Kawerau model Danielle Hayes is finding success in the Big Apple.

The 2010 winner of New Zealand's Next Top Model has been based in New York for the last few months after she signed with respected modelling agency One Management who also represents supermodel Claudia Schiffer and Victoria's Secret models Bar Refaeli and Karolina Kurkova.

Danielle Hayes, winner of season two of New Zealand's Next Top Model.
Danielle Hayes, winner of season two of New Zealand's Next Top Model.

Last week, the 22-year-old graced the catwalks of New York Fashion Week for American designers A Detacher and Bellavance. She had also recently completed a photoshoot for Vogue Italia online.

She featured on fashion website, Style.com as one of the "next generation of catwalk stars" who explained the meanings behind their tattoos. Ms Hayes has five ink designs which included a ta moko on her arm.

"When you get your ta moko you have to earn it," she said.

"You have to go back to where you come from and talk to your elders and explain why you want it and how you think your life will change when you get it. Some people don't show anybody because it's a sacred thing," she said.

Ms Hayes said she has a fresh look on the modelling world compared to when she won the reality television competition three years ago.

The former Kawerau resident told the Rotorua Daily Post earlier this year since New Zealand's Next Top Model she had learnt to appreciate the small things in life.

"I know that sounds corny but I'm thankful for my family and closest friends who have put up with me through the massive ups and downs of the past three years.

"It has been a real rollercoaster but, if I hadn't put myself in that situation I did three years ago, I wouldn't be who I am today."

- Rotorua Daily Post