updated 28 Sep 2012, 07:57
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Wed, Sep 26, 2012
The Straits Times
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Feng Tianwei serves up glam

The public is used to seeing a sweaty Feng Tianwei smashing killer shots in her jersey top, shorts and spunky hairdo.

But earlier this month, the Olympic bronze medallist traded sportswear and sneakers for heels and high fashion as she underwent a makeover by Life!.

Tottering in a pair of four-inch-high booties, the 26-year-old struck several poses for the camera.

“I really like this kind of photos,” she says in Mandarin, referring to the edgy high-fashion photospreads that she has seen in magazines.

Feng, who arrived for the shoot wearing a trucker hat – a type of baseball cap – a bright green T-shirt paired with grey slacks and sneakers, picked the outfit herself.

She chose a sports-inspired off-white plonge leather jacket with a dramatic black martingale collar, and loose-fitting ankle-length trousers from luxury fashion label Celine’s latest fall/winter 2012 collection.

Stylist Rohaizatul Azhar, a writer for The Straits Times’ Urban magazine, picked four outfits from the collection, including dresses and pant suits.

They were chosen based on the conditions set by the Singapore Table Tennis Association for the style makeover: No lace, no frills, no pink and preferably no dresses.

In the end, the China-born paddler, who is The Straits Times’ Star of the Month for August – an award that recognises outstanding sportsmen – chose the pant suit.

“I do wear dresses but only on special occasions. My mum loves it when I wear them,” she says. But the public hardly gets a glimpse of that feminine side.

She appeared in her jersey and track pants to receive The Straits Times award last Thursday; a blue blazer with black cropped trousers at the launch of a sporting-themed condominium in July; and a black jacket and jeans to collect her Sportswoman of the Year prize in 2010.

The world No.7 says she does not adopt her mother Liu Chunping’s feminine style.

“She used to wear quite high heels and short skirts,” Feng says, putting her palms a few inches above her knees to indicate the hemline of her mother’s skirts. “My style is not suitable for growing long hair or wearing gowns.”

The 1.63m-tall paddler describes her style as casual and edgy with influences of Japanese street fashion.

Her wardrobe consists of mainly harem pants, T-shirts and tops with embellishments such as studs, 10 to 20 caps in different colours, sneakers and sunglasses.

She is tight-lipped about the most expensive item in her wardrobe, but reveals that the cheapest is a $15 watch bought from a pushcart in Toa Payoh.

Like most women, she has a soft spot for shoes, caps and sunglasses. “I already have many of these but if I see a better one, I will buy,” she says.

Her favourite shopping spots include Far East Plaza for its unique pieces, Tokyo’s Shibuya and South Korea’s duty- free shops for beauty products such as facial masks. “The Koreans give a lot of discounts so I am more willing to visit the shops,” she says candidly.

Up close, Feng’s skin looks smooth, even though on the day of the makeover, it flared up with little bumps, the result of a slight skin inflammation. “My skin is usually better than this,” she quips. But she insists she has no beauty secrets.

“I do the same as everyone else. When I see that my skin has become very lousy, I put on a moisturising face mask. I don’t apply sunblock or wear make-up often,” she says.

Instead, she wears caps and sunglasses to protect her skin from the sun.

“I am the worst in the table-tennis team when it comes to beauty know- how,” admits the Harbin native, who started playing table tennis at the age of five.

Her dad Feng Qingzhi, a granary worker, died of multiple sclerosis in 2002 before he could see his only child make it to the China national squad.

In 2005, Feng left China to play in a Japanese professional league and was talent-scouted by Singapore officials a year later.

Today, her accolades include three Olympic medals – a team silver from Beijing 2008, a team and individual bronze from the recent London Games – and the triumphant win over China at the World Team Championships in 2010.

Now, a challenge of a different sort lies ahead. Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Chan Chun Sing has been tasked with finding Feng, who says she has no time to date, a boyfriend.

So what if her future boyfriend insists that she wears a dress?

“I believe I would not find someone who does not understand me,” she says firmly.

At the end of the two-hour makeover session, this reporter asked if Feng likes the look. “Yes, it is very fashionable. I like the brand Celine too,” she says.

So will she wear the look again? “Yes,” she says without hesitation.

“If you give me the Celine jacket,” she adds in jest.

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readers' comments
She looks good after make-up but she should wear something more feminine and keep her hair longer with a soft perm.
She has a stren looking face, stylist need to soften her looks she will looks great.
Posted by shortcircuit on Thu, 27 Sep 2012 at 12:24 PM

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