New Face finalists face personal challenges leading up to finale
No matter who walks away with the crown tonight, these resilient finalists are already winners
For Nadia Amir, the journey towards the grand finale of The New Paper New Face 2018 tonight has been particularly challenging.
The finalist's grandmother, who is in her early 80s, fell critically ill a few days before the 20-year-old undergraduate's profile was published in The New Paper on Oct 24.
Nadia told The New Paper at a rehearsal at official venue partner Bugis+: "I was definitely at a low point, but I did not want to be that way throughout the competition."
She remained positive during rehearsals, saying that it was a good distraction for her to channel her energy into New Face.
At the same time, she got good news about her grandmother's recovery.
Said Nadia: "She is slowly showing signs of improvement and has been discharged from the hospital."
Winning the title would be a dream as she wants to make her grandmother proud.
Iwani Mawocha, who is from Zimbabwe, was about to give up modelling before New Face changed her mindset.
The 23-year-old part-time actress-model told TNP: "Growing up in South Africa and Swaziland, I hardly saw girls who looked like me in the media, on screen or on the big runways."
She suffered from a lot of self-doubt and stopped chasing her dream as she thought she did not belong in the industry.
Iwani said: "New Face has already done so much for my career and my sense of self-worth, I've been blessed in ways I could never have anticipated.
"Young, dark-skinned, kinky-haired girls like me need to know that there can be a seat at the table - or in this case, a place on the stage - for them."
And she is now an inspiration for girls back home too - a report on her competing in New Face was published in the B-Metro newspaper in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, earlier this month.
Iwani said: "I carry with me the hope and strength of my family, my community, my country and my continent, because when one of us achieves something great, we all celebrate together."
Meanwhile, Alexis Cook, 18, has had to deal with health challenges, and she has managed her Type 1 diabetes throughout the competition.
She was diagnosed with the incurable chronic disease last February and has to keep her condition under control by taking at least four insulin injections a day, as well as keep track of her blood glucose levels.
The second-year law and management student at Temasek Polytechnic told TNP: "I have been trying to eat a little more mindfully, but sometimes I accidentally over-injected, which led to my blood sugar dropping too low."
Alexis has also tried to be more active, but it has negatively affected her glucose levels on several occasions when she overexerted herself.
Thankfully, she has been able to bring her blood sugar levels up to a safer level every time something happens.
She said: "I don't think my diabetes management has been any different from my pre-New Face management, which is a huge relief."
Thean Jia Sin, 24, who lives in Kluang in Malaysia, has had to travel back and forth the Causeway for the New Face photo shoots.
The part-time model admitted that she was often drained by the three hours of commuting.
Fortunately, she managed to rent a room near her sister's home in Jurong East and has been staying there for two weeks leading up to tonight's finale.
Jia Sin said: "Winning the competition will definitely be life-changing, especially in furthering my modelling career."
The youngest finalist of New Face 2018 is Cheri Teo, a 16-year-old student from Raffles Girls' School who has had to juggle school and the competition.
She said: "There were days when rehearsal dates clashed with my O-level exam dates, and I had no choice but to miss the rehearsals.
"I try to put my best foot forward for every endeavour so that I will have no regrets. Whatever the outcome, being a New Face finalist will always remain one of my proudest achievements for years to come."
Behind the scenes with New Face finalists
Top 15 finalist Shafiqah Marwiah found her New Face paparazzi-style photo shoot nerve-wracking.
The 25-year-old financial adviser told The New Paper: "I tried to develop the kind of character, attitude and look that I wanted to deliver in front of the camera."
She alsolooked at celebs' paparazzi pictures for the shoot. She said: "It may look easy and candid but it is not that easy after all."
Shafiqah said she enjoyed the "fun and laughter" with the crew because "they made it seem like we are being chased by the paparazzi".
She added: "I've learnt modelling goes beyond maintaining posture and knowing angles.
"It means having a strong sense of purpose, discipline, the ability to take instructions and being respectful to every crew member behind the scenes."
Yap Yu Jun said she learnt to be fearless and confident in front of the camera. The 22-year-old undergraduate, who had her shoot in front of a Singapore Press Holdings Radio van, told The New Paper: "I find it important for one's personality to shine through that stationary shot.
"Be daring to pose, but it is crucial to listen to the photographer's feedback and guidance. Most importantly, it helps to know the theme of each photo shoot so that you can prepare and imagine your perfect shot."
Pooja Kaur Randhawa, 21, said the shoot made her feel like a "real celebrity wearing gorgeous clothes", adding that she was "in love" with her leopard-print outfit. The freelance model said: "I learnt how to angle myself properly when I am on camera. We have to be able to picture ourselves in a real situation while getting photographed, which is a really good tip." - NUR SYAHINDAH ISHAK
New Face 2018 final to be held tonight at Bugis+
Tonight's the big night for the 26th edition of the local modelling competition, held at Bugis+ Atrium Level 2.
One of the 15 finalists will be named The New Paper New Face 2018 and win a prize package including $10,000 cash, $2,000 hair services from Kelture Salon and an exclusive feature in CLEO Singapore.
She will also be part of ONE FM's morning show tomorrow at 8.30am, and the top three will make an appearance at Sunday's The New Paper Big Walk for the lucky draw.
Judging the competition are Mr Eugene Wee, editor of The New Paper, Ms Diana Wong, deputy general manager (regional marketing) of Motor Image Enterprises, New Face 2009 first runner-up and actress Julie Tan, CLEO Singapore beauty editor Smita DeSouza and Cosmoprof Academy chief executive officer Angie Soon.
Appearing tonight will be New Face 2017 finalist Hashy Yusof, who will be performing with husband Marc Than as music duo MarcXHashy, as well as singer Gareth Fernandez.
Follow @TNPNewFace on Instagram and Facebook for updates, and check out the hashtag #TNPNewFace18 for more posts.
Voting for the subsidiary prize Miss Popularity continues on site at Bugis+ today from noon to 5pm.
You can cast the final votes to ensure your favourite contestant wins the title.
The finale event starts at 7pm.