updated 24 Sep 2013, 01:42
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Tue, Jun 25, 2013
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New Face top 26
by Bhavna Jagtiani

Why try to limit quality?

At Round 2 of The New Paper New Face auditions, the Top 25 turned into the Top 26.

The girls who came for the closed door auditions at Subaru Hub in Toa Payoh yesterday were so impressive that the judges felt they had to include one more girl in the line-up.

Mr Daniel Boey, fashion show producer and one of the New Face judges said: "...Some of them really stood out. So we have 26 girls this year.

"They are all diamonds in the raw, but each of them has something special and different to offer."

Ms Rachel Erasmus, a judge and New Face 2010 finalist, agreed. She said: " The Top 26 are all really good quality girls."

Only 124 girls who received the Golden Passport from street hunts to walk-in auditions were invited to the closed door auditions.

This year, girls were also allowed to apply through the photo sharing app Instagram. Those who wanted to be considered for Round 2 of the au- ditions had to tag the New Face Instagram account onto their pictures.

One of the girls who got in through the app was Ong Qian Ni, a 19-year-old student at Republic Polytechnic.

It was her first time auditioning for a modelling competition, and she had a case of the nerves.

"Maybe I feel more nervous than some of the girls who came for the walk-in audition. They've been through the judging once, so they might be a bit more experienced," Qian Ni said.

She isn't the first from her family to join the New Face competition. Her sister, Vivien Ong, was the New Face winner in 2010 and has since gone on to become an international model.

The 1.7m-tall teenager said she was tempted to try modelling after seeing her sister's achievements. While she said she felt some pressure being Vivien's sibling, she wanted to make her own mark on the industry.

Having made it to the Top 26, that's certainly a possibility.

Qian Ni said: "I wasn't expecting to get through.

It still feels like a dream."

Jillian Goodenough was also surprised to make it to the next round. At 22, she is the oldest of the finalists.

"I didn't expect to get in, especially because they were calling all the younger ones first," she said.

It is the marketing communications executive's first modelling competition and now that she's through, she's looking forward to having fun and making new friends.

"I've already made friends with some of the girls here," she told us with a smile.

Some of the girls had family support. At just 14, Itiya Dube was the youngest to be chosen for the Top 26.

The Canadian International School student was at the auditions with her father. Her family, who are from Switzerland, have been in Singapore for a year.

She said: "I'm so happy. I didn't think I'd even make it through to Round 1. It's so life-changing for me because now I might have the chance to win."

Her proud father, Mr Bharat Dube, said: "It's okay for people to follow their passions at any age.

It's because of Singapore's safe milieu that I feel safe for her to start now. Perhaps we wouldn't encourage her to do it now in any other part of the world."

The 53-year-old added: "I'm hoping she gets a real boost in self-confidence and has fun following her dreams."

Not all the girls were new to the competition.

Humaira Masjol, 20, was picked during the Orchard Road street hunt in the past two years. She didn't make the cut last year, but said she was "happy and elated" to get through to the next round this time.

But making it to the Top 26 is not the end of the journey.

Coming up this week is a photo shoot where the Top 20 New Face finalists will be selected. The judges have a tough job ahead.

The Top 26 girls are Tan Ying Yi, Jade Rasif, Samantha Tan, Amelia Wong, Stella Lee, Andrea Soh, Alina Ang, Jillian Goodenough, Maya Tan, Ong Qian Ni, Shazeilla Sariffin, Esther Lee, Noelle Woon, Saffron Sharpe, Humaira Masjol, Ferlin Leung, Asyiha Ams, Melissa Marican, Jiwon Heo, Felecia Lie, Itiya Dube, Aprile Marangos, Hillary Sun, Karyn Tay, Hanim Zain and Clarissa Teo.

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