leaAspiring French beauty Lea Poupelin brings some ‘ooh la la’ to Flavour. With class and modesty she shone at Café de Paris but still couldn’t believe she made the final seven, yet alone second runner-up of Miss Flavour 2010. Describing Flavour as an amazing opportunity, Lea talks of her passion for commercial modelling, challenges, future hopes and why she would love to write a biography.

What made you decide to take part in the Miss Flavour competition?
To build my modelling career and gain confidence. Everyone said Miss Flavour is a good opportunity and I should give it a try. I wasn’t sure because there are thousands of good-looking girls in London; I didn’t think I would have a chance. I really like Flavour Magazine and wanted to be a part of this experience.

How did you feel on the day?
Excited and happy but at the same time a little scared! There were so many gorgeous contestants, I was wondering what I was doing there.

What do you hope to do as Miss Flavour runner-up?
I hope doors will open for me so I can start a modelling career. I’m so serious about it. I would love to be a commercial cosmetic model for Superdrug, Sleek or MAC. I think my best features are my face and teeth, so why not use them in the industry.

What did you think of Neetu, the winner of Miss Flavour 2010?
I am very happy Neetu won because she was one of the girls I was closest to. I was always next to her in the catwalk rounds, she’s a lovely girl. I would have loved to win, though!

Who inspires you and why?
The model Iman. For me, she is the most beautiful woman in the world. Iman always looks so stunning. I admire her successful career, from modelling to having her own cosmetic business; it is the career I dream of.

Is Miss Flavour the first competition you’ve entered?
The second! When I was 17 I entered Miss France Club in 2007 a pageant back home in France and won!

How will you work with Flavour?
I am hardworking, love a challenge, and always thinking of new ideas, so would love to contribute any chance I’m given. I can work with anyone and love to learn from different people. I would give my all to modelling, whether a casting or photo shoot.

What obstacles have you faced and how did you deal with them?
So many, but the hardest was my mum’s death. I was only 12 and growing up without her has been tough. But I’ve stayed close to my brother and sisters, we make each other strong. I appreciate my life and supporting family so much.

If you could meet anyone in the world what would you say?
Tina Turner, she was my mum’s favourite singer. I would tell Tina how amazing she is and she has been an important part in my family. ‘What’s Love Got to Do with It’ is sentimental and will stay engraved in my head.

What else would you like to do?
Write a biography. I think people would find it interesting and many would relate to my experiences. I hope it would help in some small way. I would write in honour of my mum.

Who is your style icon and why?
Nicole Scherzinger – not just a pretty face and has a whole lot of style!

What are your hobbies?
I sing and dance. I love to read novels. If not, I’m at the computer or watching an American sitcom.

Which movie have you learnt a great life lesson from?
Coyote Ugly. It taught me to value the things in life that sometimes are taken for granted. The characters had to sacrifice to make things happen and it taught me to do the same.

Is there a character you relate to?
Violet Sanford. I came to London to get opportunities, I didn’t have much confidence and just like Violet I stayed strong from the support of family and friends. In my case, my boyfriend Tristan kept me happy and everything worked out. When I look at what I’ve achieved, and the people around me, I smile.

Interview by Melissa Lewars