Asia's Next Top Model on being pressured to get plastic surgery to look pan-Asian

Asia's Next Top Model on being pressured to get plastic surgery to look pan-Asian
Dyeing her hair blonde last April was a smart move that earned her a second look from the producers of the TV reality contest.

Ever since she began shooting commercials at the age of 15, Chinese Malaysian model Sheena Liam has felt the industry's pressures to go under the plastic surgeon's knife, she says.

"The industry in Malaysia tends to prefer the Caucasian or Pan-Asian look. I've been pressured to get plastic surgery done to look, you know, more beautiful.

"A lot of people get things done, bigger eyes, higher nose bridges. It was never my goal to be more beautiful. It's my goal to be more myself."

Sticking to her guns has paid off for the 1.73m-tall lass - she has just won the second season of the reality TV competition, Asia's Next Top Model, and will get a shot at treading the international catwalks and grace magazine covers - with her own natural- born looks, of course.

"If I were to be famous for being a model, I would want people to like me for the way I look," says Liam, 22. She was talking to Life! on the telephone from her hometown of Kajang, a suburb outside Kuala Lumpur, just before the finale aired yesterday.

She beat 15 finalists from 12 countries, including Singapore, South Korea and the Philippines to win a three-month modelling contract with the Storm Model Management in the United Kingdom and Europe and also a new Subaru car, among other prizes.

In the finale that was aired last night on Star World (StarHub TV Channel 501, SingTel mio TV Channel 301), she outshone Filipinas Jodilly Ignacio Pendre, 20, and Katarina Sonja Rodriguez, 21.

Her long-flowing golden locks gave her the winning edge, she says.

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