updated 18 Oct 2012, 12:52
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Sun, Oct 07, 2012
The New Paper
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Taken ill but she takes the crown
by Nicholas Yeam

It was a day filled with teary eyes and runny noses as Sharin Keong was crowned winner of The New PaperNewFace 2012.

The third-year Ngee Ann Polytechnic student came down with a bad cold two weeks ago, and has been on medication since.

But when she did not recover by yesterday morning, she knew she had to tough it out and leave her pills at home as she did not want to risk her medication making her drowsy.

So imagine her surprise when she won. “I was shocked to hear them announce my name,” a beaming Sharin, 20, told The New Paper after her win.

Laughing, she said: “Right now, I just want to relax and celebrate with my loved ones. They’re probably expecting me to buy them a meal and a big bottle of cough syrup after shouting and screaming so much.”

The results were announced after an evening filled with plenty of glitz and glamour at Takashimaya Square.

The21/2-hour show,which started at 6.30pm, included elaborate runway sequences by the finalists as well as entertainment from local band 53A, who dazzled the crowd with covers of popular hits from the likes of Maroon 5, Jessie J and Nicki Minaj.

Angelique Nicolette Teo, the first New Face winner, had a nostalgic time as she played host for the night, which marked the 20th year for the annual contest.

Sharin’s surprise at her win probably had something to do with fellow finalist Kylie Yuen’s dominance before the winner was announced.

Kylie, 18, was eventually pipped to the title and finished as first runner-up but it seemed as though she already had one hand on the crown, bagging three out of the five subsidiary awards.

Asked how she felt about winning a total of four awards and if she was disappointed by missing out on the top spot, the banking and financial services student at Singapore Polytechnic humbly replied that she had already achieved “more than expected.”

She said: “The only award I thought I had a chance at was the Clinique Miss Beautiful Skin award because all the other girls were always telling me that I have good skin.

“I really didn’t think I would win the Miss Levi’s and Subaru Miss Vivacious award because honestly, I have no idea what the judging criteria was.”

She said: “This was my very first time doing anything serious with regards to modelling, so I wasn’t expecting much.”

She reiterated her desire to focus on her studies. It was an answer expected from the student with a 3.9 grade point average at the poly.

Sick too

Like Sharin, second runner-up Syirin Jamil, 22, was also feeling a little under the weather.

She came down with a fever during rehearsals the night before and woke up with a swollen eye the next morning. As a result, she did not expect much from the finals.

She said: “I was really shocked I still managed to get second runner-up. I thought my swollen eye might have messed things up for me.”

“When we were backstage before the results were announced, I just kept telling myself not to cry if I didn’t win anything.”

Sharin walked away with $10,000 cash and a feature in Seventeen Magazine.

Kylie, the first runner-up, won $5,000 cash while Syirin, the second runner-up, walked away with $3,000 cash.

Sharin also spoke about her intention to use her New Face win as a stepping stone to a possible international modelling career, citing 2010 New Face winner Vivien Ong as her inspiration. The 20-year-old walked the international runways of Milan Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week recently.

Sharin said: “If the opportunity ever presented itself to me, why not? I admire Vivien because she’s so stylish and successful, and not just on the local stage.”

So do her parents approve of her ambitions? Mr Andy Keong, 49, believes his daughter is old enough to make her own decisions.

He said: “As her parents, we just want her to finish her studies then she can do whatever makes her happy.”

Mr Keong was accompanied by several members of Sharin’s family, one of them being her grandmother.

Despite being swamped by reporters and photographers after the finals, Madam See Ee Ee did not shy away and showed that being comfortable in the spotlight ran in the family. She posed proudly for a picture with her granddaughter.

“I really didn’t expect Sharin to win but I’m very happy that she did,” she said.

Contributing editor of Seventeen Magazine and member of the judging panel, Ms Valerie Wee, 36, was impressed with the winners.

She said: “I think they did really well. One girl won a lot of awards and I think the ones who won were all-rounded and had unique features and carried themselves well. That’s part of why they got the awards.”



Winner: Sharin Keong
1st Runner-up: Kylie Yuen
2nd Runner-up: Syirin Jamil


Subaru Miss Vivacious: Kylie Yuen
Miss Levi’s: Kylie Yuen
Clinique Miss Beautiful Skin: Kylie Yuen
Miss Popularity: Jessica Vetters
Best Catwalk: Nathasha Rahmat

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