Catfights, tears, spite and plenty of drama.
These are ingredients that often make for good reality television.
At times, the nasty conflicts in reality TV shows might appear scripted.
That is what SupermodelMe Season 5 contestant Sharin Keong thought before she joined the reality modelling television series.
Her impression quickly changed after shooting began.
The New Paper New Face 2012 winner told The New Paper: "There is no acting involved. Before, when I watched other modelling series, I thought it would be scripted. Maybe they would give a certain person this particular character, but what you see in the show is what really happens."
Called SupermodelMe Sirens, the latest season debuts on Nov 24 at 8pm on Diva (StarHub Channel 513).
The series has 12 aspiring female models of Asian parentage taking on physically demanding challenges and competing to further their careers in the cutthroat industry.
The winner will receive $35,000 and other prizes from key sponsors, the chance to grace covers of leading fashion magazines, and a contract with an international modelling agency.
Singapore is represented in the series by Keong and Shi Lim, who was Miss Universe Singapore 2013.
Television hosts Dominic Lau and Lisa Selesner and model-actress Ase Wang are the resident judges on the show.
Keong, 22, a full-time childcare teacher, said that staying in the same house with 11 other female contestants inadvertently brings out the tension among contestants.
"Maybe for some, being bitchy is a strategy. For me, I don't think there was any incident that forced me to be bitchy. I'm just being myself. (This competition) did not bring out the worst in me," said the freelance model, who is 1.72m tall and weighs 50kg.
Her peers had different expectations of the outspoken contestant before the competition.
"Friends thought I would be one who would start a fight because they think I'm bitchy," she revealed, admitting that she "can be".
Keong said she did not get into any fights on the show.
But, she said: "Once, I was injured pretty badly and it affected my photo shoot. But I was left alone by myself while everyone did their own things. No one came forward to help me.
"That was also when I realised that it's 'game on' for these girls and it's every woman for herself."
She also revealed that some contestants thought she was faking her injury to gain the sympathy of the judges.
Keong had joined the competition prepared for the mental and emotional challenges.
"I knew what I was getting into, but I wanted to use this as a platform for me to venture out. I don't want to be constrained here. I want to go to Bangkok, Hong Kong or Milan," said the ambitious model.
Since her win in the TNP New Face competition in 2012, she has been on the runway at Digital Fashion Week Singapore and Fide Fashion Week and she fronted a campaign for local brand Giordano last year.
"I won the TNP New Face competition so I know I have the substance to be a good model... why not try?" she said candidly.
The competition in TNP New Face and SupermodelMe was different, she said.
"SupermodelMe's contestants were already in the industry and experienced while TNP New Face saw modelling newbies or first timers. It was (more pressurising) because I really need to step up my game to get somewhere in the competition," she explained.
Her advantage in SupermodelMe?
Keong says it is her oriental look.
"I was hoping it would bring me to the Top 3 at least or maybe even lead me to win the competition. The winners are usually Caucasians...I thought, let me be the turning point," she said.
This article was first published on Nov 10, 2014.
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