updated 3 Apr 2011, 07:00
user id password
Wed, Jan 26, 2011
The New Paper
Email Print Decrease text size Increase text size
Glamour girl stays grounded
by Kwok Kar Peng

FAMOUS local model Sheila Sim has been dressed in expensive labels like Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Gucci in her nine years on the job.

But that's always for a gig.

Away from work, she's usually decked out in more affordable clothes that cost around $100 a piece.

That's because the 26-year-old thinks it's unnecessary to spend on luxury items.

Sim said she grew up in a frugal environment where her family places more importance on the quality of a product than on the name it carries.

She is an only child and lives with her parents in a three-room HDB flat.

Sim told The New Paper: "My friends all share the same values - that we have to stay grounded and save more than we spend.

With people like these around me, I get reminded not to overspend all the time."

For clothes, she goes for mid-priced brands like Pull & Bear, H&M and Puma's lifestyle range.

Her most expensive item is a pair of $500 Ash Italia boots.

She likes to play around with accessories, which cost between $5 and $40 each.

"I buy items that aren't too expensive so that when I'm bored, it's easier for me to part with them," said Sim.


But she has received expensive gifts as a perk of the job.

She said she has received bags and sunglasses from Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Chanel after modelling them but added that it doesn't happen often - perhaps once a year.

On her choice of high-street fashion over designer labels, she said: "I can't look terrible because of my job, so I make it a point to look presentable. I'm sure I'm being judged all the time by people in the modelling industry and the public.

"But I don't care. People like to talk and that's part of life. It doesn't mean that I have to change whoI am.

Apart from being thrifty with her wardrobe, the self-proclaimed saver said she often eats at hawker centres, though she is willing to pay up to $200 for a good meal at a posh restaurant.

Sim also plans her finances.

Her ex-model aunt - Ivy Chng, 46, who sashayed down the runway for high-end brands like Versace in the late 80s and early 90s - told her that because models don't receive a basic pay, what she earned this year maynot be what she'll get the next year.

So since Sim began modelling at 17, she has saved part of her income every month.

She hopes to have a six-figure sum saved by the time she's in her 30s. Besides keeping it aside for a rainy day, Sim said she also wants to buy a condo unit.

Sim also sets herself a target every month on how much she should earn.

She didn't want to reveal any figures but said she adjusts the target for peak and off-peak seasons.

Most of her projects are catwalk shows and editorial fashion shoots. In a good month, she said she can be booked for more than 20 fashion shows.

Most of the time, she said, she meets her targets.

But in 2009, Sim disappeared from the local scene.

When asked about it, she said she went to Tokyo to model for a year to gain new experiences.

"I needed a change of environment because I had got bored and complacent," she explained.

The Japanese paid better too, at least 20 per cent more than what she got in Singapore.

Sim returned last August to start a two-year part-time course in finance and marketing at Curtin Singapore and said that she has plans to enter the finance industry once she completes her studies.


This article was first published in The New Paper.

readers' comments

Copyright © 2011 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.