Asia’s award-winning modeling competition Supermodelme: Sirens is back for its fifth season! And based on what we heard at the exclusive media preview, it will be an unforgettable season!
Hosted by the resident judge supermodel Lisa Selesner, aka Lisa S together with E! News Asia presenter Dominic Lau and Singaporean-born, Thai-based model Ase Wang on the judging panel, these seasoned models will guide and mentor all the 12 contestants to international stardom.
Malaysia is represented by Kea Lee, 21, and who is also among this year’s roster of finalists for SupermodelMe, The Original Asian Supermodel Series. The show will basically follow 12 aspiring models of Asian heritage competing for the coveted title and of course, to get their once-in a lifetime opportunity to get a step up in the fashion industry.
This season is set to be an explosive, most revealing one yet. This year, it is aptly dubbed SupermodelMe Sirens as it promises to break new ground on its quest for the ultimate supermodel. The show is set in our very own beautiful city, Kuala Lumpur. If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll be glad to know that this season will not disappoint. There will be plenty to ogle and marvel at, as well as some crazy casting calls and photo shoots involved exotic birds, cat fights on moving vehicles and more!
Taking a break from her duties as a judge and mentor of Supermodelme: Sirens, Lisa S had a chat with us on how things have evolved in the modeling industry:
VB: What do you look for in a supermodel besides the obvious, their looks?
LS: The girls have to look good because after all, this is about being a model. However, for me personally, it’s not all about beauty. I look for diversity and well-roundedness in a person. I particularly look for someone with a high EQ, who is able to not only carry herself well but speaks well. She needs to be able to adapt in any and every situation. And ideally, I’m looking for someone who is able to host, act, model, basically be the whole package.
VB: Are you involved in the creative process of the show?
LS: I am very involved in the show overall, especially when it comes to the girls. I’m not just the judge. I’m their mentor so I mentor them, talk to them, encourage them and help them emotionally. There were quite a bit of tears this season. These girls are young and being in a show like this is not easy. It can be a lot of pressure – mentally, emotionally and even physically. So, I am very involved in their lives. When you spend so many hours with them, you can’t help but care for them.
As for the creative process, I’m not that involved in it as they have people specifically for that. However, I am involved in a different sense with the creative process. For example, during a shoot, I am involved in the styling or the getting the right “look”for the photo. I want the girls to look good whenever I bring their photos to the panel for judging. Thus, I need to be able to draw them out of their shell and do the best I possibly can to get them to give their all. Essentially, to bring it each and every time!
VB: What is the difference to the fashion industry here in Asia compared to the fashion industry in Western countries?
LS: Having modeled and worked in the States, I can tell you that working there and working here in Asia is really quite different. For one, social manners are so different in Asia. People are more polite, friendly and generally quite nice wherever you go. Be it to a corner street stall or to a restaurant, people are polite and well, just nice. I also find that respect for people in general and for their elders is more prominent here. I’m not saying that people in the States don’t respect people but it’s different here, it’s another level which I don’t find much in other places. People in Asia also value their culture which also shows in the way they’re brought up and how they conduct themselves.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that people have reverence to pioneers in whatever industry they’re in. You don’t get that so much over there. This is also another level of respect that I mean. The work ethic in Asia is great. People here come to work on time, they’re ready to work and finish the job. No 9-5 or weekend limitations. Meaning, if the job requires a bit out of them, there are generally no complaints and they just get it done. I find people here also like to be productive and it shows in their work ethic,which I think it is great!
VB: How was it different from when you first started modeling?
LS: It has come a long way. Fashion has now become reachable to the every man. It’s not like when how it was in the 80’s or the 90’s, where models were these beautiful Amazonian almost mystical-like creatures and put on pedestals. I have to admit that I do miss that side at times because the models then were truly amazing at what they did and how they’ve become pioneers in the industry. But it’s also good to see how fashion has evolved over the years. It’s created more avenues to become more attainable and that’s also a good thing.
VB: Women can be tough on other women as a whole. What is your advise to aspiring models and how do they overcome this negative school of thought?
LS: You are so right! Women are great but they can also be the harshest critics. I feel that it’s actually so important that women should support each other. It’s frankly tough enough for all of us out there, so I tell the girls not to knock each other down. Sure, there will always be personality clashes but one doesn’t have to be mean about it. I hate passive aggressiveness as well. It is always best to be upfront and stand up for yourself. Be clear about things because if you don’t, you won’t know where you stand and in this industry, you need to know where you stand in order to be able to deliver appropriately.
Hold and conduct yourself with class and dignity. I try to impart this to the girls and that would be my advise to any aspiring model. It’s a very tough industry to break into. One has to be tough yet soft when the time calls for it. Hence, why I said the need for high EQ is crucial in a supermodel.
VB: Tough love. Do you give it and is it received well?
LS: I do believe tough love needs to be there. Constructive criticism is important for personal development too. I don’t do tough love that often but I will certainly do it if and when it’s needed. I’d say that I believe in being politically correct. I’m nice. I don’t like to bring people down as a whole. That’s not what my job is in this show. I am their mentor so I will try to bring out the best in each and every one of them.
VB: How is SupermodelMe set apart from the rest of the modeling reality TV shows out there?
LS: It’s not a franchise from another brand. It’s the first original Asian show fully created in Asia, and I think that’s why it’s so popular, because people want to see things that they can relate to and to of course, support local productions too. SupermodelMe is different because we also focus on health and fitness. We don’t want overtly skinny girls. We want them to be fit, healthy and to be able to carry clothes and themselves well.
They need to be fit and healthy. So, eating well and eating right is part of the job, so to speak. Being fit and at their optimum best for their body type is vital to build their endurance. Modeling can be tiring because you can be in awkward position for a long time and you may need your core muscles to hold and sustain you in that position. It’s not just about being a pretty face. It’s more than that and we never waver from that aim when looking for the ultimate supermodel.
Catch SupermodelMe: Sirens every Monday at 8pm, starting the 24th of November 2014, exclusively on DIVA (Astro Ch702).