Chapter 66 - Champion

Everybody discovered the two extra men sitting in the judging panel. The first was a rather round, middle-aged man. The other was a tall young man, standing straight as a rod.

The job of introducing the honoured guests and the judging panel to the contestants was once again given to the host, Zhuo Yiyan. Though, of course, the most important thing was to introduce them to the audience. The other judges that had participated in the opening show weren’t mentioned. The middle-aged man was President Nie, who owned a potato chip company. The young man beside him was even more powerful. He was a business partner of the show and the CEO of the video sharing website that hosted the show. Also, he managed Entertainment International, a media and entertainment company. His name was Li Yu.

First, President Nie announced the contestant who’d won the ten bonus points; it was the beautiful and sweet looking Luo Yi. Ten points didn't seem like a lot, but at this crucial moment, even one extra point was important.

Next were the highlights.

According to the marking norm, 100 points would be the overall score from the magazine cover and the ending fashion show. The contestants who’d won the weekly challenges would also be awarded 5 points for each immunity they had. The one with the best ad would win another ten points, and the final ten points depended on the voted popularity charts. The top three would be crowned from their final scores.

The judging panel gave their marks on the fashion show and the magazine cover. Xiao Yang got 95 points, Luo Yi 90 points, and Sheng Jiaoyang 97 points. Before, in the weekly competitions, Luo Yi got two immunities, Xiao Yang also had two immunities, and Sheng Jiaoyang had three. Luo Yi's commercial got her an additional ten points. Thus, the scores were currently: Luo Yi with 110, Xiao Yang with 105, and Sheng Jiaoyang with 112.

The difference between their scores wasn’t much. Everything now depended on the popularity charts.

At this moment, the mood turned particularly tense. Whoever had the highest popularity would be the champion.

“President Li, please!” Zhuo Yiyan made a please gesture towards Li Yu.

Li Yu stood up and said, “According to the popularity charts, first place belongs to…"

His gaze flickered between the three contestants before ultimately settling on Sheng Jiaoyang. "Xu Jiaojiao!"

"Wow~ As expected, Jiaojiao won!" In the back row, Wang Wei was already jumping with excitement.

"The rankings are clear. The champion is Xu Jiaojiao, the runner up is Luo Yi, and the third place winner is Xiao Yang. Congratulations to you three for becoming this year's top three National Supermodel!"

"Congratulations!"

The surrounding people all gave their congratulations; some genuine and others fake. Sheng Jiaoyang shared a glance with Lina, a smile only they could understand in her eyes.

Li Yu narrowed his eyes, observing the pair’s interaction. Before Xu Jiaojiao joined the competition, she was just an ordinary student. But now, not only had she transformed, she’d even become good friends with Lina. It wasn’t easy for such a big change to happen.

Although the difference between the final contestants' marks was tiny, no matter if it was the composite scores or the popularity charts, Xu Jiaojiao's marks were the highest out of both.

Li Yu sneered at himself for thinking too much. She had nothing to do with him and Entertainment International was doing very well. There were many new stars about to make their debut. Besides, he doubted that this champion of a modelling contest could be anything but a small internet celebrity.

Very soon, the contestants returned backstage to change. Tonight, the producers would be hosting a celebration feast at the neighbouring hotel, and all the honoured guests, sponsors, and friendly reporters were invited.

The production crew had already prepared evening dresses for them to wear. After changing into formal wear, their makeup was redone.

Many people watched them as they entered the celebration feast.

Lina's face was cold as she listened to the others talk. Her gaze fell on the three walking in and she released a giggle, drawing the attention of a middle-aged man in front of her.

Lina uttered a goodbye as she strode past them with her glass. Along the way, she grabbed a glass of fruit juice and walked towards Sheng Jiaoyang.

"Why did you decide to wear this kind of princess dress? It's not your usual style,” Lina toasted with Sheng Jiaoyang as she asked with a smile.

Sheng Jiaoyang's face momentarily twisted with conflicting emotions. She hadn’t wanted to wear it, but who knew what the stylists in the show were thinking. The other two got simple, slim-fitting dresses, while she was given a poofy princess type gown. She wanted to change it, but the stylists hadn't prepared another outfit.

Luo Yi and Xiao Yang, who came with Sheng Jiaoyang, glanced at her in envy as Lina personally took the initiative to approach her. They cleverly walked away, knowing it would only be awkward if they stayed there.

"Haha, you're actually pretty cute wearing that sort of princess dress." Lina found it hilarious.

Sheng Jiaoyang gloomily took a sip of her drink before looking down to see it was fruit punch. She raised an eyebrow at Lina. "Why did you give me fruit juice? My body's not as fragile as before."

"But, you're still a minor right now!"

Sheng Jiaoyang was speechless.

Sheng Jiaoyang changed the topic helplessly. "How's the company? Is that issue from earlier already fixed?"

"Don't worry, everything's stable now. I'm preparing to stay here for the next few days, can you shelter me?" Lina's gaze was filled with expectation.

"Of course, you can stay for as long as you want." Sheng Jiaoyang smiled as she nodded. "But, let me say this first. I'm just living in a very ordinary neighbourhood right now. It’s enough to fend against thieves, but not paparazzi."

"That's fine." Lina also grinned.

"Miss Xu, congratulations on becoming the champion." Suddenly, a voice interrupted them.

Sheng Jiaoyang's smile disappeared as she silently turned to face the speaker.

A big smile was pasted on Tan Jie's face as he looked at Lina and extended his hand. "Hello, Miss Lina. My name is Tan Jie, a gold medal manager from Supermodel Management."

Lina acted the same as Sheng Jiaoyang and completely ignored Tan Jie's outstretched hand.

"Do you need something?" Lina's expression was cold.

Tan Jie's heart was filled with hate, but he still had to rub his face against the other's cold butt and continued to flatter them. "I just wanted to ask Miss Xu if she could reconsider signing under our company?"

"No." Sheng Jiaoyang gestured at Lina before walking away.

Lina understood and didn't say anything more to Tan Jie. Instead, she turned around and followed Sheng Jiaoyang.

Tan Jie really wanted to throw his cup in anger. _Those bi_ches!*

After walking away, Lina said, "Why don't you sign with my studio? Then, in the future, you can use it as an excuse to leave the country."

Sheng Jiaoyang pondered for a moment and thought it was a good idea. She would no longer have people constantly following her around and badgering her if she did that. In any case, she wasn't planning to sign with a company anyways. So what if you can get resources? Signing under a company was the same as selling herself to other people, blindly becoming another's money making puppet for nothing.

"Once we return, I'll ask my assistant to prepare a contract using mine as a template," Lina said.

Sheng Jiaoyang listened and smiled. "I bet your staff will think that you've lost your mind."

"Who cares about what they think!"

In another spot in the hall, Li Yu picked up an international call.

“Boss?”

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Yuna's Thoughts

TL: Kiki | Editor: Purpledragon | TLC: Grace