With only one week to go until the Grand Finale, Host Cindy Bishop opens up to us about the season so far. Sharing her experiences in the industry and some valuable advice for the contestants, the proud judge and mentor gives us some insight as the final countdown to the crowning of the fifth Asia’s Next Top Model begins.
Born and raised in Thailand, this season’s judge and host Cindy Bishop (also known as Cindy Sirinya) started modelling early with her first commercial at 13. “My big break came when I won Miss Thailand World Pageant at the age of 17, launching my career in the entertainment industry: runway, print, acting and hosting TV shows and events. My first true love has always been modelling, leading up to hosting AsNTM where I’ve been able to share years of experience with the girls. In a way, I feel like my career has come full circle!”
Personal highlight of the season so far…
“I’ve done a lot in my career. I thought I had pretty much done everything, but that vertical catwalk down the side of a building was definitely a first for me! It was exciting to be able to experience something with the girls for the first time.”
If you had been a contestant in the house what would have been the biggest challenge for you?
“I’m very competitive by nature. I’m also very critical of myself. It’s a double edged sword when people are both competitive and critical of themselves. You really want to do your best, but you can end up overthinking things and psyching yourself out. These girls are under so much pressure, not just having to live with complete strangers, but also having to prove themselves.”
“She was a bit of an enigma for me at first. Everyone’s character is usually quite obvious from the start: strong or shy… but Tu was a little bit more difficult to read because of the language barrier. As you can see throughout the season, she began emerging, going from strength to strength with her performance and attitude. She’s very driven and has a game plan. I would say she would probably be the most experienced of the Top 3 which is a strength but could also be her downfall. She could do with relaxing and being a little more flexible.”
“She’s also got the benefit of experience. She has stood out to me from the very beginning and I’ve been very excited to see where she would take us. Along the way though, she seems to have let the pressure get to her, letting others’ performances affect her. There always seems to be this missing puzzle piece with her, where she very almost achieves perfection, but something is missing. I think she just needs to give in to her emotion, as she tends to overthink things. With modelling, once you have all the technical parts, you just have to let go a little. That’s when the magic happens.”
“Maureen has come in as the youngest contestant, with the least experience and has so far defied everyone’s expectations. We have been able to follow her on her journey discovering the world of modelling, proving that she does have more than a pretty face. Maureen has a switch and if you manage to turn that switch on, she is confident and can deliver. She has this self-doubt that gets in the way and just needs to trust herself and remember that she deserves to be there.”
Any final words of advice for the contestants before the Grand Finale?
“The final week will push the girls to dig deep and draw from their inner strengths. The photoshoot is all about national pride which is a big deal, especially in Asia. The final three need to represent their countries, conveying a message of pride in their cultural identity and nationality. The Grand Finale runway show is all about the girls’ walks. I know from experience that it’s easy to get riled up and excited once the music starts, especially with couture, the combination of a strong walk and strong look can come off as over the top. The trick is to make it look balanced by taming that fierce walk so it doesn’t look too exaggerated. The focus should be using the eyes to show all the passion and emotion.”
“This year social media has played a huge part throughout the contest, talking the contest beyond simply a TV show. This is something that the girls should embrace, it means the show’s impact is organic, evolving and an opportunity for them to continue growing once the series has ended. It’s amazing to be part of it because it means that even though there is one winner, all the contestants can benefit. They should be really proud of what they’ve done and the obstacles that they have overcome. This contest has been a crash course in modelling and life.”