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SHE’S OUR 2013 STYLE REPORTER: NIQUITA BENTO

Last night we announced our 2013 ELLE Style Reporter in association with BlackBerry, Niquita Bento. Niquita’s work wowed us; it’s modern, conceptual and her strong point of view, visual narrative and passion for Style Reporting sealed the deal!

This year’s Style Reporter search culminated in a blog party with Niquita crowned the winner, walking away with a 12-month contract with ELLE to report for elle.co.za plus the tools to launch her career in fashion. With a Fujifilm XF-1 camera, a monthly cash stipend, a BlackBerry® Z10 smartphone (obviously the girl’s got to stay in the #StyleReporter2013 loop), a photography or desktop publishing course from Vega and the opportunity to be mentored by well-known photographer and head judge, Ed Suter.  Oh and did we mention she’s off to Fashion Week in 2014?

Our 2013 winner Niquita Bento with ELLE’s Jackie Burger and Head of Channel Marketing, BlackBerry® South Africa, Kath Smith

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The lovely Pearl Thusi as MC

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Chief judge, mentor and photographer, Ed Suter chats to the finalists:

Finalist Themba Mbuyisa

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Finalist Lebogang Tlhako

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Finalist Kabelo Sheshibe

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 Finalist Kirsten Mackrill

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Finalist Elelwani Netshifhire

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Finalist Thanda Kunene

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Our 2013 winner shared this: ‘This is such a great opportunity and I feel privileged to share my work with others. My competitors were amazing and a true representation of the talent that South Africa has to offer. I am very grateful and privileged to be part of this journey.’

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Jackie says: ‘Niquita shows a clear and very modern style perception coupled with an edited yet visually narrative reporting skill which underwrites her intelligent, sensibility and an originator of contemporary content.’

Our event celebrated the seven new voices in local Style Reporting. To our finalists – congratulations. Your talent inspires us. And to Niquita, let the adventure begin! And in the true spirit of Style Reporter, the ELLE belles, readers and industry insiders gathered to celebrate culture and to take in installations by 10 of the best in local fashion, design, music, art, film, music and architecture.

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Jacques van der Watt of Black Coffee exhibits his Mercedes-Benz Fashion Award winning collection at Style Reporter 2013.

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Suzaan Heyns debuts capsule collection showcasing exceptional craftsmanship and as always, beautiful attention to detail. We. Are. Obsessed.

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Leading contemporary object design by Aidan Bennetts, Okha, Sobeit  and Ebrahim Assur of EA Designs. Love what you see? Follow Ebrahim on Twitter for design updates @EBcr8ivestudio

Sobeit installation

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Design installation by Ebrahim Assur of EA Designs

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Design Installation by Okha

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Freelance photographer, Kent Andreasen makes our hearts skip a beat. Kent debuts his fashion film and installation using the concept of harsh light and dark shadows, which is a common thread in a lot of his fashion pieces. Kent teamed up with Renee Saunder to make this piece of art come to life, saying, ‘the garments ignore most of the conventions that are present in a lot of the work I’m seeing in Cape Town at the moment. I really am fascinated by it and it excites me to see young talent trying something new. I took inspiration from the emergence of new voices in this competition to approach my film with a newness too. I want people to be left feeling slightly uncomfortable if they do not understand it or see the details and take away from it what they like. I don’t want it to be a film that comments, I want it to exist in its simplicity in the hope that people can appreciate the content for what it is.’ More on Kent Andreasen here.

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 The Party people: snapped!

2012 Style Reporter Trevor Stuurman with 2013 Style Reporter Niquita Bento and finalist Kirsten Mackrill

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Leanne Emery and  Kath Smith

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Siki Msuseni and  Lawrence Dube

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Hannah Randera and Alexis Chaffe

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Elelwani Netshifhire; Nandi Mthimkhulu; Onela Dinga

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Jackie Burger with ELLE Rising Star 2013 Design Award in association with Mr Price winner, Nick Coutts

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ELLE belles, Tarryn Oppel and Maybe Corpaci

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Sarah and Marc Hoberman

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Liezel van der Westhuizen nd Cindy Nell

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Let’s party! Thanks to Appeltiser for keeping our guests refreshed and to Brutal Fruit (do try the new Brutal Fruit Mango Goji) and Van Loveren Wines for keeping us festive!

ELLE’s Tarryn Oppel hearts Van Loveren wines – do try their Cabernet Sauvignon or if you’re a non-drinker their Papillon alcohol-free sparkling blush – a delightful sparkling blush with festive flavours of fresh berries and candy floss

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Our ELLE Style Reporter 2013 in association with BlackBerry goodie bags held a slab of delicious Mint Dairy Milk Bubbly (an ELLE Belle favourite) plus a copy of our December issue with the lovely Lily Collins on the cover and a refreshing bottle of Appletiser (the perfect summer quencher).

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ELLE’s Maybe Corpaci knows how to celebrate – Brutal Fruit’s new Mango-Goji Fusion is the perfect drink for party people!

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The music – we loved DJ and music producer Dino Moran’s amazing edit for ELLE. Dino created a soundtrack for ELLE Style Reporter 2013 and the electro-pop duo Albatross performed live. If you weren’t there, we suggest you hit play to Nicola West and Jakobson of Albatross’s sounds here and like them on Facebook here

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Oh, what a night! And special thanks go to producer Deon Redman who creates, conceptualises and produces to perfection!

Follow Niquita’s work at: Neck Of The Woods and follow her on Twitter @xx_niquita_xx

See Niquita’s ELLE Style Reporter 2013 in association with BlackBerry journey here

Stay in the #StyleReporter2013 loop by following @ellemagazinesa on Twitter

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Photographs: Marguerite / SDR Photo