TNP New Face finalists get runway tips from 80s supermodel Ethel Fong
80s supermodel Ethel Fong gives TNP New Face contestants runway tips
With the The New Paper New Face finals just days away, contestants need all the help they can get to prepare them for their last swagger down the runway.
And who better to give them that help than a former supermodel?
Earlier this month, Ms Ethel Fong, 52, was on hand to give the 20 New Face finalists a workshop on how to carry themselves on stage during the finals this Thursday.
"The girls look lovely and have lots of potential in the modelling industry," said Ms Fong, whose face graced hundreds of magazines and the fashion runways of Paris, London, New York and Milan in the 1980s before she married and retired.
At the runway workshop with the ex-supermodel, the contestants got down to business quickly, doing a walk on a makeshift runway for Ms Fong to critique.
Ms Fong pointed out that most of the girls were walking too quickly.
"Just think that you only have one chance," she told them. "There's no hurry, so slow down, play and have fun on the runway."
After a five-minute talk by Ms Fong, the women were off on their second round of runway practice.
This time, she decided to walk with the girls individually and give them tips one-on-one.
After being told that the girls needed to inject their personality in their walk, auditor Sherine Tan, 25, strutted down the runway with more confidence.
"Come on! Steal the show from me," Ms Fong said to Miss Tan as they walked side-by-side.
Miss Tan said: "Her tips were very useful, especially when she told us not to stop trying and to look for our personality."
Another finalist Vanessa Ho, 16, received feedback from Ms Fong that her shoulders were a bit stiff.
Ms Fong then placed her hands on Miss Ho and guided her shoulder movements while on the runway.
Miss Ho said: "I liked the tip on how she told us to use our waist to support the weight of our bodies so we can walk better."
After everyone completed their second round, Ms Fong demonstrated a few poses.
Finalist Angie Watkins, 19, was thrilled to find out she was meeting her mother's friend - they had been close friends even before Ms Fong entered the modelling industry.
"I was really eager to meet her because my mother always talked about her.
"The way she moves and carries herself is incredible and effortless," said Miss Watkins.
After the two-hour workshop, Ms Fong had just one final tip for the finalists.
"You have to wear the clothes and not let the clothes wear you," she said.
"Because, then, you will be lost in the clothes."
WHAT: The New Paper New Face Finals
WHEN: Oct 1, 7.30pm
WHERE: Takashimaya Square, Ngee Ann City Basement 2
The way she moves and carries herself is incredible and effortless.
- TNP New Face finalist Angie Watkins on Ms Ethel Fong
Modelling won her love as well
In the 1980s, Singaporean Ethel Fong was one of the rare Asian models who walked the runways of Milan, London, New York and Paris.
She graced the pages of Italian Vogue and W magazines, and became the face of an international Armani campaign.
Known for her luscious lips and wide smile, she faced many rejections in the 1970s, but her perseverance paid off eventually.
One of the first people who helped her was local designer Tan Yoong, who loved her looks and pushed for her to appear on the cover of Her World magazine wearing one of his creations.
After modelling for an Emanuel Ungaro fashion show in Singapore, the French woman in charge of the event told Ms Fong she should try her luck in Paris.
And she did.
She left Singapore when she was 18 and was soon modelling for Dior and Chanel.
Not long after, she started getting offers to model in Milan as well.
In 1986, designer Giorgio Armani handpicked her to be the face of one of his campaigns.
The campaign appeared in the pages of Italian Vogue, W and other international fashion magazines, which incidentally also found her a husband.
Her husband-to-be tore out the pages of the magazine with her on it and told himself to find and marry her.
She quit the catwalk 26 years ago to marry entrepreneur Jean Chalopin, a Frenchman with a 700-year-old medieval castle.
Ms Fong said that the modelling industry has changed a lot since she quit being a model, adding that the New Face competition was a good platform to showcase Singaporean girls and give them a sense of pride.
She still hopes that magazines sold here will feature more local women in local designer clothing so that "we can embrace our own beauty and culture".