Catwalk Dreams

Translation By: 
Alice Kok
圖 Photos Eduardo Martins
In May, Macau played host to the 10th edition of the World Supermodel Production

Last month, Macau played host to the 10th edition of the World Supermodel Production, an international competition seeking to identify the next hot talent in the world of modeling.  

In total, some 40 models from 26 countries and regions, as well as their international production crew, converged on the city for a busy week of photoshoots, media events and catwalks, culminating in a final crowning ceremony of the winner.  

Local up-and-coming model Annabelle Lin represented Macau at the event, wearing designs by Macau fashion designer Nicole Tam.  On the big night, Annabelle made it into the top 14 finalists and was ultimately crowned Best Swimwear model.  

In this feature, we speak to Annabelle about her experience, as well as the organisers of the event, and other local professionals in the modeling and fashion sector to get their insights into this growing industry.

“It was a very valuable experience,” says Annabelle Lin, when we meet up with her after busy week of participating in the World Supermodel Production that was held in Macau from May 22 to 27.  “The instructors taught us how to walk on the catwalk better and interact with the cameras.  Working with the photographers was a challenge as they were very professional and really pushed me to give my best”.

For the 21-year-old Communications major at University of Macau, this was a unique opportunity to be involved in an event of international scale, especially since she has only been modeling part-time for a year or two.

“My roommates were from South Africa and Russia, and we lived together for the whole seven days.  It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot from them,” she says.

Looking at the images from the event, it’s easy to think it was just a fun-filled week of glamour and makeup, but Annabelle quickly puts this idea to rest.

“It was a long week, waking up at 5am and getting back to the hotel at 1am every day.  It was my first time to attend such a competition and I had to focus on staying healthy and being full of energy every day,” she explains.

“Annabelle actually lost weight during the week!” adds local designer Nicole Tam, who had to refit her outfits towards the end of the programme in order for them to fit properly.

Indeed the grueling schedule actually became too much for some of the contestants, who got sick during the week and had to pull out.

As well as her youthful beauty, it was her personality and maturity that helped her win the chance to represent Macau at this event, explains Rosina Tang, the Managing Director of Meridian Concepts, a local event and production company who picked Annabelle from around 20 contenders.

“I’ve been involved in many conferences and events, and I know how stressful they can be, especially for a young girl, only 21.  She has a good personality and I knew she could handle the stress,” notes Rosina. “Of course, looks are important, she’s very beautiful and can present herself well and speak English, but personality and mindset are very important.”

Meridin Concepts, run by Rosina and her partner Edmund Wong, was approached by the organisers of the World Supermodel Production in April, to help with some of the production of the event and also to help select a model to represent Macau.  

“World Supermodel Production was a very good show.  It’s definitely beneficial to have this type of event in Macau, so young girls like Annabelle have an opportunity to participate and interact with girls and designers from around the world,” she comments. “I do hope we can have more international events like this so local models and fashion designers can get exposure and be seen by an international audience.

Annabelle concurs: “Macau is a small city and it can be hard to find a lot of opportunities to work here as a model.  I enjoying being on stage and wearing beautiful dresses.  I think it a dream of every young girl.”

 

 

 

OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL 

 

Having events like this one doesn’t just present opportunities for the models. It is also a good chance for local event companies to prove their capabilities on an international stage.

“It’s a very valuable experience for everyone involved, even us,” says Rosina. “Working with an international crew, we had to be very professional. They only arrived one day before the start of the event, so if we were not professional enough, the whole thing would not have worked.” 

“I think this is more proof that locally we can provide professionalism to support events at an international level. This is a message we need to promote so we can help young talented people”. 

Rosina acknowledges that the government is doing some things to attract international events to Macau, and to develop local talent. In the modeling field she particularly highlights the Macau Centre for Productivity and Technology Transfer (CPTTM).

“CPTTM has been nurturing many young people in production and modeling and giving chances to them.  Modeling is a growing industry in Macau. Before, models could only really work part-time here, but now some are having the chance to make it their full-time profession.”

CPTTM also had some involvement in the World Supermodel Production, with the senior manager and head of the Creative Fashion and Image Department, Victoria Alexa Kuan being invited to be one of the judges on the final night of the event.

“It was a good event and I think we should have more of this kind of event in Macau to help locals know more about the modeling industry and fashion industry,” Ms Kuan says.  “There were models from so many different countries and places and actually the standard of the models was good. The standard of the overall production was also quite high, with the lighting and filming.  They brought many people with them so it was a good chance for us to show off Macau to them.”

