Ballina girl packs her bags for Paris
By RENEE REDMOND
JAE CLARKE was preparing to spend her schoolies break at home, eating Vegemite on toast and staring out the window at her Hills Hoist clothesline.
However, all that changed for the 17-year-old Ballina High School student after sending one SMS message to vote for a contestant on Australia's Next Hot Model on Foxtel.
The 20 cents, she admits, was well spent.
For voting, Jae went in the draw to win a trip for four to Paris worth a total of $23,000 which includes $10,000 spending money ? which means she could trade up the view of the Hills for the Eiffel Tower and her toast for a croissant.
"I'd joked that I might win and told a few of my friends, so when the organisers called to say I'd won, I thought it was a joke," she said.
"They said my name would be announced in The Australian newspaper and when I saw it in print I knew it had to be real.
"I jumped and danced around the house when I found out and I was shaking on the phone when I called to tell dad ? he didn't believe it either."
Jae said she was booking the trip for November 20, just after final exams, and would take her dad and two best friends, Megan Wager and Chantel Martin.
"Dad travelled when he was younger and was really keen to go, but mum didn't want to," she said.
"Megan has taken me away on holidays with her family before, so this is a thanks for that, and I've been friends with Chantel since primary school."
Jae said she had been on a plane once before ? a trip to Sydney with her grandmother three years ago.
"I've just finished reading the Da Vinci Code and I've seen the movie Moulin Rouge," she said.
"But I never thought I'd get any closer to Paris than that."
Jae has already started writing her 'must-do' list for Paris, which includes the art galleries and museums, the Eiffel Tower (of course) and the real Moulin Rouge.
"I'm in the middle of exams at school at the moment and it's tough studying without daydreaming about Paris," she said.
"There's so much to organise.
"I have to get a passport and work out what to pack!"