Model fo­cus

Nadya Hu­ta­galung talks about rais­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal aware­ness and Asia’s Next Top Model.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - By NADINE FER­NAN­DEZ star2@thes­tar.com.my

NADYA Yuti Hu­ta­galung, cur­rently known as the head judge and host of Asia’s Next Top Model ( AsNTM), is quite pos­si­bly one of the most recog­nised faces in Asia.

In fact, ac­cord­ing to Asi­aweek mag­a­zine, she was voted one of “Asia’s Lead­ing Trend­mak­ers” along with the Dalai Lama, Datuk Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun Fatt for her abil­ity to in­spire and fas­ci­nate.

“I wouldn’t put my­self on the same level as his Ho­li­ness, but I am in­deed happy for the ti­tle,” said the prac­tis­ing Bud­dhist, who looked ever so chic in her black sleeve­less jump­suit and sim­ple gold link neck­lace.

Hu­ta­galung was in Kuala Lumpur re­cently to pro­mote the show.

Born on July 28, 1974 in Syd­ney, Aus­tralia, Hu­ta­galung has cer­tainly led an ad­ven­tur­ous life with roles as a model, film ac­tress, a MTV VJ, TV host and painter un­der her belt.

Mar­ried to Des­mond Koh – a for­mer com­pet­i­tive swim­mer from Sin­ga­pore – Hu­ta­galung is also an eco-ac­tivist as well as an eco-cen­tric jew­ellery de­signer; she has launched her own sus­tain­able jew­ellery line called OSEL (mean­ing “clear light” in Ti­betan). De­spite all of that, this mother-of-three says she is a “full time mother and a part-time ev­ery­thing else”.

The en­vi­ron­men­tal plight is one that the half-In­done­sian, half-Aus­tralian has de­voted much of her time and voice to out­side of her mod­el­ling ca­reer.

She cre­ated ma­jor waves when she be­gan the three-year project of build­ing one of Sin­ga­pore’s first few eco-homes from its foun­da­tion up.

Hav­ing been an am­bas­sador in Sin­ga­pore for the World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour for the last five years, she is now an Earth Hour Global Am­bas­sador. The Green School, where she’s also a board mem­ber, was just awarded the “Green­est School on Earth” ti­tle by the US Green Build­ing Coun­cil.

Her pres­ence in the en­vi­ron­men­tal arena has cer­tainly ex­panded with Hu­ta­galung’s tasks grow­ing to in­clude her now favourite project by far – www.greenkam­pong.com – which be­came an online re­source for any­one look­ing for in­for­ma­tion and news on sus­tain­able liv­ing.

“I am pas­sion­ate about my work,” she said of her green fo­cus, adding, “I don’t have a lot of time to pri­ori­tise ev­ery­thing, es­pe­cially since I have three kids wait­ing at home for me. But I do what­ever I can. I travel a lot though, and find that I ex­haust my­self with the ad­di­tional fly­ing.”

She has re­ceived ac­co­lades for her work: she was the run­ner-up for “The In­ter­na­tional Green Awards: Most Re­spon­si­ble In­ter­na­tional Celebrity 2013”, along­side other eco-war­riors such as Ge­orge Clooney, Ian Somer­halder, Pene­lope Cruz and Vivi­enne West­wood.

This year, Hu­ta­galung fo­cused her ef­forts on a cam­paign for ivory re­duc­tion, which is due to launch in the first quar­ter of 2014 and is tar­geted at the South­East Asian au­di­ence.

With a face that at­tracts and a per­son­al­ity that is a nat­u­ral cock­tail of con­fi­dence and hu­mour, it comes as no sur­prise that Hu­ta­galung has re­turned as the lead in the sec­ond sea­son of AsNTM.

“I al­ways find it amaz­ing to see how the girls evolve through­out each sea­son of the show. This sea­son is es­pe­cially great since it is a FOX pro­duc­tion and they have such an amaz­ing team who have worked with the girls and the producers and have come up with some­thing that is quite stylish.”

“It cer­tainly makes for great tele­vi­sion when you see how the girls de­velop a bond with each other, al­though there def­i­nitely were mo­ments of ten­sion be­tween them and even the judges.”

This is FOX’s first pro­duc­tion in Asia and the show re­flects that.

“Firstly, be­ing an Asian pro­duc­tion, it is for the Asian au­di­ences and with that, you can see a lot of Asian tal­ent. I do love the fact that they are sup­port­ing lo­cal tal­ent and lo­cal de­sign­ers. And not only is it a mod­el­ling show, but it is also a plat­form for the de­sign­ers. How is it dif­fer­ent you ask? It’s just Asian!

“Se­condly, it is just more glam­orous and there is a lot more depth from all sides.”

Glam­orous it is, es­pe­cially in terms of styling and the great ar­ray of guest judges, which in­cludes Datuk Jimmy Choo, in­ter­na­tional song­bird Coco Lee, , Rob Scheppy (beauty guru to the Kar­dashi­ans) and Aus­tralia’s pre­mier cou­turier, Alex Perry. “It’s great for the girls to meet th­ese peo­ple who have had years of ex­pe­ri­ence in their var­i­ous in­dus­tries as it will boost their ca­reer,” says Hu­ta­galung.

As for what she hopes the con­tes­tants and view­ers take away from the show, she says it’s about any­thing you want to be. “You can be fab­u­lous, strong and pow­er­ful, but the most im­por­tant thing is to be com­mit­ted. Just like in any pro­fes­sion, study your craft, un­der­stand fash­ion and watch the run­ways. Al­ways do your home­work.”

Judg­ing the best: Join­ing Hu­ta­galung’s team of judges are (from left) model men­tor Joey mead King from sea­son one, res­i­dent pho­tog­ra­pher mike rosen­thal and move­ment coach, adam Wil­liams.

Hu­ta­galung in a promo shot for sea­son one of asia’s nex­tTop model.

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