Victoria added to the event her own extensive experience in judging various competitions. For the past 15 years she has been a chief expert at the WorldSkills Competition, a vocational education and skills excellence event for people under the age of 23. Despite her many years of judging though, even she felt it was a learning experience.

“They had a very clear guidebook for the judges. I had to sign that I would work honestly and with integrity, so I was veryhappy with that. 

Everything was very clear and documented.  For all the criteria they also had sub-criteria, so it was a good experience for me also, because I’ve never judged models like this, so I learned a lot.”

Judging so many models was a challenge, but Victoria humbly admits that she did indeed choose the model who ultimately won the top prize, Mongolian model Alongoo Tungalagtamir.  And what did she think of our local entry? 

“Annabelle was very pretty and I think she has a good future. It was a good chance for her to take part in this kind of event and get to meet models from around the world,” observes Victoria.  “If Macau can participate in this type of international modeling competition more in the future, I think we should do more local competitions for the models to get them more well-prepared.”  

 

 

A GROWING INDUSTRY

 

Victoria admits that it has not always been easy for aspiring models to find work in a small town like Macau, but these days things are changing. 

“Now we are a city of conventions and conferences so we need a lot of people who can do this, not just catwalk modeling; wedding exhibitions, gaming exhibitions, we need a lot of attractive people to present things. So if you are well-prepared then you can have a bright future.”

“If you are in the industry, there is also tons of work in mainland China and in Hong Kong.  If you are good enough they can even send you to Paris.  We actually have some local models who we trained who are already doing this, so we are very proud of them,” she adds.

Herman Leong is the sales and marketing director of Vogue Model Agency Macau, which has been running for almost 14 years.  He also agrees that there are many opportunities for those interested in getting into the modeling industry in Macau.

“Over the years, we have had a number of models signed exclusively and every month and even every week they were working, at corporate events, photoshoots, video promotions, both here and in Hong Kong,” he notes. “There are lots of opportunities if you are good enough and take it seriously.” 

In particular, as Macau becomes a popular destination for shopping and high-end retail, this has opened more possibilities.  In just the past six months, Vogue has provided models for events by such brands as Swatch, DFS, Estee Lauder, Van Clef & Arpels, Rado, Omega, Cartier and GAP.

“In the past five years, a lot of famous brands have been having local openings and doing local promotions, whether it’s a photoshoot or a proper catwalk, and now in particular, many retail brands are becoming more active in doing promotional events,” Herman adds.

And he has some advice for anyone who wants to succeed in the industry: “It’s not just the glamorous side. It’s a lot of hard work.  You must be willing to learn from others and observe carefully.” 

Victoria Kuan also has some suggestions:

“I always say to our students, being a model is not just about having a good body. You have to learn a lot of different skills, for example, you should learn something about playing golf, so if you have the chance to model at a golfing event, you can have the correct posture and stance.  Learn to ski so you can do skiing photoshoots.  And if your language skills are good then you will be more presentable,” she offers.  

And the benefits of succeeding in modeling are not just in the short term. 

“If you have good management skills, then one day you can start your own modeling company or PR company.  The career is not just today while you are pretty and young, but also longer term. I always say modeling is a good way to get confidence.  Even if in a few years you are not a model, it can still help with speaking and being self-confident,” notes Victoria.

Victoria admits that it has not always been easy for aspiring models to find work in a small town like Macau, but these days things are changing. 

“Now we are a city of conventions and conferences so we need a lot of people who can do this, not just catwalk modeling; wedding exhibitions, gaming exhibitions, we need a lot of attractive people to present things. So if you are well-prepared then you can have a bright future.”

“If you are in the industry, there is also tons of work in mainland China and in Hong Kong.  If you are good enough they can even send you to Paris.  We actually have some local models who we trained who are already doing this, so we are very proud of them,” she adds.

Herman Leong is the sales and marketing director of Vogue Model Agency Macau, which has been running for almost 14 years.  He also agrees that there are many opportunities for those interested in getting into the modeling industry in Macau.

“Over the years, we have had a number of models signed exclusively and every month and even every week they were working, at corporate events, photoshoots, video promotions, both here and in Hong Kong,” he notes. “There are lots of opportunities if you are good enough and take it seriously.” 

