Model Ra­line Shah’s Malaysian ties

Up-and-com­ing model mak­ing waves in In­done­sia and Malaysia.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - By FOO YEE PING star2@thes­

T HERE were two friendly “neigh­bours” who would some­times get in each other’s hair just like any­one who lived next door to one an­other.

They would get ter­ri­to­rial, squab­bling over stuff like kain batik, songs and dances.

This is a story about a pretty wo­man who might some day come be­tween them.

Meet Ra­line Shah, 26, who is mak­ing waves in the mod­el­ling scene in In­done­sia and Malaysia.

The uber chic mag­a­zine Glam re­cently gave her a 15-page spread, gush­ing that she was the hottest model from Jakarta.

You’re prob­a­bly won­der­ing how Jakarta-born Ra­line could pos­si­bly be the cen­tre of a tug-of-war be­tween two neigh­bours in the fu­ture.

Well, that’s be­cause she has Malaysian blood run­ning through her veins. “My mother is half-Sin­ga­porean Chi­nese, halfMalaysian Malay,” she ex­plained in flaw­less English dur­ing an in­ter­view in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur.

She spent al­most half her life in Malaysia, too, where she came to study at the age of 13.

“I grew up in Malaysia. My mum de­cided to send my brother and me for high school and A-Lev­els (in Kolej Tuanku Ja’afar, a Bri­tish-style board­ing school in Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan) here,” she said.

Back then, Ra­line spent much of her time with her grand­par­ents in Jo­hor.

“I had a lot of good mem­o­ries with them. My late grand­fa­ther used to drive me from Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan to Jo­hor ev­ery monthly break,” she re­counted. In fact, her grand­mother still lives in Jo­hor.

The 1.72m beauty gained pub­lic at­ten­tion when she took part in the Miss In­done­sia Uni­verse pageant (known there as Pu­teri In­done­sia) three years ago. Though she did not emerge the win­ner, Ra­line clinched sub­sidiary ti­tles such as Pu­teri In­done­sia Lingkun­gan (Environment) and Pu­teri Fa­vorit (Peo­ple’s Choice) when she broke the record for the num­ber of SMS votes in the his­tory of the pageant. She was the over­whelm­ing favourite, earn­ing 78% of the votes.

It was in Sin­ga­pore, how­ever, that she started mod­el­ling part-time. She was study­ing at the National Univer­sity of Sin­ga­pore, where she got a de­gree in po­lit­i­cal sci­ence, and new me­dia and com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

Apart from mag­a­zine spreads in In­done­sia and ap­pear­ing for a range of telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, bank­ing and beauty prod­ucts, Ra­line is also cur­rently the face for Nivea in In­done­sia and Sk­inz in Malaysia.

“I would like to do more work in Malaysia,” she said. “Half of my fam­ily is here.”

How­ever, she di­vulged lit­tle about her fam­ily back­ground as she doesn’t want to be ac­cused of rid­ing on the name of her suc­cess­ful busi- ness­man fa­ther.

Sheng Saw, the make-up artist who has worked with al­most all the top names and lead­ing women in Malaysia, only has good things to say about Ra­line.

“She was very charm­ing. Al­ways had a big smile on her face. And easy to work with. She was such a sweetie, ad­vis­ing me about good food. We chat­ted and makan (eat) all the time dur­ing the shoot,” said Sheng, who col­lab­o­rated with Ra­line for the Sk­inz and Glam shoot.

Sheng, who started his ca­reer in Lon­don and has been in the busi­ness for over a decade, be­lieves that Ra­line has the tal­ent and a very bright fu­ture.

“Her ap­pear­ance is ver­sa­tile and change­able. I can see the po­ten­tial in her as a model, or if she gets into act­ing,” he said.

In fact, Ra­line will start shoot­ing for a movie in In­done­sia next Jan­uary. This will mark her de­but on the sil­ver screen.

There had been dozens of movie of­fers which came her way previ- ously but “noth­ing caught my eye un­til now. I want to do some­thing that is me.”

She loves the per­form­ing arts, con­fess­ing also that “it has been pay­ing my bills.”

Dur­ing her col­lege days, she was in­volved in ev­ery the­atre pro­duc­tion. “I have al­ways been in touch with my creative side,” she added.

She is also dip­ping her hands into busi­ness, dab­bling in pearl trad­ing and help­ing her fa­ther in real es­tate de­vel­op­ment.

Other plans in­clude open­ing a beauty sa­lon and a cook­ing school. She likes to cook and is tak­ing up part-time train­ing in a culi­nary school in Jakarta. She has also com­pleted one sea­son of a cook­ing show in In­done­sia.

Hav­ing a “pub­lic face”, Ra­line said, could be a boost to busi­ness in the repub­lic.

“In­done­sians are very ‘looks-ori­ented’. If you are fa­mous, peo­ple want to be in­volved with your busi­ness es­pe­cially if you have a good track record.”

Her dream, even­tu­ally, is to open a school that teaches liv­ing skills to young­sters.

“I’ve been lucky as I have a priv­i­leged up­bring­ing. My par­ents taught me that the more you have, the more you should give to oth­ers,” she said. Her home­maker mother is the pres­i­dent of a school for men­tally and phys­i­cally chal­lenged kids.

In­done­sia’s huge share of national tragedies has had a bear­ing on her, too.

“I’m quite spir­i­tual. To me, these are re­minders for us to do good things.”

But enough of se­ri­ous busi­ness. Who is she dat­ing?

Once, there was talk about her and a mem­ber of a royal fam­ily. These days, she is linked with a young Malaysian ty­coon.

Ra­line’s re­sponse? A dig­ni­fied si­lence.

There was a pub­lic as­sump­tion, she said, that women in mod­el­ling or high-pro­file jobs are high-main­te­nance.

“I’m not here to com­pre­hend the male psy­che and their ideas about women. My line of work re­quires me to be high-main­te­nance. But I’m very easy-go­ing in my daily life. Just T-shirts and flats will do for me,” she quipped.

Mod­el­ling re­mains a part-time job for now and she trav­els to Malaysia ev­ery other month.

If she hits pay dirt, two coun­tries may want to lay claim on her and get into an­other spat yet again. When that hap­pens, per­haps there is only one thing to say to her: Give us some love, Ra­line!

Promis­ing fu­ture: In­done­sian model ra­line Shah will not have a prob­lem land­ing work in Malaysia. – art chen / the Star

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