iiNet crowns Australia's first Top Geek

After months of auditions, challenges and nervous waiting, internet service provider iiNet last night crowned Australia's first Top Geek.

After months of auditions, challenges and nervous waiting, internet service provider iiNet last night crowned Australia's first Top Geek.

Top Geek contestants

Australia's first Top Geek, Cassandra James(Credit: iiNet)

Tasmanian comic illustrator and long-time geek Cassandra James beat out runner-up Skaidris Gunsmith in the deciding round of Pong in Perth last night.

iiNet chief Michael Malone said that the competition was designed to take the stigma out of being a geek.

"The point of Top Geek is to say that geek is not the same as [being a] nerd. It doesn't mean people having poor social skills. It means people being knowledgeable about an area and being passionate about it," Malone said.

James spoke to ZDNet Australia following her win, saying that she was, naturally, over the moon.

"I didn't think I would make it this far, and to win, I'm just shocked and really happy," she said.

James, a budding comic book artist, will attend Comic-Con for her prize, with a view to break into the industry.

"Obviously it's a comic convention and I want to be a full-time comic artist. I'm struggling to get into the industry right now and it would just give me the most amazing opportunity to meet with editors and have portfolio reviews, and just have my work seen by more people in the US, which is an opportunity that I don't get over here," she said, adding that she'd like to see the Australian comic book industry take off.

Malone said he would be keen on running the competition again, with James adding, "I'd love to be on the judging panel next year!"

This year's judging panel included Michael Malone, author John Birmingham, Miss Universe Australia Jesinta Campbell and Internode's Simon Hackett after he withdrew as a contestant.

iiNet also gave away prizes to the best dressed on the night: Aaron Cargill walked away with an iPad 2 for his Battlestar Galactica-themed attire and overwhelming audience support.

The live webcast of the event attracted over 3000 viewers.

(Front page image credit: iiNet Top Geek screenshot by Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)