Behind the scenes at New Face 2015: Laughing, but finalists so nervous
Laughter and nervousness before The New Paper New Face finals on Thursday, but as one finalist said: It was all worth it.
There was a flurry of activity in the dressing room on the 13th storey of Ngee Ann City Tower B, hours before The New Paper New Face 2015 finals on Thursday.
One finalist was seen flipping through a Chemistry textbook.
The other 19 were either practising their runway walk and perfecting their poses backstage, or having their hair and make-up done and being fussed over by an army of stylists.
Jessica Goh, 15, was clutching revision materials, trying to squeeze in some last-minute studying before her Chemistry semestral assessment yesterday.
The Secondary 3 student from CHIJ Saint Theresa's Convent told The New Paper: "This is the most stressful period of my life."
And what a juggling act the teen has had to pull off. Jessica had examinations every day during the week of the New Face finals.
"I've been having only four to five hours of sleep daily because I have to go to school and then rehearse after that," she said.
"I'm trying to study for my Chemistry exam, but nothing is sinking in. I'm just going to fall asleep at home after the finals, but that's okay. Thankfully, it's not the O levels.
"I didn't think I'd make it to the top 20, so I just continued with the competition when I got through.
"I'll worry about my exams after today because I have more papers until next Thursday."
At 2pm, hours before the final that was eventually won by administrative manager Selynna Norhisham, there was no sign of anxiety on any of the girls' faces.
They were still laughing and joking with one another while munching on sandwiches, sushi and salad.
But if you asked any one of them how she was feeling, the answer would be: "I'm so nervous!"Air stewardess Joeypink Lai, 23, who went on to win Miss Levi's® and TNP Miss Popularity, said: "Since this morning, I feel like throwing up. My heart is in my mouth."
She was not alone.
National University of Singapore undergrad Lin Jiahui, 19, said: "I'm feeling anxious. We've been preparing for so many months, just for these few seconds of being in the spotlight."
The anxiety intensified as the clock ticked towards 7.30pm, the start of the show at Takashimaya Square.
Many tossed aside their comfortable sneakers and slippers in exchange for killer heels.
They practised their runway walk repeatedly, trying to nail their poses in front of two full-length mirrors.
FEAR OF FALLING
"I'm afraid of falling off the stage," Nanyang Technological University graduateLee Qian Hui, 23, admitted.
"There's a difference between walking on level ground and on stage."
But she did not have to worry because she ended up second runner-up.
And as the finalists inched towards the end of a four-month journey, they realised they had formed a strong bond with one another.
Lin said: "I feel really sad because I don't know if I'll see all the girls again. We're not going to meet up that much after the competition and we're not going to walk the stage together again.
"I think I will cry at the end of this because I'm a very sentimental person."
But student Samradha Sanjeev, 18, who has had to shuttle between Singapore and the Netherlands, where she is studying, is more positive.
"I'll be going back to the Netherlands, but I will come back to Singapore," she said.
"To me, the world is a very small place, so location is a small matter. I've made many friends through this competition and I've learnt a lot. It was all worth it."
I've been having only four to five hours of sleep daily because I have to go to school and then rehearse after that.
- Jessica Goh, a Secondary 3 student
New Face, new stars
JUDGE: Celebrity hairstylist Addy Lee. -TNP PHOTOS: GAVIN FOO
Whenever The New Paper New Face contest comes around, local celebrity hairstylist Addy Lee brims over with excitement at the prospect of discovering fresh faces with star quality.
The 44-year-old, who was one of the judges this year, was so enamoured with top 20 finalists Lee Qian Hui, 23, Joeypink Lai, 23, and Ischelle Ong, 21, that he plans to meet them soon and turn them into stars.
For Mr Lee, who owns hair salon Monsoon Hair House, a talent agency and a production house, the trio will not be difficult for him to groom as their New Face experience has provided training and built up their confidence.
He felt that the girls' beauty and personality will catapult them to stardom not just in Singapore but also in other countries like China and Malaysia.
"Ischelle and Qian Hui are outstanding girls with beautiful faces and can be celebrities," Mr Lee told TNP.
"For Joeypink, her versatility and looks will make it easy for her to become a model and move on to become a celebrity."
Mr Addie Low, 55, director and founder of local modelling agency NOW Model Management, also kept his eyes peeled for potential models at the finals.
His choices: TNP New Face 2015 winner Selynna Norhisham, 22, runner-up and Her World Runway Star R Nametha, 17, and Niqi Chass, 23.
"Selynna has an approachable face, - she'd make a great commercial model," said Mr Low, whose agency provided the male models for the finals.
"We can groom Nametha to be a runaway model because she's got the height and a strong walk.
"For Niqi, she can do fashion product launches for those who prefer the Caucasian look.
"Hopefully, TNP will have a New Face for men as well."