Hairstylist's ad leads to Rachel's biggest story

What seemed at first like a badly written advertisement for Singaporean hairstylist Jonal Chong turned out to be the source of my paper journalist Rachel Chan's biggest news story last year.

It led Ms Chan, 29, to write an article on how Mr Chong's claims of having styled the hair of celebrities were suspect.

The article earned her a nomination for a Special Award for Excellence at Singapore Press Holdings' (SPH's) annual English & Malay Newspapers Division Newscom awards. The awards ceremony was held yesterday.

Ms Chan had spotted the ad in question in January last year, which featured Mr Chong on the red carpet at the Emmys.

Alarm bells went off in her head as she sensed that something was amiss. The ad, with terrible grammar, also claimed that Mr Chong styled the hair of actress Katherine Heigl and actor Hugh Grant.

"How could a Hollywood- grade stylist possibly put in such a poorly written ad to the newspaper?" she said.

After some checks, Ms Chan and her husband found pictures of the hairstylist posing with actress Nicole Kidman - pictures which turned out to be fake.

Her expose of Mr Chong's claims led to investigations by the Consumers Association of Singapore.

While Ms Chan did not win an award in the end, she still felt honoured to be nominated.

"I wanted people to know the truth about Jonal Chong, that his extravagant claims were false," she said.

reicow@sph.com.sg


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