Harlan Widen.

Harlan Widen.

A model citizen take to the big city in Surrey

A former Smithereen who moved on up to the big city for new opportunities can now boast he is among the best looking people in Surrey.

A former Smithereen who moved on up to the big city for new opportunities can now boast he is among the best looking people in Surrey.

Harlan Widen, 19, and a graduate of Smithers Secondary School, was one of the top four winners in a modeling competition to be the face of Central City, a major shopping centre in Surrey.

“I was one of the four winners,” said Harlan. “It started off with about 500 people.”

The semi-finals took place in September and eventually contestants were whittled down to 12.

Harlan was one of the three winners who took a $300 prize, along with a year-long modeling contract with the centre.  The grand prize winner took $1,000, and the same contract.

He said he’s been doing photo shoots for the centre’s various seasonal promotions, such as Easter and Christmas.

Widen said he’s not sure exactly where he hopes his career will take him — he has ambitions on more modeling and acting — but the move to the big city is helping him in that career.

“That’s pretty much why I moved here, film and modelling and acting,” he said.

The modeling industry is not very forgiving, he said, but this particular competition wasn’t so cutthroat.

His parents, meanwhile, are ecstatic over his win.

Lori-Ann Widen, and Harlan’s father Emil, say that Harlan has been working very hard and say he’s been following a stringent diet to keep his career on track.

Lori-Ann said Harlan graduated as an honours student at Smithers Secondary in June 2010.

The Central City competition hit a rough patch in September when a competition front runner, Maple Batalia, was killed. The contest finale was meant to be in October but was postponed to this past January.

Harlan said many of the other contestants felt apprehensive about going forward in the competition but in the end the contest raised thousands of dollars for a bursary in Batalia’s name that her parents established.