A growing number of inspiring Malaysian women models have gained international and local recognition due to their achievements. Their outstanding talents and an extraordinary passion in modelling coupled with an amazing personality have enabled them to overcome the gruelling challenges in the industry. In this issue, Top 10 of Malaysia shares its list of inspiring women models in this nation whose achievements speak for themselves.
Winner of the Guess Watches Timeless Beauty International Model Search 2004 title, Amber Chia became the world’s first Asian model to triumph at global model searches; and the first Asian model to campaign for Guess watches worldwide. She was also selected personally by renowned designer Victoria Beckham to present the Victoria Beckham’s Autumn/Winter 2009 ready-to-wear collection during the glamorous New York Fashion Week. With a career spanning over 15 years as a model, actress and brand ambassador, Amber has further highlighted her prominent mantle by evolving into a successful entrepreneur through Amber Chia Academy – her very own modeling and beauty school. Today, she has graced over 200 magazine covers, performed runway modelling in 6 continents, starred in 7 movies, authored 2 books and was appointed a brand ambassador for over 30 brands.
Kea Lee is now based in London for almost 2 years as a full time fashion model. She modelled in London, Milan and Paris during fashion weeks. Kea has worked with some of the top brands in the industry such as Alexander Mcqueen, New Look, Topshop, Schwarzkopf, Goldwell and has also done photoshooting with some of the coolest magazines like Hunger, Dazed & Confused, Heroine and Mixmag. She has modelled for 4 seasons of London Fashion Week for Katie Eary, Bora Aksu, Fashion East, Natasha Zinko, Roberts Einer, Palmer Harding, Central Saint Martins that were all featured in Vogue. Kea started out as a model around 3 years ago and was discovered by Simone Teh who led her into modelling for Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week.
The North-Borneo born Shir Chong started modelling after she won a modelling competition on 8TV’s ‘I Wanna Be a Model, Season 3’ in 2009. Since then, she was featured in magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, Cittabella, Style, Jasmine, Glam, Nuyou Bride and Sisters. She also graced fashion editorial shoots and advertising campaigns and became the most sought-after model in the region. Shir was later discovered by CalCarries International Management in Hong Kong and Re:Quest Models in New York. She was also in advertisement campaigns such as Selberan, Risis, Lane Crawford, Samsung, Zana Bayne and Chanel. Shir later made her debut at New York Fashion Week for Spring/Summer 2013 and was featured in models.com. In 2015, she received the Star Model Award representing Malaysia at the 10th Asia Model Awards in Seoul, Korea. Shir returned to 8TV’s ‘I Wanna Be a Model 2016’ as a judge and creative consultant.
Soraya Jansen is a 23-year-old Malaysian/German artist and model currently working in London and recently graduated from the University of the Arts London. Soraya first started modelling whilst studying at the Glasgow School of Art before transferring to London. She was the first girl out in the Vivienne Westwood AW17 Menswear show, appeared in the Selfridges x Dazed latest denim campaign, been on the cover of Harpers Bazaar Malaysia and has been on catwalks for the likes of Giles Deacon, Ashish and Astrid Andersen. Fully aware of the superficial nature of the industry, Soraya blurs the boundaries between artist and model to challenge the fashion industry’s white-dominated beauty standards. Not afraid to speak up about these issues, she uses her platform to stand up for the lack of representation of South East Asian models in the industry.
Atikah Karim, a model of Bajau-Bruneian descent, started modelling after winning the Ford Models Supermodel of the World Malaysia in 2011. Her first job was to model for Marc by Marc Jacobs. She was then signed to her agency, Soul Artist Management and moved to New York where she modelled for Polo Ralph Lauren, Kenzo, Kimora Lee Simmons, Kate Spade, Banana Republic, Libertine, Kenzo, Pyer Moss, Nicopanda, Adam Levine, Greg Lauren and Polo Ralph Lauren. Atikah has even performed as a model-dancer in Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz tour in London. She has also taken to the runways at London Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week.
Nina Kho (formerly Carron Kho) is a young Malaysian Chinese-Bidayuh fashion model and actress since 2011. She has been crowned Miss Supermodel and Best Catwalk and has won numerous modeling titles such as Miss Asia and Malaysia Noble Queen International 2016, Miss Andaman World 2015, Miss Malaysia Perak 2015, Borneo Model Search and Miss Sarawak Model of the World 2011. She was also a pageant judge for Miss Yachting International 2011 and pageant catwalk instructor for Rock Your Talent (Sarawak Got Talent 2017), Ain’t Just Model 2017, International Chinese Costumes 2016, Miss Malaysia Model of the World 2014 and for Miss Yachting International 2012.
The Penang-born Hannah Tan of Kelabit-Chinese parentage has everything – brains, beauty and a great personality. Other than being a model, she was voted three times by FHM readers as Malaysia’s Most Wanted Women in 2006, 2010 and 2011. Being a Valedictorian and 4.0 GPA merit scholar, Hannah graduated a year ahead at the top of her faculty with an Honours Degree in Computer Science. She is currently COO of Qiibou Group of Companies comprising a software development company, social enterprise, entertainment arm, health and wellness company. She was also appointed an ambassador for the World Congress on Information and Technology (WCIT) 2008. Hannah took to the Live Earth stage (the biggest stage in the world) for Live&Loud 2007 with her band of performers. She has also organised the 2008 self-funded ‘H’ Factor Nationwide Creative Youth Workshop community service.
Soo Wincci is an award-winning model as well as singer and has won the 2016 Ten Outstanding Young Malaysians (TOYM) Cultural Achievement Award. She was also recognized as the first Miss World Malaysia to be awarded a PhD in 2016 by Malaysia Book of Records. In 2015, she won the PWH Music Awards for Media’s Most Recommended Artiste for Top Best Local Songs and Best Music Composition. In addition, in 2008 she also won 41st Miss World Malaysia title and was ranked in 100 World’s Most Beautiful Faces 2013 by Hollywood Independent Critics. She is also an ambassador for Vitraplus Cabloc due to her healthy, hardworking and positive image as well as her multiple talents.
Angie Ng Chin Li
Angie Ng started modelling in the United Kingdom and later graced the runways for London Fashion Week 2008, 2009, 2010, Milan Fashion Week, Paul Costelloe, Alice Palmer, Lilee, Charlotte Taylor, Actis Barone and Jonathan Liang. She has modelled for DKNY, Marc Jacobs, Marko Mitanovski, Farah Khan’s S/S 2011 campaign, Max Mara, Roger Vivier, Ted Baker, Vivienne Westwood, Leonard, Furlia, Club Monaco and M.A.C. She was signed by Model One in Hong Kong and also represents IMG Models London. Angie has been awarded the STYLO Fashion Grand Prix ‘Model of The Year’ title in 2010 and featured in Gap Fall Icons 2012.
The Penang-born Gwen Lu is signed with Bravo Models Tokyo, London MGT Group Sydney, Beyond Models Milan, Spin Model Management Hamburg, Viva Models Berlin, M and P Models London, City Models Paris and Major Model Management New York. She is now based in New York and she has modelled for Schwartzkopf and Shiseido. She has also graced the covers of Vogue China, Biba, Ponytail, Numero, Surface, Kurv, The Ones 2 Watch, Vogue Japan, IO Donna, Contributor, L’Officiel Singapore, The Fashion of the Guardian, Pop, Harper Bazaar’s India, Marie Claire Malaysia and Vogue Thailand.