Not Couling down
The gorgeous and talented Sonia Couling is still heating it up.
SONIA Couling strolled into the new Crabtree & Evelyn store right on time for her interview and immediately greeted me. The statuesque and graceful Thai-English beauty is a familiar face in Asia, being a model, TV personality, producer and actor.
Couling who is based in Bangkok was in KL recently for the opening of the Crabtree & Evelyn concept store in Pavilion KL.
“The store is absolutely gorgeous! Everything looks so luxurious especially the beautiful packaging and the scent of the products. It’s just so fruity and feminine and inviting!”
Having grown up in England, it came as no surprise that Crabtree & Evelyn played a major role in her day-to-day beauty regime. “I’ve used their products for over two decades now and I highly recommend the La Source, Gardeners and Evelyn Rose ranges of award-winning products which offer hand therapy creams, body lotions, body creams, body perfumes and fragrance candles,” she shared.
For those who don’t know, Couling, who is also known amongst friends and family as Pim, was born in Thailand and has been working as a professional model since being discovered at the age of 13.
She attended boarding school and university in Britain and worked with Storm Agency where she did ads for L’Oreal UK. Upon returning home, the multilingual lass who speaks five languages, landed a job as the first Thai VJ for MTV Asia. It was this move that launched her career. Couling then gained popularity in Asia, getting offers in film, TV and endorsements.
“The last two years of my career see me on TV a lot as I had a show on HBO Asia; I appeared on Challenger Muaythai on AXN as an announcer as well as on Jessica Simpson’s show, Price of Beauty, as one of six worldwide beauty ambassadors on VH1,” she says.
Sexy and sophisticated, the beauty with brains has also done some work behind the cameras when she produced and hosted
Thailand’s Next Top Model in 2005. This year, she was an executive producer for the movie A Stranger In Paradise which she worked on closely with her husband, Paul-Dominique Vacharasinthu, a business owner and event promoter whom she married in 2007.
Revealing that she has expanded her work into the international market, Couling joined the big leagues as she now has a contract in Hollywood.
“I played a guest role in an American movie called Glory Days as well as in the hugely popular French film Largo Winch 2. Apart from that, I also recently starred in a US movie trilogy called The Mark alongside Eric Roberts and Craig Sheffer,” she says, adding, “Last December, I played a femme
fatale in a Hungarian short film called Blood
And High Heels which was the official selection at the Cannes Film Festival this year and is doing quite well. It’s a really short but intense film that is for Hungary.”
Though she’s got a busy schedule, maintaining a proper skincare regime is important as it’s part of her job to look good.
“My beauty regime, especially because I travel a lot is skincare, skincare, skincare! I truly have no shame in putting tons of cream on my face and body when I am on an airplane. I can sit there with an oily face just as long as my skin is hydrated and looks good when I disembark. That and definitely drink a lot of water too.
“I eat really healthy too. My husband and I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables everyday with a blended fruit juice every morning and a platter of fruit every evening. My husband drinks a litre of water every morning too although I can only do half. Water is really important especially if you run around a lot. Apart from that, I use sunblock especially when I am out in the sun.”
Couling may seem like she is constantly onthe-go but she stresses she still is very much the girl next door: “My most favourite past time is riding my horse Marengo in the mornings, with the feel of fresh air on my face. Apart from that, I crave to chill out and listen to opera by the beach and just think of nothing followed by a soothing massage on a lazy afternoon. I guess with my hectic schedule, I do enjoy a lot of alone time.”
Her extra activities don’t stop there. She also became interested and, eventually, obsessed with flying. She’s currently a reserve pilot for the Royal Thai Airforce, where she was privileged to have been a guest pilot on the F5 and F16 fighter planes.
“It actually began as a dare by a friend to fly a plane about 13 to 14 years ago. So, I enrolled myself in the Air Force, the civillian section that is, and told my friends that I will fly. I was one of four girls and 50 guys and I am proud to say that I came in second in class!”
Despite her go-getter attitude, Couling did have her fair share of challenges with her biggest concern being herself.
“I am my biggest and worst critic. I tend to do everything perfectly and yearn to do it better than expected and rarely compliment or pat myself on the back. In a way, it makes me look out for how I can make myself better,” she explained.
Having been in the industry for 25 years, Couling says the key to staying relevant in the industry is to always remain professional.
“Being professional is what keeps you around and that means to be on time, do your homework before any shoot or interview, know where you’re going and what you’re getting yourself into and always be polite. That’s already a good start.”
She also voiced that she didn’t know how some models went for jobs without looking properly groomed: “I can’t understand how girls come to work with makeup on their face and body and funny coloured nails! Those little things make a difference.”
Couling says while she is content work wise, it’s her husband that makes her happy.
“I do feel that it is every woman’s wish to have that dream wedding and to be married and to have everything pan out like a fairytale. That, to me, is my greatest achievement because with this one, I got lucky!”
Having been the best of friends for 13 years before they started dating seven years ago, she giggled as she said, “He proposed three months after we kissed. He must’ve sat through all my failed relationships and thought to himself ‘when it’s my turn, I’m going to show her!’”
As for children, she’s hoping to have a child in the next five years.
“I do hope to continue in my current line of work as everyone that I’ve met in the industry have been great to work with and every person has given me certain memories. But I suppose when my husband and I are ready to slow down, we would love to have children.”
Now that she also gets to do projects with her husband where she jokes that he pays and she works, slowing down might just be in the pipeline after all.