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Fri, May 17, 2013
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I want to be a role model than a fashion model
by Celine Chen


After overcoming her illness and with her five children growing up, Wendy Jacobs longs for a return to modelling as a career.

The statuesque South African had burst onto the local modelling scene in the mid- 90s, capturing the eyes of Singapore in general and the heart of football star Fandi Ahmad in particular.

Yesterday, she was on the catwalk again - but as a trainer at Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College Central, where she is the creative director of its first fashion show, Central Runway.

She has been single-handedly grooming 50 ITE students who have little to no modelling experience to take to the catwalk.

Jacobs, who conducted grooming courses for children while she was a fulltime model, has been lecturing part-time in corporate grooming and etiquette at the ITE School of Business & Services since February this year.

"I've always believed that the ability to carry yourself well starts young. So coming into ITE to coach these kids is like coming back full circle," she said.

Familiar face

The last time she was seen strutting on the catwalk was in 2005, when she was a familiar face and a household name - seen on magazine covers and advertisements.

And to top it off, she was Mrs Fandi Ahmad.

She took a break from modelling when she was pregnant with her fifth child.

Seven years on, the mother of five children between six and 15 is ready to hit the catwalk again.

"Now that I'm older, I think I've proven myself to stand for products and brands," she said.

"I'm looking to become more of a role model rather than a fashion model. It's my way of saying I'm available for shoots and to contribute to the industry again, either by hosting events or doing launches and interacting with people."

Returning to the runway has also felt like a trip down memory lane.

"When I got home and did the sketches of the stage plan, it brought back memories of how we used to go to Takashimaya for those big one-week shows," she added.

A return to modelling could help boost her credentials as a lecturer.

"What helps is that if I'm out there in the industry, I can learn about what's happening now so that when I come and teach my students, I am able to give them the real world of 2013."

Five years ago, Jacobs was struck by a bizarre illness that doctors could not diagnose. In her darkest days, she was bedridden, wheelchair-bound and suffered frequent seizures.

Her condition stabilised in 2009, after she was flown here from her home in Jakarta for treatment.

In February this year, she talked about her illness with The New Paper and shared her hope of inspiring others with her triumph over adversity.

Although she still occasionally suffers mild seizures on some evenings, the photogenic mum has been outgoing and has also featured in photo spreads in this month's issues of Simply Her and Manja magazines for their Mother's Day specials.

"I'm starting to interact more with people in the industry and attend more functions, fashion shows, events and launches.

Once people start seeing you again, they start thinking 'okay, maybe she's gonna make a comeback to the modelling world.

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