The annual modeling competition hosted by broadcaster SBS is no longer exclusive to lithe young creatures barely out of their teens. Of the applicants for "Supermodel Contest," the number of applicants in their 30s rose to 112 this year from 17 in 2011.
Fourteen of them passed the first round of screening to compete against 216 contestants in their teens or 20s in the next, preliminary round. Last year, none advanced beyond the preliminary round.
There has been a special contest for married applicants between 20 and 45 since 2008, but in the case of the more widely popular show hosted by the terrestrial TV channel, the ages of models were limited to 16 and 24 before the age limit was lifted last year.
Of the 14 30-somethings, three are men who have worked or are working as models. But the other 11 female contestants have never modeled before.
The qualifications for the contest have changed gradually. Limits on nationality and modeling experiences were lifted in 2004, and on marital status in 2005. "We lifted all the limits last year to mark the 20th anniversary of the contest," a spokesman said. "We got a good response at the time, so we decided to stick to that." Last year's contest, which for the first time had no gender limit, was won by a man.
The preliminary round of the contest will be held in Seoul on July 24 before the final 25 contestants are selected by mid-August.