Dy­namic duo

Ev­ery­thing’s com­ing up roses for two of our Malaysian beau­ties.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LIFESTYLE - By FIONA HO TheS­tar

TWO of the coun­try’s finest beau­ties, Deb­o­rah Henry and Kavita Sidhu, prove that beauty and brains do go to­gether.

Deb­o­rah for one, has been us­ing her star­power to high­light the plight of refugee chil­dren since she was crowned Miss Malaysia World in 2007.

“I love chil­dren,” said Deb­o­rah, her wide eyes sud­denly lit up. “They are the fu­ture but they are also the ones who suf­fer the most from our bad de­ci­sions. Some­body has to help them.”

Cur­rently, she man­ages the Save Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre for So­ma­lian chil­dren in Malaysia.

“I be­lieve that all chil­dren have the right to ed­u­ca­tion and my cen­tre is a tool to help them achieve that,” added Deb­o­rah, 25, in an in­ter­view at Athena res­tau­rant in Pavil­ion Kuala Lumpur re­cently.

There are about 60 So­ma­lian refugees at her cen­tre but only five teach­ers to do the work. The cen­tre sur­vives mainly on cor­po­rate spon­sor­ship and do­na­tion through the Save the Kids Ed­u­ca­tion Fund (SKEF), a non­profit fund that sup­ports ed­u­ca­tion and self­de­vel­op­ment ini­tia­tives for chil­dren liv­ing in dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances.

“We’ve also had mini fundrais­ers. The chil­dren made duit raya pack­ets for sale two months ago and they will be mak­ing Christ­mas cards soon,” she said. They will be sold at her friend’s bou­tique in Bangsar, KL.

Deb­o­rah will also be spear­head­ing a chil­dren’s char­ity fashion show en­ti­tled Fashion Gives Back, which will be the open­ing slot of the Malaysia-In­ter­na­tional Fashion Week 2010 (M-IFW’ 10) to­mor­row. The fashion show­case, sched­uled to be held at the cen­tre court of Pavil­ion Kuala Lumpur at 4.30pm, will fea­ture celebrity moth­ers and their off­springs, and mod­el­ling clothes from Guess and Poney.

“There’ll also be a per­for­mance by the Kuala Lumpur Chil­dren’s Choir,” the mod­elem­cee re­vealed. The event will mark the start of a six-month-long char­ity cam­paign to help chil­dren in need.

“I’m glad to be able to help chil­dren through fashion-re­lated events,” said Deb­o­rah, who ad­mit­ted that she would love to have chil­dren of her own some­day.

“I would like to have three, ide­ally, but I can’t re­ally plan. Things change when you be­come a mother, so ask me this again af­ter my first kid – and I don’t know when that will be,” she said with a laugh.

One thing for sure, we will be see­ing a whole lot more of the Ir­ish-In­dian beauty as she will be the host of Who’s Next De­signer Search or­gan­ised by the Malaysian In­ter­na­tional Fashion Al­liance (mifa).

“Some of the con­tes­tants are re­ally good – their de­signs are fresh and they have good at­ti­tudes.”

How­ever, she reck­oned oth­ers can be “too lit­eral” with their de­signs. “If you want to de­sign an out­fit that’s in­spired by a tree, it doesn’t mean your dress should look like one! One should look at cre­at­ing one’s own con­cept and story around the tree,” she de­scribed.

Deb­o­rah, who be­gan mod­el­ling at 15, also ad­vised: “It’s good to be cre­ative but it’s point­less to make some­thing that no­body wants to wear. Clothes must sit right on a woman’s body. In­ter­est­ing de­sign el­e­ments are great, but be­ing able to sell and mar­ket your clothes is the key to suc­cess.”

Ac­tress-model-pro­ducer and now de­signer Kavita gets Deb­o­rah’s point: “My phi­los­o­phy when it comes to de­sign­ing clothes is sim­ple. I want women to think: ‘It’s so easy to wear them’ and not, ‘How would I wear them?’” she ex­plained.

Her new epony­mous cloth­ing brand Kavita fea­tures a re­sort-wear col­lec­tion that is “easy to wear but glam­orous”. She calls it “af­ford­able lux­ury”.

“There are lots of blue, green and pur­ple jewel-tone silk and chif­fon gowns in my col­lec­tion,” she said, adding that her clothes will also fea­ture “Roberto Caval­li­in­spired” bold prints and some eth­nic de­signs.

