SINGAPORE - Sexy model-DJ Tenashar has become the first Singaporean to rank among British dance music magazine DJ Mag's Top 100 DJs in the world - but not everyone is happy about it.
Tenashar, an FHM cover girl known for her racy outfits and bikinis, is also the only female solo artist to appear this year on the annual list, which recognises the most popular DJs globally.
The Singapore DJ ranked 87, beating some of the best in the industry, including English trance music veteran Paul Oakenfold (who came in at No. 92) and Italian progressive house DJ Benny Benassi (No. 89).
Of Spanish-Chinese descent and in her 20s, Tenashar goes by only her last name.
The former wine broker started professionally DJ-ing three years back and was a former resident DJ at nightclub Avalon at Marina Bay Sands.
She tells Life! over the telephone from Hong Kong, where she is now based: "When I got the news three weeks ago, I was crying and crying for two days... Singaporeans should be proud that I'm paving the way for Asian DJs and I've kind of put Singapore on the map." The last time a Singaporean DJ made the DJ Mag list was in 2006 and 2007, when former Zouk resident DJ Sonny made it to the top 200 list. He was the first South-east Asian DJ to achieve this distinction.
Topping the Top 100 list this year is Dutch DJ Hardwell, followed by Dutch DJ Armin Van Buuren (2) and Swedish house DJ Avicii (3). Tenashar, who has more than 323,000 fans following her on her Facebook fan page, has received dozens of congratulatory messages online following news of her achievement.
But the DJ is being slammed online by netizens who attribute her success to her sex rather than decks appeal.
Music blog EDMTunes published a post on Monday titled: "Tenashar proves that boobs can land you #87 on DJ Mag Top 100".
In her defence, Tenashar says: "Everyone successful gets a lot of criticism and the top 100 is genuine, determined by fan votes, and I've been campaigning massively for this."
She adds that her extensive touring around Asia in the past year, which has seen her "kind of live out of a suitcase", has helped her grow her fanbase. she says around 95 per cent of her fans are based in Asia.
She adds: "Everyone on the Top 100 list works hard, it's all touring... it's not about looks, it's about touring with quality music." She declined to say which clubs she has DJ-ed at in the past year, only that she has "toured every countries in Asia, except Cambodia and Nepal".
Mr Timothy Chia, head of marketing and events at Zouk nightclub, which has made it to top 5 in DJ Mag's Top 100 Clubs poll for the past two years, says of Tenashar's win: "It's certainly rare but at the same time, we're pleasantly surprised that a Singaporean DJ has made it to the Top 100 poll.
"Popularity does play a part and having a large number of people to actually log in to the poll to cast a vote is important too." He adds: "We're happy for her and hope that she won't be the last Singaporean DJ to enter the Top 100 DJs poll." The Top 100 DJs poll was started by DJ Mag in 1995, and is often considered the benchmark for DJs and clubs who book these artists. The poll attracts more than 350,000 votes a year from online users around the world.
Voting was done via Facebook and the voting period this year was from July 15 to Sept 15.
Tenashar says she hopes to start touring Europe and Australia, and plans to release two singles later this year.
She says: "I understand that there's been a lot of criticism about the way I look. But it doesn't mean that if you look a certain way, you can't DJ."
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