After weeks of intense shoots, judges Elle Macpherson, Dannii Minogue, and Tyson Beckford chose the Caribbean-born beauty for her professionalism and stunning pictures.
In an exclusive interview with HELLO! Online Lauren opens up about struggling with homelessness, getting through the nail-biting final, and explains why Dannii is a "goddess".
Congratulations! How does it feel to be the winner of Britain and Ireland's Next Top Model?
"Thank you so much. Getting as far as the final in itself is a massive achievement but then going on to win, it's like the whole dream came true. I wasn't expecting it at all. I couldn't even look at the screen at first because I was that scared that it wasn't going to be me. There were three girls there, three amazing girls, and it could have been any one of us."
You've struggled with homelessness in the past. Do you think that made you more determined than the other girls to win?
"It made me extremely determined and very hungry to win. At that time I was very unstable. I was very vulnerable because I was by myself. I think that experience made me a lot stronger as a person and it made me more ambitious because I never want to be like that again. I've had my own challenges but I think that all the girls have had experiences in their life that made them strong contenders too."
You must have missed your family when you were in the house...
"I missed my sister and my nephew but I knew that if I let that affect me I would basically allow myself to defeat myself. I knew I was there for a reason, and if I succeeded I'd be able to change my life and theirs."
You got on well with Sarah and Angel during the competition. Do you still keep in touch with them?
"Sarah was the one I got on with the most because she was around my age. We're both 23. In this industry that's kind of the cut off point so we understood each other's reasons for wanting it so badly. With Angel, we kind of took her under our wing because she was picked on in the house, which wasn't cool. We didn't condone that because it was a form of bullying. I've kept in touch with them both, and I do speak to Emma as well. Actually Angel came over to watch the final with me!"
Were you nervous about any of the photoshoots?
"I have a fear of snakes but only specific snakes. When it comes to snakes I'm scared of anything that's larger than me! Corn snakes are harmless, and I'd handled them when I was younger so I didn't feel scared. I was actually kind of hoping that they would give me a larger snake. I like the fear factor. I like to overcome my fears. When they first said I'd be doing a nude shoot I was like, 'Oh no!' but having Dannii on set made it so much more comfortable. She reassured us. You just have to be aware of the movements your body is making so that it doesn't look too Page 3."
How did it feel when Tyson said he would put your photo on his wall?
"Oh my gosh, I was actually shocked because I didn't expect a comment like that. It was such a compliment. It means my picture is art-worthy in a sense. It made me feel a lot more confident."
Did that make Tyson your favourite judge?
"Tyson's very cool and down-to-earth. He's a model himself so he understands our journey. Dannii's like a goddess. She's a people person, she's really friendly. And you've got Elle as well who's like a model queen. You know they're all really unique and really lovely in their own way. I wouldn't say I had a favourite judge.
How was the final for you?
"I'm always my own worst critic. I'm representing two nations really, the Caribbean and England, so I felt like I was under a lot of pressure. It was very nerve-wracking but you've just got to try and enjoy the experience. I told myself that I wasn't in a competition. I told myself I was actually just working. But I did trip!"
What advice would you give next year's contestants?
"Never refuse a makeover. Be prepared for change, because it can work to your advantage. Let your inner self come out, and be confident. And listen. Because once you're able to listen, you're able to understand. Listening is the best skill you can possess. The judges always said I did good when I did my own thing. Just be yourself. Know what you're capable of."
Finally, what do you think the future holds for you?
"I'd love to do an Yves Saint Laurent beauty campaign. Jourdan Dunn's campaign is so sultry and mysterious. She inspires me a lot. Her book [portfolio] is amazing. And she's a good girl like me I think. My grandparents always taught me to be respectful and be honest. I'm not a wild child. Modelling is my passion, my forever love. I don't even have a boyfriend."