updated 6 Nov 2012, 11:59
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Sat, Oct 06, 2012
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Vivien Ong: From New Face to Paris catwalks
by Nicholas Yeam

SINGAPORE - From strutting her stuff at Orchard Road to walking the runways in Paris, Vivien Ong has certainly come a long way in a short while.

Just two years ago, the communications and information design diploma holder from Republic Polytechnic was crowned the winner of The New Paper New Face 2010 at Takashimaya.

In the past two weeks, the 20-year-old has walked down the international runways of Milan Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week.

It's a refreshing success. Vivien almost gave up after getting negative feedback about her looks while modelling in China, Japan and Hong Kong.

The 1.76m-tall babe, who credits The New Face contest for her first big break, told The New Paper: "It's been anamazing experience.

"I've had the chance to work with some really big names from designers to casting directors to renowned hair and make-up artists as well."

"For example, the Anthony Vaccarello show in Paris was amazing. I would have never imagined myself doing a show filled with supermodels."

She walked with the likes of Karlie Kloss, Anja Rubik, Jourdan Dunn and Arizona Muse.

"I was also able to work with Vivienne Westwood in person. That was a dream come true for me."

Before she won the New Face title, Vivien had worked as a freelance model since 2008.

Fresh off her win in 2010, she was signed to Carrie Models International.

After a year of working in Asia, she was placed in Beatrice Models Management in Milan before eventually being signed by Next Model Management in Paris.

Vivien blogged on Sept 20 about her challenges.

"About a year ago after my Shanghai trip, I was crushed. None of the clients liked my look, I was cheated of some money by a Chinese casting director who eventually hinted to me that I'm not good enough," she wrote, concluding that the China market just did not work for her.

She was then rejected in Hong Kong and Japan.

"And the same issues that people find me too short, too fat, (with) too strong a jawline for a girl," she wrote.

"Then I go to Paris. And got a few offers from agencies there. I eventually signed on with Next Paris. The general feedback I got was positive. Honestly, I was pretty overwhelmed," she wrote.

"Imagine Plato's cave: Throughout my career as a model, travelling within Asia, I've always been told that I'm not good enough, and that led me to see that as the truth.

"And when someone else tells me that I'm amazing, I cannot bring myself to believe it."

She wrote that she had been living her entire modelling life "believing that I wasn't capable of bigger or better things".

"And that was my truth.

She wrote that she wanted to get a degree and just get a day job.

"Now I'm just glad I didn't give up," she wrote.

Learnt from New Face

Vivien credited the New Face contest for her first big break.

"It was basically a modelling crash course for beginners," she told The New Paper.

"Due to the several public appearances we had throughout the competition, I was taught how to work myself in front of the cameras, for the runways, and for the public."

Her best memory from the competition was the friendships formed while hanging out with the crew and contestants.

She added: "I also remember praying that everyone remembers their sequences so that we didn't have to go through them again.

"I had so much fun during that period."

To think all of this would not have been possible if not for the encouragement from another finalist back then.

Vivien joined because of a friend, Zianna Zainal: "When Zianna, one of the other finalists, was scouted to be a New Face contestant, she said that she would join if I did too."

When TNP asked about her preparations for the finals back then, she said: "I prepared by keeping my body in shape as well as eating healthy so I didn't fall sick."

This year's batch of finalists have a place in her heart because she was in the panel that chose the top 25 in June.

So what advice does she have for the top 20 girls?

"Be alert and don't just follow blindly because anything can happen during the finals. Try to stay relaxed while you're backstage because it shows when you're nervous.

"Walk like a supermodel and be confident, it'll make the whole process a lot more enjoyable."

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Click here to see the pictures.

readers' comments
This girl quite sweet and humble.
Posted by mystrawberry on Sat, 6 Oct 2012 at 08:19 AM

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