Live tonight from The Star, Sydney, in front of thousands of passionate fans, stunning sixteen-year-old Melbourne high school student Melissa Juratowitch was crowned the winner of season eight of the FOX8 blockbuster hit reality series Australia’s Next Top Model.

The sixteen-year-old beauty fought off fierce competition from fellow final three finalists Shanali Martin (16) and Nyadak ‘Duckie’ Thot (17) in a spectacular live final that featured performances by UK chart-toppers Rudimental, Cirque du Soleil and local pop diva Ricki-Lee.

2013 winner Melissa Juratowitch said: “Auditioning for the show was not something I had planned to do this year, it wasn’t even on my radar. The whole experience has taken me by complete surprise and I intend to make the most of this amazing opportunity. I’m still finishing my final year at high school and once that is completed I will pursue my dream as a professional model. I’m so grateful to everyone who has voted for me tonight and I will do my best to make you proud.”

This season has been hailed as the most unique and diverse group of finalists the show has ever produced, and the eighth season has broken rating records with over 400,000 viewers tuning into FOX8 each week to watch the series hosted by Jennifer Hawkins.

Hawkins said: “Melissa is such a stunner. She has such a modern, unique look that I think will translate on the international runways as well as in editorial.

“I remember the very first photo shoot from episode one where she blew us all away, but really, she never stopped impressing us! Every week she has produced shots that we simply could not ignore and neither could the rest of Australia. What an amazing model we’ve found.”

Melissa will feature on the cover of the November issue of Harper’s Bazaar, on stands Monday, October 7. Harper’s Bazaar Editor, Kellie Hush said: “The three finalists were all absolutely gorgeous and have a great career ahead of them. Melissa, however, was a stand out for us on the cover shoot day. We had more than one cover option and are thrilled be the first magazine to have Melissa as a cover star.”

In a first for Australia’s Next Top Model, Melissa has secured a worldwide contract with international agency IMG Models.

Australia’s Next Top Model is produced by Shine Australia, exclusively for FOX8.