Asia's Next Top Model's Malaysian contestant hits back at critical countrymen

PETALING JAYA: The sole Malaysian to qualify for the fourth cycle of Asia's Next Top Model (AsNTM) has struck back at critics who attacked her on social media as a Muslim taking part in a modelling competition.

Tuti, whose real name is Nuraini Noor, told British broadcaster BBC that while she respected everyone's opinions, she would continue to do her best in the competition.

"What really separates us is not skin colour nor religion. It's opportunity," she told the BBC in an email.

The Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, girl was reported as saying that she didn't like to put labels on anything and would continue to pursue her goal of becoming a top model.

"Different people have different point[s] of view and I am not in control of that. I respect each and everyone's opinion.

"I don't like to put labels on anything. I'm a citizen of the world. I'm that kind of girl who chase[s] her dreams," she said.

While many Netizens congratulated the Universiti Teknologi Mara graduate for being selected among 14 contestants in the Asian edition of the reality modelling competition, there were those who criticised her after entertainment portal Mynewshub shared the news on Monday.

Many asked why she was even allowed in the competition as Muslims are purportedly "banned" from such events where contestants have to expose their bodies.

However, Tuti said she had not faced any controversy from previous modelling competitions in Malaysia, having previously won the X Top Model Search Malaysia 2012 and a subsidiary title, the X Walk.

"At the end of the day, the ultimate goal is to produce good photos and to fulfil your brief and that's what I intend to do every time," she said.

Malaysian contestant Sheena Liam was the winner of the second AsNTM in 2014.

The third cycle of the show also saw two Malaysians - Shareeta Selvaraj and Melissa Tan Li Hsia - making it to episode 1 and 7 respectively.

Cycle four will premiere on Astro's Star World channel (Channel 711) next Wednesday, March 9, at 8pm.