SupermodelMe, the original Asian supermodel series, returns first and exclusively to DIVA on November 24. 12 aspiring models of Asian heritage will compete in a once-in-a-lifetime chance to advance their career in the fashion industry and returning for its fifth season now, SupermodelMe will be more explosive, with gruelling, fashion-forward challenges to be faced by the contestants.
This year, there will be plenty of guest judges on the show, including a few internationally renowned ones. The host, mentor, and judge for Season 3 as well as Season 4 of SupermodelMe, Lisa S, will also be accompanied by Ase Wang and Dominic Lau, who are both experienced in the entertainment and fashion industry.
At the press conference for SupermodelMe, we got the opportunity to speak to the gorgeous Lisa S about the show and we also learnt a little bit about herself. We were so honoured and the lovely lady was indeed fun to be with. Read on below!
Q: Of course, we know who you are, but can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your role on SupermodelMe?
L: My name is Lisa S and I’ve been modelling for over 20 years. I’m based in Hong Kong but I am now living in between America and Hong Kong. I have a daughter and I’m married to a guy named Daniel (Daniel Wu). I am the host, mentor and judge on SupermodelMe: Sirens.
Q: What can the viewers expect this season?
L: This season the viewers can expect more intense and crazier tasks. We put the girls through more difficult things physically. The fashion shoots are on an international level this year and we have some really cool guest judges including a couple of internationally renowned guest judges. Also, I have my two resident judges with me, Dominic Lau and Ase Wang, for the whole ride. So, you’re actually going to see a lot of banter and electricity between the three judges.
Q: Do you have an enemy on the judging panel?
L: Nobody. *laughs* Are you kidding?! Nobody, in the sense that my role as a judge is very middle of the road. I tend to try to be as positive as possible with everybody, so I don’t really have a lot of conflict.
Q: How will Season 5 be different compared to Season 3 and 4 when you were also the host?
L: I think we’ve gone into a bigger level. The production itself has gotten bigger. Obviously, we’re in a different country. Season 3 was in Singapore and Season 4 was in Hong Kong. Now, we’re shooting in Malaysia. Like I said, one big difference is that we have guest judges that are heavy weights in the entertainment and fashion business. Also, the girls are put through so much more this year. I think every year it’s going to get bigger and bigger. So, in that aspect, it’s definitely bigger this year compared to the previous years.
Q: How strict are you with the girls? How strict is SupermodelMe with the girls in terms of exercise, food and communication with the outside world?
L: No communication with the outside world, none whatsoever. That’s more done for the reason that they don’t want to divulge any information before we go to air, which is very important. This year, they have a fitness guru who works out with them every morning. They were eating so healthy this year. The food that they were getting had veggies and lean protein. It’s not that we’re strict with it. We’re instilling the idea in these girls that it is a must and a necessity. The only thing that they are militant about is no access to the outside world. No social media. They had phones to take pictures, but they had no Wi-Fi at all.
Q: Were the girls used to that?
L: For this generation, that’s terrifying. I’d be fine without my phone for the weekend. To me, a phone is not the be-all, end-all. I can wait till I get home to look at my phone. I’m sure that’s the most terrifying aspect, more so compared to the physical challenges and facing the judges. They only have the girls in the house and the crew. They probably get quite close to the crew as well because they are there everyday.
Q: How are the two judges, Dominic and Ase, going to add flair to SupermodelMe?
L: I think the three of us are so different in our judging styles. Our views are different. Ase is from the entertainment industry. She also modelled but now she’s an actress. Dom is a host. He’s also done some modelling but he’s like the heterosexual male view. He’s also a joker. I think it’s important to have three different views, because when all the judges have the same view on the fashion industry, it’s going to be quite boring.
I think Ase is kind of the resident hard-ass. I’m more of the mother hen. I’m the nice one. I’m with them on a daily basis and I’m with them on their photo shoots. I fully believe that my job is not to make them feel bad about themselves. My job is to prep them up emotionally and physically. My job is to give them confidence and to get the best performance out of them that you can get. My job is not to be there to belittle them. Also, when I’m judging them, I’m going to be honest and I can find something good in everybody. So, I can find something good in your picture. As a model, you have to find something good. Otherwise, you’re going to be so down. Modelling is hard. So, I want to be the positive influence.
Q: How was casting this year?
L: Casting every year is quite difficult because you get so many submissions as well as great personalities. Obviously, when you first start off, you look at their looks. Then, trickle it down to whose personalities clash and whose personalities get along. At the end of the day, we’re shooting reality. You still have to have interesting people in the house. It’s a long gruelling process.
Q: What about the variety when it comes to the looks of the girls this year?
L: There’s a huge variety actually. There are some girls who are just very Asian-looking. We have some girls who are half-Asian but look a little bit more Caucasian or Western. The looks are completely diverse. Their skin colours are also different.
Q: Do you have a favourite?
L: Not really. I have a group of favourites. Every year before the show starts we all kind of sit around and guess who’s going to be in the top four. Every year, I’m wrong. This year I was pretty close, but I did not get the winner correct. Every year I would have four or five favourites that I would think are going to go far.
Q: Are there going to be photo challenges in every episode?
L: Yes. In every episode there will be a sports task in the beginning and the photo shoot comes after. Finally, there’s going to be judging.
Q: What is your favourite part about the show?
L: I think my favourite part is mentoring the young girls and giving them a little bit of advice I have learnt along the way. Advice that I wish someone gave me. I really enjoy being that person that they hopefully can look to for answers or at least a little bit of help. I enjoy that. Otherwise, what would I do with all this knowledge? It’s just a perfect outlet.
Q: With your experience in the modelling industry, what is the one message you would like to pass on to the girls?
L: Believe in yourself and know what your pluses are. There was one model who oozes sex appeal like you wouldn’t believe. It’s shocking how sexy she is. When we brought it up on the set, she goes, “What? I’m sexy?” Just know what your strengths are and use those to your advantage. Don’t pretend to be something that you’re not. Know yourself. If not, you’re going to get eaten alive in this business. You’re going to feel like sh*t.
Q: How are you juggling your career at the moment, while being a mother and also being busy with SupermodelMe? What about VJ-ing?
L: No more VJ-ing. I’m a little too old to be doing that. I really miss being a VJ. I loved that job. It was my favourite job ever. I loved being the music person. It was so much fun and we got to go to such cool, fun places. Going to concerts and meeting cool musicians was very fun. It felt more glamorous in a way.
Recently, we’ve been lucky because when my husband’s working, I’m usually not working, and vice versa. We’ve been able to balance it out. Basically, you have to put your child first. Your child is the centre of your schedule and you slot everything else in after. To be honest, it’s everything and everybody else first and then you’re last. I, personally, kind of want to work right now, while my daughter is not in school. As soon as she starts going to school, I’m really going to slow it down. School takes up a lot of time for the parents as well, with meetings and clubs. So, I want to work right now.
Q: What’s in store for you in the future?
L: SupermodelMe Season 6. I’ve got a couple jobs here and there. Nothing on TV right now except for this show again next year. TV in Asia is interesting because it’s always done on a project by project basis whereas in the States, you sign a contract and you work for a network. I used to work at FOX International so I had a contract with them and I worked across the board. Now, it’s just project by project. You don’t know what project you’re going to work on until about a month before it starts. So, I’ve done a couple of auditions for this and that. I’ve been called back. All I can do right now is wait and see. However, right now, it’s so nice to know that I have nothing set in stone on the horizon. Like, anything is possible right now, which is totally awesome.
SupermodelMe: Sirens premieres 24th November 2014, Mondays at 8pm, first and exclusively on DIVA (Astro Channel 702).