>> After a disappointing Spring 2009 runway season, Austria Alcantara saw a turn for the better when she returned home to the Dominican Republic for a couple of days.  Dominicana Moda, the local Fashion Week, was going on and Austria booked 12 shows, getting the opportunity to open and close for the first time ever.  She was treated like a celebrity, with applause every time she appeared on the catwalk, and as her agent, Socrates McKinney, described it, "Every single girl in the Dominican Republic wants to be like Austria."  It just keeps getting better: Austria has booked her first New York campaign, and her compensation is $9,000 for three hours of work — quite a hefty salary for a girl from a country where her agent says the average salary is $200-$300 a month.

Next week for the season finale, we'll see how Cato van Ee is doing — and she's expected to be doing well.