Star Style: Goodbye mohawk, hello sexy
When at work, local actress Vanessa Vanderstraaten never goes anywhere without her 10cm-high heels
When Fly Entertainment artist Vanessa Vanderstraaten was a Top 20 finalist in The New Paper New Face 2009, she used to dress quite differently.
A mohawk and a pair of sturdy boots defined her look back then.
Today, at 27, the local actress has found a style formula that works for her.
She told The New Paper: "Over the years, I've realised that style is all about being yourself. I've since learned that jeans need to be fitted to your body type; nude, seamless underwear is a must-have and sports shoes are only for doing sports."
Age has mellowed her spending habits too.
"I find myself spending more on quality products because they are good investments, but typically I'm a saver.
"A lot of branded items in my wardrobe were gifts - I'd never spend an exorbitant amount of money when I can find a similar item for a fraction of the cost."
Vanderstraaten is currently playing a single mum torn between two men (played by Joshua Tan and Russell Ong) on Channel 5 series Lion Moms, which airs on Mondays at 10pm.
She also had a small role in the first season of US Netflix period drama Marco Polo, which premiered last year.
Next month, she starts filming for a lead role in a telemovie.
Now that she's in the public eye, she dresses up when she has to.
"In my downtime, I pretty much live in my denim shorts, a tank top and flip-flops.
"But when I'm at work, I mostly choose classic, structured dresses with a feminine shape. I don't wear heels that are less than four inches (10cm), and I usually break out the Spanx.
"It makes me feel confident and poised."
"My actual chilling-at-home outfit is not printable because I wear tiny safety shorts and I don't wear a bra. This is a much more modest version!" said Vanderstraaten of her Holland football team jersey (the Dutch team is her favourite) and denim cut-offs.
And she dresses down during her downtime. She said: "It's a mental break for me, and I even go without make-up to let my skin breathe. It's hugely liberating!"
Vanderstraaten picked a Meow Or Never slogan top from H&M, paired with her favourite pair of Mango jeans, her oldest pair of Converse sneakers and her trusty, brandless newsboy cap as the outfit that describes her best.
She said: "Anyone who's met me for 10 minutes knows I'm a crazy cat lady! I saw this shirt at H&M and had to have it.
"While there are days that I enjoy being dolled up and girly, I mostly enjoy dressing a little tomboyish!"
Vanderstraaten feels sexiest when she is in a sleeveless jersey knit black dress, with nude Aldo peep-toe slingbacks.
It's the heels that do it for her.
"I wear this pair quite regularly - and have the scuff marks to prove it - because it gives me height and makes my legs look longer!
"Standing in it makes me feel really strong and womanly."
It's important for her to feel confident. She said: "Recently I attended an event in a dress that was way too short, with a plunging neckline, and still, it managed to look unflattering for my figure.
"Although people were telling me I looked good, the fact that I was uncomfortable told me I had made a mistake.
"I had broken my own style rule - you absolutely shouldn't wear something that you feel exposed or self-conscious in."
The item in her wardrobe which has the most sentimental value to Vanderstraaten is this T-shirt with the words "Relatively Famous", a gift from her younger brother Justin, who is dating DJ Rosalyn Lee.
She said: "He gave me this while I was still in university and hadn't started acting. He knew I was interested in pursuing a career in entertainment and got it for me as a gag gift!"