Sunday, March 3, 2013
As the first-ever winner of Asia’s Next Top Model, the 27-year-old Thai model beat 13 other contestants for the coveted title; the final episode of the reality TV series was first aired on the night of February 17, 2013 on Star World. Stephanie Retuya from the Philippines took second place while Kate Ma from Taiwan was the second runner-up.
Making a guest appearance at the finale runway face-off was series creator Tyra Banks; Banks also joined the judging panel, who picked Amornkuldilok as the winner of the regional spin-off of America’s Next Top Model (ANTM).
On Amornkuldilok’s win, head judge Nadya Hutagalung says that “her drive and ability to let down her guard is what gave her the edge. We believe that she will go on to fantastic modelling opportunities.”
Besides winning multiple challenges throughout the season, Amornkuldilok also stole the show during the final runway challenge, held at Resorts World Sentosa’s S.E.A. Aquarium. Modelling looks from Singapore designer Frederick Lee’s 2012 couture collection, she wowed runway attendees when she whipped off her fur shrug, showing off the full dramatic flair of the backless dress that she was wearing.
We sat down for a quick chat with Jessica Amornkuldilok, at the Asia’s Next Top Model party last Friday. Read about how this Thai model overcame her family crisis, language barriers — she’s now more fluent in English — and the other challenges she faced during the competition.
Her Asian heritage
Amornkuldilok is well-aware of detractors who criticise her “Asian-ness”. “Some people say I don't look Asian,” concedes Amornkuldilok, who is of Thai-German descent. “But my mother is Asian and I've grown up in Asia.” She speaks with a distinctly Thai accent throughout the interview, stating fervently that “I love Asia. I want to go out there and represent Asia.”
She’s not averse to criticism either. “Anyone can say what they want,” says Amornkuldilok. “One can comment on whatever they like, I can accept it.”
On speaking in English
Some of the models drew flak from viewers for speaking poorly in English, Amornkuldilok included. “Every time when I speak, my voice is funny, I want to turn the TV off,” admits the model. “I really don't like my voice. But my boyfriend was like, ‘I still want to watch it, why turn it off?’”
Amornkuldilok shared that she still feels “uncomfortable” speaking in English but she has “improved” much from the first episode of Asia’s Next Top Model. “I feel nervous every time that I speak out,” says the model. “ I learnt English from videos, movies, music in English. Then I kept practising and (stayed) positive.”