Kavita elab­o­rated: “My clothes are some­thing women can wear on a hol­i­day or to cock­tail par­ties.” The col­lec­tion also boasts a range of Brazil­ian-made biki­nis and swimwear with “colour­ful and in­tense em­bel­lish­ments”.

The 39-year-old added: “I travel quite a bit, and have been to re­sorts in Europe and Bali. I’m al­ways in­spired by how well women dress on hol­i­day. They’re so stylish!

“I try to in­cor­po­rate re­sort-like el­e­ments into my de­signs, es­pe­cially Euro­pean el­e­ments. It’s as­pi­ra­tional; it’s like es­capism.”

Kavita’s line is seen as as cross gen­er­a­tional: “Young women are in­spired to look like older, glam­orous celebri­ties, while older women don’t want clothes that make them look old. My clothes are for women of all ages.”

Ap­par­ently, even the av­er­age Jane can wear them. “From my ob­ser­va­tion, mod­els are get­ting skin­ner. But my clothes are not just for skinny women, they fit women of all sizes,” she elab­o­rated.

“That’s why I love to use mod­els who are a lit­tle bit curvier. They are sex­ier. I don’t like us­ing girls who are too skinny as it’s hard to show off their curves.”

Smil­ing, she re­vealed plans for a Kavita store but po­litely de­clined to di­vulge fur­ther. “I’m go­ing to sell my clothes on­line too,” she added.

Kavita, who was Miss Charm In­ter­na­tional 1990, will show­case her col­lec­tion at the mifa Gala on Nov 6. She will also play host to mifa’s Who’s Next Model Search.

“I’m no Tyra Banks,” she ex­claimed. “I don’t like la­bels. But I do feel I have so much to of­fer as a men­tor to as­pir­ing mod­els. Some of the girls have real po­ten­tial.” Sur­pris­ingly, there were no cat­fights on set and Kavita said all the mod­els were very sup­port­ive of each other. “The mod­el­ling in­dus­try is quite cruel. You need to have the face, body and height for it. If you don’t have the genes, there’s noth­ing much you can do.”

Kavita, who has been mod­el­ling for 15 years, added: “You need to have that ‘elu­sive’ X-fac­tor to be a suc­cess­ful model; you can’t de­fine what it is but some­one with that ap­peal will ap­pear a star on­stage and their pho­tos will turn out great. It’s like an ac­tress who just glows on­screen.”

Her ad­vice to as­pir­ing mod­els? “Be re­al­is­tic. Be­fore you go to a mod­el­ling agency, ask your­self whether this is the pro­fes­sion you want to be in for the next 10 years.”

Cur­rently, Kavita has a new lo­cal fea­ture film in the pipe­line and is look­ing for­ward to start­ing an eco-based range of fashion wear as an ex­ten­sion to Kavita, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Malaysian Na­ture So­ci­ety.

“The range will in­clude the use of nat­u­ral fi­bres such as or­ganic cot­ton, hemp and non­toxic dyes for my ma­te­ri­als,” she said, adding that it’s a long-term com­mit­ment on her part to high­light en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues and cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity.

“The idea is to cre­ate sus­tain­able fashion wear with the use of eth­i­cal prac­tices in the man­u­fac­tur­ing process.”

Be­tween act­ing, de­sign­ing, mod­el­ling and pro­duc­ing, the multi-tasker said: “I can’t de­cide which one I love most. They’re all part of me!”

Fans can catch more of Kavita and Deb­o­rah in the shows, which will be aired via on­line TV on the newly re­vamped mifa por­tal. n The Malaysia-In­ter­na­tional Fashion Week, which will be held to­mor­row un­til Satur­day at Pavil­ion Kuala Lumpur, is or­gan­ised by mifa.

is a me­dia part­ner.

< Kavita mod­el­ling a long re­sort-in­spired dress from her own brand Kavita.

So­mali refugee chil­dren from Save Ed­u­ca­tional Cen­tre, with vol­un­teer Deb­o­rah Henry, hav­ing a blast on their ed­u­ca­tional trip to Aquaria KLCC in Kuala Lumpur re­cently. Deb­o­rah uses her star­power to high­light the plight of refugee chil­dren.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.