School pupil, of Peppercorn Close, said: "I was at work when I got the call and everyone was there watching.

"The competition had been going round Facebook all weekend and people were saying 'you'll get a call today'.

"If anything I'd like to do some TV work - I've never done anything like this before. It's exciting."

Both winners were signed to PA Model Agency, run by Pam Boon, who picked some of the 30 finalists.

She said: "All of the entries were so good and so different. 

"Shaun has got a cheeky look about him and Kim is gorgeous - they both seem very down to earth and we'll be putting them forward for commercials, film extra work, catwalk and general modelling."

As a treat, the pair have also won a three-course meal with a bottle of wine, and an overnight stay with breakfast at the Rivenhall Hotel, who sponsored the competition.

Julie Beaumont, PA to the director of the hotel, said: "We're really happy for the two winners and look forward to them coming to stay for a relaxed weekend away with their loved one."