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[Interview] Shareeta and Melissa talk “AsNTM” Cycle 3

Asia’s Next Top Model (AsNTM) returns for its third season; with a new host, Georgina Wilson, joining Alex Perry and Joey Mead King on the panel of judges.

14 next top models, hailing from different parts of Asia such as Indonesia, The Philippines and Hong Kong, compete for the ultimate Top Model title. Among the contestants this cycle are Malaysia’s representatives Melissa Tan Li Hsia, 27, and Shareeta Selvaraj, 24.

The two models recently sat down with TheHive.Asia, and while the ladies did not spill much on what will happen in the 13 brand new episodes that they filmed in Singapore, they did share that living in a house with other models is fun, a model is always on and models do eat.

Shareeta’s and Melissa’s official photos for AsNTM 3.

Hi girls, how was it like competing against the other Asia’s top model prospects?

Shareeta: When I first saw the girls that were going to be in the competition, it was very intimidating. They were all so beautiful and such a great representation of Asia. So I was really nervous. They all had amazing personalities as well, and they were all really good at modelling. It was pretty tough but it made me build up myself more and definitely improve my own capabilities. 

Melissa: Just like Shareeta said. It was intimidating seeing so many beautiful girls and you start to think how you measure up. So in a way, you have to get creative and know your strengths more because you’re pitching yourself against them, in the end. And we’re all great friends, they’re all really nice but you have to know what your competitive edge is.

How was it like in the house, during filming?

Shareeta: I have a lot of sisters and cousins and we’re all girls. I’m pretty much used to living very closely with a lot of girls. It wasn't too different for me but it was nice being able to meet all these people from all the different countries in Asia and get to know them. We’re all very similar, but very different. We learnt a lot from each other, especially living together in that house.

Melissa: For me, I’m a “guy” kind of girl. So I spend most of time hanging out with guy friends. I've never been in a house with a lot of other girls. I’m very happy I adapted well actually. Actually, girls are pretty fun [laughs]. It was overwhelming in terms of competition, but living together it was fine. I’m pretty laid back so it wasn't a problem for me to share a room with three other people for example. So it was all good.

Was there any drama during the filming? 

Melissa: I think with fourteen girls in the same house, there’s bound to be days where not everyone is in their best mood. Everyone is really, really nice, so I wouldn't say that there’s like huge drama but I guess everyone has to watch the show. It might look differently on camera, on TV, than how we experienced it. So when you watch the show there might be.

Melissa Tan Li Hsia is a “guy” kind of girl.

What can viewers look forward to this season?

Shareeta: This season we have a new host, Georgina, who is absolutely gorgeous, from the Philippines. The viewers can look forward to seeing a fresher perspective to Top Model.

Melissa: The celebrity judges that come on this season are amazing. They’re big names, from across Asia. So even for us, it was overwhelming meeting so many industry bigwigs. So the viewers should be really excited to see what they have to say and what they have to give to us.

Do you mind sharing any lessons or tips that you've picked up from Asia’s Next Top Model?

Melissa: I think one of the key things that I did learn was that a model is always on. So even if you’re backstage, even if you meet someone on the street, first impressions count. I think that’s one of the huge lessons that I took away from the show - that you have to look, walk, talk like a model all the time even if you’re off duty. 

Shareeta: What I would take from it is that you’re not always going to feel a 100%, and you might be sick, tired, not have enough sleep but it’s always important for you to put your best self forward and give it your best because once your chance is gone, it’s gone. So you need to always be on point, too.

Shareeta Selvaraj were in music videos and commercials. 

What does it take to be the next top model?

Melissa: I think it takes a lot of determination, and a lot of drive. You can’t call it quits halfway. You have to give it a 100% as Shareeta said. You have really got to be on the ball, there are no second chances.

Shareeta: You have to bring something different forward. There are so many models in Asia and around the world, you have to set yourself apart. You have to know your strengths and bring that forward.

How true is the saying “models don’t eat”?

Shareeta: [Laughs] I wish I didn't want to eat all the time. No, it’s not true. I think, if anything, all the models that I've met love food more. 

Melissa: I think some models are just naturally built skinny. I think that’s just their genetic makeup. So being one of them, I do get comments every two days like “eat more”, “don’t starve yourself”. But then really we love to eat. We’ll take anyone down in a buffet [laughs].

Melissa’s makeover gives her an edgier look.
(Photo source: facebook.com/AsiasNTM3)

Do you have any interest to pursue other fields in the entertainment industry, like singing and acting for example?

Shareeta: Yeah, I actually have tried a little bit of everything. I’ve done a few music videos and commercials. Now, I’m trying to see whether I can maybe break through and do some hosting.

Melissa: I’ve always been a model to the core. That’s just who I am. But if someone else were to tell me I’d do well in another part of entertainment, then why not, I’m open to any opportunities that come my way.

What about outside the entertainment industry?

Shareeta: I’ve always had loads of different interests. It’s hard to pick just one thing to do. I always try to do everything. But I think that’s good because in that way you learn what you like and I have started to like business too. And I studied law. So, it’s kind of a different direction. It’s exciting to see where I will end up. 

Melissa: My educational background is in finance and statistics. So in a way, I do always have other options out there for me. Maybe 10, 20 years down the road. Before I came on Top Model as well, I’ve always been doing modelling part time. But I’ve also been working full time in the financial services industry. If things don’t pan out for me in this field, I do have that to fall back on. But of course, when you talk about passion and where passions lie, that will be in modelling.

Shareeta in her model mode. (Photo source: facebook.com/AsiasNTM3)

Where do you see yourselves 10 years down the road then?

Melissa: I see myself still in this, I hope. Joey Mead King is my role model for this. Because she has been in the industry for so long and she has done practically everything across the board in the entertainment world. She’s still very much in demand. I think she’s done a great job in carving a name for herself. So that would be something that I would want to aim for, to go long term.

Shareeta: 10 years from now, I hope to have tried everything I wanted to try and I hope to have found something that I really want to devote 100% to. But for the moment, I think I haven’t really found it yet.

Do you have any advice for the aspiring models out there, especially those who would like to join Asia’s Next Top Model?

Shareeta: To all the aspiring models out there, if you ever think about joining a competition like this, I would say don’t ever second guess yourself. If you have the desire you should just go for it; because if you don’t even try, you’d never know. And that would be worse than any other fate.

Melissa: Exactly what she said. For everyone out there who think they really want to give  modelling a shot, and to really go big, Asia’s Next Top Model is the platform for it so do whatever you can, try out every year but make sure you show up for auditions.

Watch our interview with the girls here!

Check out the global premiere of Asia’s Next Top Model Cycle 3 at 8.45pm on 25 March on Star World (Astro Channel 711 / 722 HD).

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