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Tue, Oct 29, 2013
The New Paper
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I wear what?
by Azim Azman

Few club DJs have caused as much controversy in as short a time as Tenashar.

Last month, the 26-year-old model-DJ was slammed by netizens for a video in which she got close to waves whipped up by Typhoon Usagi in Hong Kong.

On October 19, British magazine DJ Mag ranked her 87th on the Top 100 DJs in the world.

The criticism moved from recklessness to lack of DJ-ing skills.

Another female DJ voiced her disappointment in seeing the only woman on the Top 100 with a campaign video that puts her cleavage to the fore. There was even a comment suggesting that Tenashar would be better suited to the porn industry.

The Hong Kong-based DJ gives her side of the story to The New Paper on Sunday.

Has your life changed since you got listed in the Top 100?

Life goes on. It was just a milestone.

The last three years I have been pretty much on tour. For this achievement, I gave myself a two-week holiday. But I actually stayed in Hong Kong. For someone who travels a lot, a holiday is to stay in one place.

My last booking? Good question. Err, I can't really remember.

Next week is Bangkok, if I'm not wrong.

You spent the early part of your life in Spain. How did that affect your development?

Growing up in Singapore makes you a very hard working person. It's a good place to mould success. Spain was very good for me to realise my passions.

When did you decide on a music career?

I played the drums when I was six, so I had a passion for big beats and bass. I guess the DJ console is just a natural progression from the drum set.

Is it true that before DJ-ing, you were a broker in the financial industry?

I was the top broker for my firm. (Tenashar does not want to name her firm or say what she was dealing in.) I was really successful but you need to realise your passion as well.

Now I'm really happy and successful.

It was reported that you cried for two days when you found out about the Top 100 ranking.

I was first told by Robb Harker (CEO of Supermodified agency, who also manages Benny Benassi and Afrojack) about three weeks ago.

I worked so hard for it and had gone many days without sleep. It was so bad that I even cried on the flight from KL to Hong Kong. Five hours of crying!

I'm not usually an emotional person, but to see my work pay off was such an emotional experience.

Some have claimed you made the list only because of your promotional video.

I know that for a lot of people, a DJ should not dress that way. But I'm outside the mould. A lot of people criticise it for being too sexy, but does it matter? I am female, I will dress how I want to dress. In the video, I'm in my lingerie, but so what? It's not like I dress like that during my gigs. I wear shorts and a jacket. If you create a boring video, it goes nowhere. Yes, the video was created to (attract) attention but I can back it up with content.

Other model-DJs keep wearing sexy dresses and tight lingerie to spin. But I can't do that. My gigs are really high energy. I'm either jumping on top of the console or on top of the speakers. You can't do that in a skimpy outfit.

Half the time, you'd be worried about a boob popping out. I wear a jacket so I don't have to worry about a nip slip.

Others say you can't play "live".

If they have gone to any of my shows, they see how the crowds react wildly.

I do all my mixing live. I don't have a playlist. I make it up as I go along.

It's common for model-DJs to play pre-mixes and just stand behind the console and smile and take pictures. I'm a rebel.

What about the rumours that you bought your votes to get on the list?

At the end of the day, it was a popularity contest and it was the fans who voted. If I did buy my votes, then I would not play to such huge crowds.

I recently played in front of 50,000 fans at the "We Love Asia" festival in Kuala Lumpur.

Judging by how they were jumping, I think they had a good time.

Now that you are among the big name DJs, will you consider toning down your look?

Maybe for my online stuff. It depends.

I support women being confident in how they want to dress - and I like dressing the way I do. I don't want to send this message to women everywhere that you should cover up to please the world.

There's more depth to me than just my cleavage.

Is any part of you artificial?

Well, my grandmother is Spanish and if they saw how big her boobs are, then those who keep saying I went for plastic surgery would shut up.

I wear push-up bra like any other girl.

The only thing artificial about me is my hair colour.

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