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Tue, Jun 19, 2012
The New Paper
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Fresh faces make their entrance
by David Sun

They showed up at the Subaru Hub showroom in Toa Payoh on Saturday wearing high heels, figure-hugging dresses and skirts to flaunt their curves.

The 130 girls were hoping to get into the top 25 of The New Paper's New Face contest 2012.

They had been selected from more than 300 potentials who had been either talent-scouted or who had taken part in walk-in auditions.

Yesterday, the top 50 were chosen after a gruelling three hours.

Two hours later, the number was whittled down to 25.

"It was really nerve-wrecking," said Alicia Lye, 22, a business development analyst who made it to the top 25.

"But it was also very exciting."

Some of the girls came as early as 7am, even though the official starting time was 8am.

Student Kathy Lock, 19, said she took a cab to make sure she arrived early.

By 7.45am, a queue had formed across the entrance of the showroom. The girls had to first register their attendance before they were ushered into a holding area.

While most turned up alone to face the judges, some came with their friends or with their parents.

"I came with my friend," said Kathy.

Despite having a friend there, she admitted to feeling nervous as she waited in the holding area.

Others, such as Charmaine Miranda, 22, who recently graduated from university, came alone.

She signed up for the competition after her friends who had previously taken part encouraged her to do so.

"I met some of the previous New Face girls while doing freelance modelling elsewhere," she said.

"They encouraged me to join, and so I did."

While the girls awaited their turn before the panel of judges, they chatted with several New Face alumni present, who gave them tips on make-up and dressing.

The judges included fashion stylist Jumius Wong, 29, and New Face 2010 winner Vivien Ong, 20, who is now a highly sought-after model.

"The girls... are still diamonds in the rough," said Vivien.

"You really need to groom them, change their hairstyles, maybe have them start working out."

Mr Wong also felt that there was a lot of potential to be tapped.

"I think a lot of grooming can be done from what I see from this batch of girls," he maintained.

After every girl had their turn before the judges, the top 50 were announced. Kathy was not one of them.

"I was really disappointed," she said.

"I felt like buying all the ice cream I could get and just eating everything."

Even then, she said it was a good experience and that she would join again next year.

Charmaine, however, made it to the top 50.

"I was in shock," she said.

"There was nervousness and excitement mixed together after my number was announced."

After another two hours and a round in front of the judges, the top 25 were chosen.

And once again, Charmaine made it.

"I couldn't believe it," she said.

"I just sat there and it was only when the girl next to me exclaimed that it was my number being announced that it hit me."

Shine Koh, 22, a part-time tuition teacher, also made it through.

"I was very honoured and elated," she said.

She took part in the competition in 2010 but had not made it this far before.

When asked why she tried again, she said: "I'm already 22 and I guess I wanted to give myself one more chance to shine.

"If you don't try, you miss all your chances."

In a few weeks, the top 20 will emerge and will grace the runway for the final of the New Face contest.

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