Malaysian in modeling contest: I respect everyone's opinion

PETALING JAYA - A controversy has erupted over Tuti, the only Malaysian to qualify for the fourth cycle of Asia's Next Top Model (AsNTM), as she faces criticism from social media users.

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

On Monday, many took to social media to congratulate the Universiti Teknologi Mara graduate when an entertainment portal shared the news of her recent success.

There were, however, some Muslims who sharply criticised her for participating in a contest where she would have to expose her body.

Some asked why she was even allowed in the competition as Muslims are purportedly "banned" from such events.

"What really separates us is not skin colour or religion. It's opportunity," she told the BBC in an e-mail.

The Kuala Lumpur lass was reported as saying "different people have different points of view and I am not in control of that. I respect each and everyone's opiĀ­nion".

She adds: "I don't like to put labels on anything. I'm a citizen of the world.

"I'm that kind of girl who chases her dreams."

According to the BBC, Tuti said she had not faced any controversy from previous modelling competitions in Malaysia, having 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 to fulfil your brief and that's what I intend to do every time," she said.

Tuti follows in the footsteps of other Malaysians who made it on to the competition, which saw Shareeta Selvaraj and Melissa Tan Li Hsia making it to episode 1 and 7 respectively in the third cycle of the show.

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