Woman on TOP
Starring all-new faces and a fresh judging panel of industry greats, ‘Asia’s Next Top Model’ returns for a second season of fashion, theatrics, and model behaviour. By Evanna Ramly.
As America’s Next Top Model wraps its 20th season, talents closer to home prepare for round two of Asia’s Next
Top Model, an original production from Fox International Channels shot mostly in Malaysia. Nadya Hutagalung returns as host and head judge alongside model mentor Joey Mead King. “We have a great cast this year,” says Hutagalung of the Malaysian designers, photographers, and stylists who were as vibrant and colourful as the show’s backdrop of picturesque cities, lush forests, and romantic beaches. “It’s a very nice energy that we have.”
Movement coach Adam Williams echoes her view of the show’s upbeat spirit. “There’s a new energy, there’s a new vibe, there are a lot of new tricks, and a lot of exciting places to visit,” he enthuses, adding that the contestants have impressed their judges beyond belief. “They have grown so much already and I’m really excited for people to see how inspiring all of these girls really are. I find hard work, dedication, and big dreams inspiring, and these models have it.”
This year, 16 model hopefuls from 12 countries compete for exciting prizes: a Subaru XV, a contract as the face of TRESemmé’s 2014 campaign in Southeast Asia, a cover and fashion spread in Harper’s BAZAAR Malaysia and Singapore, a three-month modelling contract with Storm Model Management, a load of cash, and the title of Asia’s Next Top Model Cycle 2. Desirable delights, no doubt, but what’s it going to take to convince the judges? “We’re looking for a triple threat,” says King. “A model who can do commercial and runway, and is a perfection in print.”
Working closely with the girls on shoots, resident photographer Mike Rosenthal knows just how determined they are to be the chosen one. “It’s wonderful to see them grow, to take advice and direction and be able to process it and make it their own,” he shares. “It’s been a great experience. This season is going to be bigger, more exciting, more polished, and really beautiful.”
Of course, it can’t be all sunshine and rainbows. King reveals, “There’s going to be a lot of drama. I understand how it feels for a young model wanting to make her way. Being the big sister, I have to give tough love. I feel for them as one would for a protégé but at the same time I have to be tough for them to learn; otherwise, they’re not going to survive in this industry.”
“The show’s going to change the industry by giving expert advice on how successful shoots are produced. An ideal picture is so much more than a pretty face and a pretty dress – it should conjure up an image,” explains Williams. “It has to make me want to turn the page. I don’t need to mindread when I look at a picture but I want to know what’s going on in this story.” BAZAAR’s editor in chief Natasha Kraal, who appears in four episodes of the series, and as a guest judge in the finals, believes that the girls have a lot of potential: “I was very impressed by their raw talent, and how quickly they improved from episode to episode. We’re delighted to be part of ANTM again.”
“Season one was a real eye-opener. Although [the winner] Jessica Amornkuldilok was such a natural, she really improved over the whole season as a model. By the time she stepped onto our set for the cover shoot, she was a bona fide professional,” recalls Kenneth Goh, BAZAAR’s creative director. “With season two, it gets better as the competition to become Asia’s Next Top Model heats up. Watch out for the catfights!” ‘Asia’s Next Top Model’ will be on Star World from January 8.
“There’s going to be a lot of drama.” – Joey Mead King, mentor
Nadya Hutagalung (centre) with the 16 contestants