In particular, as Macau becomes a popular destination for shopping and high-end retail, this has opened more possibilities.  In just the past six months, Vogue has provided models for events by such brands as Swatch, DFS, Estee Lauder, Van Clef & Arpels, Rado, Omega, Cartier and GAP.

“In the past five years, a lot of famous brands have been having local openings and doing local promotions, whether it’s a photoshoot or a proper catwalk, and now in particular, many retail brands are becoming more active in doing promotional events,” Herman adds.

And he has some advice for anyone who wants to succeed in the industry: “It’s not just the glamorous side. It’s a lot of hard work.  You must be willing to learn from others and observe carefully.” 

Victoria Kuan also has some suggestions:

“I always say to our students, being a model is not just about having a good body. You have to learn a lot of different skills, for example, you should learn something about playing golf, so if you have the chance to model at a golfing event, you can have the correct posture and stance.  Learn to ski so you can do skiing photoshoots.  And if your language skills are good then you will be more presentable,” she offers.  

And the benefits of succeeding in modeling are not just in the short term. 

“If you have good management skills, then one day you can start your own modeling company or PR company.  The career is not just today while you are pretty and young, but also longer term. I always say modeling is a good way to get confidence.  Even if in a few years you are not a model, it can still help with speaking and being self-confident,” notes Victoria.

 

 

LOCAL DESIGNS

 

The World Supermodel Production was not just about the models.  It also placed an emphasis on the contestants wearing outfits designed by talent from their home countries and regions.  Macau’s representative Anabelle Lin wore outfits created by local designer Nicole Tam, founder of her recent startup company ANtitled Ltd.   And it required all her creative inspiration to get everything ready in just two weeks. 

“I had one night to decide if I could pull this off.  I had to think of three outfits, but I thought I could do it,” explains Nicole. 

The only information she was given was that the outfits had to be a ‘business theme’.  And to make things even more challenging, at the time she began designing the outfits, she didn’t even know who the model would be.

“I started without measuring the model as she hadn’t been chosen yet.  Later I got the measurements and went to the factory in China and pushed them to finish in 5 days.” 

Describing her idea for the business wear, Nicole explains: “The ‘One belt and one road’ is a hot topic at the moment so that was the inspiration for the belt design.  It had a special print with a lotus flower design to represent Macau, so kind of celebrating the whole idea of connecting with girls from the rest of the world.

“The evening wear is also inspired by a mens’ suit.  The lapel has a very dramatic flower petal shape, together with like a pants suit.  I was trying to make her look different because I know that at these events everyone wears very similar outfits like dresses. So I wanted to be different and fit the business theme.”

 

 

GLOBAL BEAUTY

 

The World Supermodel Production held its tenth annual event in Macau last month, bringing 40 models from 26 regions to the city for a week of catwalks featuring local designer creations, swimwear, bridal wear and evening wear.  Contestants came from all across the globe including the UK, Norway, Ukraine, Russia, India, Fiji, Namibia, Cape Verde and China. 

The overall winner of the event was 18-year-old Mongolian model Alongoo Tungalagtamir,  who took home a prize of 5,000 Australian dollars or around 30,000 patacas.  Alongoo also has a chance to appear in the upcoming musical film ‘The Art of the Hustle’.
 
“All the other contestants were from so many different countries, but everyone was so friendly and supportive.  That’s what I enjoyed the most about the week,” she said after the event.
 
“The goal of World Supermodel Production is to create or find who the next supermodel is. We have a fashion component, we have a photographic component – an underwater photo shoot this year – and we have fun component, activities like at Macau Tower,” explains the director and executive producer of the Australian-based event company, Gavin Dooley. “We have an adult section and a teen section, but they are all judged the same way,” he adds.
 
This year’s winner Alongoo, actually won both the teen title and the overall competition.
 
Previous editions of the event have been held in South Africa and Fiji. Gavin, who used to be an executive producer for the Miss Universe pageant and who also runs the Miss Teen Australia event, acknowledges that the old style of beauty pageants is not as popular as it once was.
 
“A lot of traditional pageants are built on the old Miss World formula, but the world is changing very quickly and people are getting bored with the same stuff.  Miss Universe and Miss World are facing problems of declining viewership for the first time in 50 or 60 years.  
 
“World Supermodel Production is completely different from any other contest.  It was designed like a reality show, but it’s a live show,” he explains. 
 
The event was broadcast by TDM in Macau and presented on the Go Indie TV Network online to around 70 countries.