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.

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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

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