updated 11 Dec 2013, 23:38
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Tue, Nov 26, 2013
The Star/ANN
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Supermodel behaviour

The perception that models are nothing but airheads infuriates Lisa S. (born Lisa Selesner). Sitting pretty in a blue dress, Lisa speaks passionately about how that impression needs to change.

"The idea that models are dumb is completely wrong. The fashion industry is a giant game and to survive the business, you really need to be smart," Lisa says during an interview in Kuala Lumpur recently. The 179cm-tall model arrived in town to promote Diva Universal's latest show Supermodelme: Femme Fatale.

Lisa returns as host and judge on the show featuring 12 contestants competing for a shot at an international modelling career. On top of that, the winner also gets cash prizes worth RM90,000 (S$35,000).

Supermodelme began as an online series in 2009. The show was such a hit with online viewers that it eventually got picked up for television broadcast. This year, the fourth instalment of the show has a new home on Diva Universal.

"Being on a new channel, we wanted to differentiate ourselves from where we were last year. We wanted a thought-provoking title. I think if you hear 'femme fatale', you'd think, 'Oh. I wonder what is going on there'. It adds a little bit of flavour! It would be dull to just call it Season Four."

Lisa says the concept behind Femme Fatale is about finding "a strong woman".

"The idea of Femme Fatale perfectly encapsulates what we're looking for in a well-rounded model. Ultimately, we want someone who can survive the competition because it's gruelling and modelling is a tough business."

She adds some of the contestants thought they had it all figured out by watching past seasons. Viewers might want to look out for moments where the contestants admit they got it all wrong.

"These contestants … they came in with strategies and after the first or second elimination - everything went out the window! It was a new game."

Ultimately, the contestants must remember one thing about being on the show.

"You can play a game but you're also here to be a professional model".

Supermodelme: Femme Fatale also feature Thailand-based model Ase Wang and television presenter Dominic Lau alongside celebrated hairstylist Kim Robinson on the judging panel. Lisa says the judges are noted for saying some of the most memorable comments to the contestants.

"Kim is always telling the contestants that the fashion industry don't do ugly! In terms of modelling, you might have the prettiest face, but you need to find your best angle. When you're being paid to represent a brand, you can't be ugly."

She explains that the contestants were often told not to just rely on their looks to get ahead in the competition.

"There are some supermodels whom you won't think are beautiful, but somehow they make it work! So, you have to find the spark within you that makes you different from the average person."

While a certain Ms. Campbell might disagree, Lisa believes it pays to be nice.

"Divas don't get very far. It's about posing, how you react to people on the set and how you react to other people in the (model) house."

Tempers do flare in the house where the contestants are staying. Some viewers may find this to be suprising, but the bone of contention is often about food.

Earlier, we spoke to some of the contestants who revealed that "food hoarding" was one of the biggest problems in the house.

When we ask Lisa about it, she lets out a hearty laugh.

"That's really funny. I used to live in model apartments and everyone will write their names on food items. But, you know, sometimes, people ignore the labels and just take it for themselves anyway - then it will cause a big fight! It's a real world experience. Models are hungry women! We are tall and we need to be fed," she says in good humour.

With all the competition and drama heating up on set, Lisa credits her husband - Hong Kong actor Daniel Wu - and baby for keeping her calm.

"When we have a 10-minute break, I'd go see my baby who was on set. You get separation anxiety when you have to be away from your child."

In May, Lisa gave birth to baby girl Raven. Though just a few months old, baby Raven is already helping mum Lisa add some tense moments on the set of Supermodelme: Femme Fatale.

"We were right in the middle of a heated discussion, when all of the sudden she woke up and started crying! My husband and the nanny had to immediately rush out of the set. It was a very delicate situation. With babies, you can't tell them what to do. They tell you what to do," Lisa laughs.

Catch Supermodelme: Femme Fatale every Monday at 8pm on Diva Universal (Astro Ch 702).

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