If you hear of a Guess girl, supermodels like Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford and Kate Upton come to mind.
So it was a dream come true for former The New Paper New Face finalist Lisah Suhaimi, 23, when she nabbed the runner-up spot in the Southeast Asia Guess Girl Model Search 2015 on Sept 18.
She won US$8,000 (S$11,200) in cash, vouchers and prizes, including the chance fly to Los Angeles next month to shoot the Guess Spring 2016 lookbook and Guess Spring Summer 2016 magazine for Southeast Asia.
"I'm really excited about going to Los Angeles, as I've never been to the States," Lisah, who is 1.7m tall, told The New Paper.
"It's an honour to be a Guess girl, as it conjures up an image of a powerful, very sexy female embracing womanhood. It's that vintage pin-up girl look that is so iconic."
The Guess Girl Model Search has been run in North America, Japan and China for the past few years, and was brought to Southeast Asia for the first time this year.
The competition saw four female finalists each, aged 16 years and above, selected from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
The finals were held as a private event in Jakarta, where Indonesian model Bunga Jelitha Ibrani, 24, took the winning title and US$10,000 in prizes.
Out of Singapore's four Guess Girl Model Search finalists, three - Lisah, Diya Prabhakar, 16, and Jasmine Sim, 22 - are New Face alumni.
Diya won the New Face title last year and Sim was the first runner-up.
Since taking part in New Face in 2011, Lisah has taken a diploma in law and management from Temasek Polytechnic and has been working as a full-time paralegal, in addition to pursuing a law degree part-time from the University of London via distance learning and being a freelance model.
"Yes, it's hard to balance all these things," she admitted. "I often do modelling jobs after work at 6pm, during lunch time or on weekends. It's very hectic, but I enjoy the rush of keeping myself busy. After all, I have to make the most of my time while I'm young. I probably won't be able to model when I'm in my 40s."
Her New Face experience has been invaluable to her, creating opportunities which led to the Guess gig.
"New Face has a very strong reputation, so a lot of people in the fashion industry accept a New Face finalist as having legitimate modelling credentials. It was easy for me to get assignments after the competition, and it was there that I learned how to do a proper catwalk and my angles for photo shoots."
On the other hand, law is her passion, and she intends to specialise in corporate law or intellectual property law on graduation in 2018. Modelling is her way of earning money for school, while having some fun.
Both she and Ibrani were handpicked by Paul Marciano, chief creative officer of Guess Inc, because he believed them to be the strongest contestants representing the beauty of Southeast Asia.
"They also (possess) the young, sexy and adventurous qualities we seek in our contestants," he told TNP in a statement.
This article was first published on October 12, 2015.
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