WEARING a black and white Anthea Crawford dress and tangerine custom-made hat, 20-year-old Emily Dibden was crowned the Myer Face of Canberra Racing for 2014.
The statuesque dance teacher and professional model, of Cook, beat 18 other hopefuls for the title and tells “CityNews” the win came as a “complete shock”.“I don’t think I could have been any more surprised than I was, I’m just so grateful – it’s a very special thing,” the former Merici College student says.
Emily says she took “about an hour” to put together her winning look, helped by mother Cathy, who made her hat.
“Every year my mum is very involved in my costumes and outfits, we just love doing it together, it’s such a nice way to bond,” she says.
Emily has a knack for putting together on-trend race wear; last year she won the Melbourne Cup Ladies fashions on the field at Thoroughbred Park.
“That win really gave me the incentive to be more involved in racing, and now to come back and have another amazing opportunity, I’m over the moon,” she says.
“These days the standards in racing fashion are so high and the class that’s coming back into it, it’s just so strong and great to see.”
Emily, who teaches burlesque lessons at Kokoloko dance studios in Phillip, has lived in Canberra most of her life but is extremely well-travelled – recently she returned from a six-month stint in China as a fitness instructor and before that she was a ballet dancer for the Miami City Ballet in the US for one year.
In December, she toured Brazil with Club Med as a Zumba instructor.
“I love dancing, and I’ve been extremely fortunate to travel to some amazing places because of it,” she says.
“Now I do lots of samba and salsa mainly, it’s just so fun.”
Emily currently juggles teaching dance lessons with work at Victoria’s Models, and believes her modelling experience will help with her upcoming duties as “the face” of Canberra Racing – the first of which will be judging the Black Opal fashions on the field in March.
“You gain a lot of confidence through modelling, so I hope I’ll bring a lot of poise to the role,” she says.
“I know I’ll be really busy, but it’s so exciting that I just can’t wait to start.”
Laura Edwards was one of the Face of Racing judges. The others were Kate Goodwin, Erin Barry and Carly Devine.