Model Raline Shah’s Malaysian ties
Up-and-coming model making waves in Indonesia and Malaysia.
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