2017 marks the 25th anniversary of Singapore’s most popular beauty pageant, The New Paper New Face contest. Memories from my experience a year ago flooded my mind the entire day – I could hardly wait to meet the contestants at the Finale evening. Ask any New-Paper-New-Face alumni, and she would proudly look back at her days in the pageant, and tell you how much she’d have grown from the entire experience.
Personally, every training session with my batch girls would eventually become a comfortable girly-hangout, where we’d eat, and talk about everything from our favourite food haunts, the latest trends, our crushes, to more grown-up topics like our aspirations post-pageant. There was always this element of looking into what’s next after the pageant, not just for me, but for every single contestant. And that kept us so positive and open-minded to learning every step of the way during our new-face days.
When I headed backstage to meet the contestants, it was an immediate rush of emotions. All that I felt a year ago, filled my soul once more. It was a cocktail of nerves and excitement, garnished with a little badass “I don’t really give a **** anymore – let’s get on with the show!”. True enough, the performance from the contestants this year lived up to that very cocktail of emotions. There was a very distinct mix of girls this year. One group rocked their devil-may-care attitudes, spewing strong slay-vibes across the runway. Another group included the very pretty, bubbly, Barbie-doll face girls – the kinds with faces you just could never get tired looking at. And then there’s the final group of girls who rocked their natural hair – we’re talking Afros, and tight springy curls. But put together on a singular stage, they formed a fine symphony of girls rocking natural beauty.
Sometimes, it takes a bit of guts, for a whole lot of change to make all the difference. The winner of the night was 22-year old, Jean Yong. Two days before the finals, she had ditched her jet black locks which fell down her back, for a short cropped pixie cut. This was in preparation for an upcoming job with her modelling agency. While nervous about the change, Jean’s bravery paid off, and she bagged the top prize at the end of the evening. Second to Jean was pastry-chef Ameerah Smith, who, despite her petite frame, showed great strength and how “big hair, don’t care” really applies. Finishing third was the youngest contestant of this year’s TNPNF, 14-year old Melanie Kasise. If you, like myself, followed the TNPNF instagram stories, you might have seen Melanie breaking some killer moves backstage in hair and make up, easing any pre-show tension.
As mentioned, the lessons you get from the pageant experience, and the people you meet from all walks of life – makes the entire TNPNF journey an unforgettable one. 25 years on, and the spirit of TNPNF lives on through the years, passed down from batch to batch. For the Singaporean girl who aspires to work in the fashion industry one day, joining TNPNF is almost like the standard rite of passage.
This year, TNP teamed up with a new venue partner, Paragon, which allowed the show to include a different array of entertainment. Local singer, Marcus Lee, serenaded the audience while awaiting the results from the judges. Not unfamiliar to competition, Marcus represented Singapore in China recently, for the second season of Sing! China, which was scheduled to air in July this year. Marcus wrote an original song called, “New Face” to commemorate TNPNF’s 25th anniversary.
As the lyrics of the song go:-
“You’re beautiful outside and in;
there’s nothing more attractive;
than a girl that’s comfortable in her own skin.
Welcome to the New Face,
you know that it’s the best place,
to find beautiful girls,
full of grace,
Just look around;
Welcome to the New Face!”
Photos courtesy of The New Paper New Face