TNP New Face competition welcomes 30- and 13 year-olds after age restrictions lifted
Contestants of all ages enter next round at last walk-in audition
There is something new about The New Paper New Face 2014.
This year, there are no age limits. It was limited to girls between 14 and 23 last year.
At the last walk-in audition yesterday at Bugis+, some 300 hopefuls registered for their chance to catch the judges' eyes.
Among them was Miss Kho Hui Ting, 30. She first auditioned "many years ago", when she was a teenager. Since then, she has joined pageants, including Miss Singapore International 2007, where she came in fourth.
She has also shot advertisements for designer brands Kate Spade and Moschino by responding to calls for models in newspapers.
Her friend suggested she join New Face again this year, since the age limit has been removed.
Miss Kho said: "The other contestants are very strong. They're sweet young things, they're pretty and have the height."
The ex-air stewardess struck up a conversation with a 19-year-old in the queue and felt the 11-year age gap was a bit "depressing".
She said: "Competing with teenagers is challenging, but I'll stay positive. It's a good experience."
And it worked. Miss Kho is one of the 94 chosen for the second round of this year's competition, which will be held on July 5.
This is when the competition will be whittled down to the Top 25.
The youngest to go through to Round 2 were both 13-year-olds.
Nuur Imaani Bee Lutfi, who is competing for the first time, said: "I'm shocked but happy. I didn't expect to get through."
The CHIJ Katong Convent student is a fan of the Next Top Model franchise.
Her father, Mr Lutfi Ahmad, 45, helped her to learn to walk in heels a few weeks before the audition.
Theresa Azcuna Smolens, also 13 and from CHIJ Katong Convent, was there with her parents and 12-year-old sister.
She decided to audition only the day before: "My mother was reading the newspaper and told me maybe I could apply. I wasn't sure I was old enough, but yesterday we found out there was no age requirement."
She hopes the New Face experience can help her enter the entertainment industry, like many alumni.
Her father, Mr Scott Smolens, 55, coached her for her catwalk.
He said: "Her mother won a beauty contest once. We know she wants to get into entertainment because she sings, dances and plays the piano."
Last year's winner, Noelle Woon, said: "It's a great turnout and the standards of the girls is above our expectations."
She and seven of last year's finalists were on site yesterday, demonstrating the catwalk and advising participants.
The 17-year-old said: "I'm guessing there's more competition this year. A lot of girls have the whole package."