Asia New Face Model 2011: South Korea here we come

Asia New Face Model Search Malaysia 2011 winners (L-R) female model Wafa Johanna de Korte, male model Soo Xu Ze and runners-up Kurt Chin Ke Liang and Kao Yu Ling.

Two young and promising models, Wafa Johanna de Korte, 17, and Soo Xu Ze, 20, strutted their way down the catwalk to victory in the female and male category respectively at the grand finale of the inaugural Asia New Face Model Search (ANFMS) Malaysia 2011 competition held at Zouk Club Kuala Lumpur recently.

Together with runner-ups Kao Yu Ling, 21, (female model) and Kurt Chin Ke Liang, 18 (male model), the four will represent Malaysia for the annual Asia New Face Model Search (ANFMS) 2012, which will be held in conjunction with the prestigious 7th Asia Model Festival Awards in Seoul, South Korea on January next year.

(L-R) Wafa Johanna de Korte, Amber Chia, Benjamin Toong and Soo Xu Ze

“Yeah I’m really excited to have won,” said an extremely happy Wafa Johanna de Korte, a form five student from Beaconhouse Sri Inai; a private school in Petaling Jaya who is currently sitting for her SPM examination.

“I am very proud to represent my country for the first time in South Korea and hope to bring honour to the country.”

Wafa Johanna from Kuala Lumpur is of mixed Malay and Dutch parentage and is 5 feet 9 inches tall. She has been modeling part-time for about a year now and wants to be a full time model next year.  She hopes to become a famous international model like Amber Chia who is one of her role models. Her parents are supportive of her modelling career. In fact her mum was with her during the show.

The female finalists grace the catwalk with eye-catching couture wear by fashion designer Amir Luqman.

“I want to thank catwalk guru Benjamin Toong, Amber Chia, and the judges for choosing me to represent my country. I learned a lot during the boot camp like the catwalk training, discipline, how to carry yourself, how to be more confident among other things. They teach you so much that you can put your best foot forward.

“It’s a huge stepping stone going international. Going to South Korea and representing your country is a great exposure because when you are in a different country you learn new things which we don’t learn over here.”

Bare-chested male finalists strut on the runway dressed up in beach wear by Quiksilver.

For aspiring models, she said “I would tell them to listen to what people say. If you want to do something, try it out. There’s no harm in trying something out. That is what I do, I try and here I am today. So I would like to tell all other aspiring models – Try. Always try.”

The big crowd that packed the nightspot was amazed to see the 16 finalists, eight females and eight males battling out the fierce competition on three different runways. Walking the runway like a pro to loud applauses, the female and male finalists first paraded beach wear by Roxy and Quiksilver respectively; followed by casual wear by Salabianca and Philosophy Men; and finally a showdown of couture wear by Amir Luqman for the female and Keith Kee Couture for the males.

A female finalist sashaying with casual wear by Salabianca

For Soo Xu Ze, also from Kuala Lumpur and a second-year logistics and supply chain management student of Tunku Abdul Rahman College, he said he did not expect to win as he had only started part-time modelling this year but nevertheless was excited and looking forward to South Korea for the challenge.

“I want to become a famous model just like Benjamin Toong who is my role model. I really thank Benjamin and Amber for having taught me everything. I learned a lot of things like posing, catwalk, modeling attitude and confidence building on the runway, “ added Soo who stands at 6 feet 1 inch.

Both Wafa and Soo walked away with prizes worth over RM100,000 each and will have a chance to grace the cover of “Faces” – an entertainment and lifestyle magazine and “myc!” – an inter-university lifestyle magazine.

An exclusive performance by beat boxer Koujee (left) and singer Alexis Chean.

Daphne Iking hosted the show which started with the arrival of VIP guest of honour – the iconic fashion mentor and shoe designer Dato’ Jimmy Choo. Other notable celebrities who attended the evening included hair designer Winnie Loo and fashion designers Keith Kee and Amir Luqman.

Guests were also treated to performances by Malaysia Tag-Team Beat Box Battle 2011 champion Koujee and Astro Star Quest 2008 winner Alexis Chean.

Recognised: Jimmy Choo (centre) poses with Asia New Face Model Search Malaysia 2011 winners and runners-up (from left) Kurt Chin Ke Liang, Soo Xu Ze, Wafa Johanna de Korte and Kao Yu Ling

Among the judges were supermodel Amber Chia, catwalk guru Benjamin Toong and from South Korea were Korea Model Association (KMA) chairman Yang Eui-Sig, Korea Pro Makeup Association president Ahn Mee-Ryu and Korean supermodel and actress Lee Hwa-Seon.