In February, we received exciting news that our beloved bridal reality show, Say Yes To The Dress, would be arriving on Asian shores! Following the news, leading entertainment and lifestyle destination TLC recently confirmed that Malaysian personalities, renowned fashion designer Jovian Mandagie and television presenter/actress Daphne Iking will be hosting the Asian debut of Say Yes To The Dress.
The series will be filmed in Klang Valley, Malaysia, and will highlight the variety of unique cultures within Southeast Asia, the heartfelt stories behind picking THE dream dress backed by the blessings of loved ones. As Daphne and Jovian took a break from filming, we were one of the lucky ones who were able to sit and chat with Jovian and Daphne on the set of Say Yes To The Dress Asia.
Q: How does it feel to be the hosts of Say Yes To The Dress Asia?
D: Of course, when I got the call I was so excited. This is the show that I love watching. When they first mooted the idea of the casting I was like “Are you for real?!” and then I was like, “Okay just chill because what are the chances of them picking hosts from different regions?” When it was finally decided I was like “OH MY GOD!”.
But I’m really sad that my dad is not here to share the news because my dad wanted me to pursue something else in life and this is one of the biggest gigs in my career and so I’m definitely excited. And I’m working with Jovian, who played a pivotal role in my very own journey in finding the wedding dress of my dreams!
J: Well, I’m very honoured to be on the show, it’s definitely a dream come true. I love hosting but it isn’t my day job, I’m a full time designer but I love doing hosting. I was hosting Mahligai Cinta about 3 years ago but took a sabbatical to grow my F&B businesses. When I got the call for Say Yes To The Dress Asia, I was jumping from excitement and going “Oh my god, is this for real?!”. So yes, I’m glad to be back hosting.
Q: When did you get the call?
J: About 3 months ago. We went through quite a thorough and intense casting process where we had to be paired with a few other hosts from different regions until I got to know that I would be pairing with Daphne. I guess that was the click because everyone saw the chemistry and I’m very happy to be able to work with Daphne as we’ve been friends for the past 10 years.
D: When we’re on set it’s like a reunion! On set we’re always having a blast. We’ve got different brides with different stories and such an amazing production crew so everyone’s having fun all the time!
Q: As Say Yes To The Dress Asia is a reality TV series, what are the challenges in your role?
D: I think the good thing about Say Yes To The Dress Asia is that it’s a reality show so we just go with what is happening at that point. There was one episode where it was very emotional for the bride and me because we sort of related to having lost a parent to cancer recently. So naturally, I broke down and she broke down and the camera rolled and I was like “They’re so going to get me fired for this,” but they didn’t because that’s the reality of the show.
I’d like to think that I’m making a friend out of the bride and I’m talking to a friend. These things happen when you’re talking to a friend and she’s unloading to you and emotions take place. In the end it’s reality TV, so I’m glad that they just let it roll and let it be a part of the story.
J: My perspective is a little different from Daphne’s, Daphne has done a lot of shows and reality TV but for me, this is my first time hosting reality TV and my main challenge is making sure that I am being real to myself, to the brides and the camera. Producers are also always telling me “Jovian, remember, you’re off-stage, you’re real!”
A part from that, I’m having so much fun because whatever we face here is pretty much what I face every day with my clients – it’s what makes solving issues for brides on Say Yes To The Dress Asia feel completely natural for me.
Q: What can viewers expect from the first season of Say Yes To The Dress Asia?
J: I think what makes Say Yes To The Dress Asia different than its Western counterparts is the diverse ethnicity and cultures we feature. Asia is a melting pot of different races and this makes us unique. In Malaysia, we’re not just separated into 3 major groups (Chinese, Malay, Indian) so it’s interesting to see episodes featuring a Kadazan bride or brides of different cultures.
On top of the different ethnic groups, I’m also very happy that we get to share with the world how colourful Asian weddings really are – it’s not always about that white dress.
D: I also think the first season is going to really interesting because unlike the Western counterparts of Say Yes To The Dress where brides are a little more outspoken, here the Asian culture is prevalent where most of us are more reserved and are likely to whisper “I can’t say that to my mother-in-law, that’s so horrible, I can’t!”
It’s really interesting to watch the behind the scene interviews and listening to what they really want to say, but not in front of people they don’t want to offend. So I feel that is part of the living drama and this reflects our Asian culture and how we’re quite well-mannered when it comes to communicating with our elders.
Q: In your opinion, what is the perfect wedding dress supposed to look like?
D: I’m quite practical in a sense that, for me, it’s always about comfort over anything else. The main factor that I look for when I was looking for a wedding dress was always about comfort and budget. I always stuck to my budget, that’s important for me.
J: For me, the perfect dress should make you feel confident. It’s an indescribable feeling when a bride finds the perfect dress and she puts it on, looks at herself in the mirror and everyone in the room feels it – it’s like magic. To me, if you’re feeling absolutely confident and good about yourself in that dress, that’s the perfect dress.
Q: If you had any advice at all to brides to be who are looking for the perfect dress, what would it be?
J: You need to know what you need. You need to know your concept, location, and the crowd. Not knowing these important aspects of your wedding will make you lost and you might end up with the wrong dress. For example, you can’t host a traditional outdoor wedding and wear contemporary stuff, it doesn’t look right!
D: You can have well-meaning advice from people who know and you know will give honest feedback and that’s great. But at the end of the day, it boils down to how you feel. To me, if it feels right, go for it. Many brides they go to the fitting and immediately go “Yes, this is the dress! This totally it!” and then the bridal party goes “Oh, it doesn’t look very good.” and they find themselves agreeing to these opinions and crumbling. So focus on you – it’s about you, yourself and how you feel.
J: And learn how to use Pinterest! It’s so helpful. Start a mood board, do your research because you’re going to need it before you say yes to the dress!