More than meets the eye

Ashley's favourite outfit by The Mod House. According to her, the couture dress was beautifully made and together with the hair accessory, the whole attire looks much more special.

Modelling is no easy feat. Style Series model, Ashley Ting initially had a different perception of what modelling was. As she ventured into the world of fashion, she came to realise that nothing is perfect, and there are always two sides of every story.

A runway of perception

Ashley Ting

Ever since she was young, Ashley Ting had always wondered what it feels like to model for top fashion magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. “I would look at these magazines thinking how easy it must be to be a model.”

However, as she delved into the world of modelling, she admitted that she couldn’t be more wrong in her initial perception. “It is not as easy as I thought it would be. The amount of effort you need to put into rehearsals, exercise and dressing up to make yourself look presentable was tiringto say the least.”

The 19-year-old also revealed how photoshoot sessions became an eye-opener for her, “I didn’t realise how many photos need to be taken just to get the right one. And, after one photo is selected, the work it took to edit it on Photoshop really surprises me.”

Having been in both worlds — pre- and post-modelling days — Ashley conceded how she would admire the concept of models. “From the outside, you would think that ‘wow, she looks perfect, so beautiful’, but in reality, there was a lot of editing involved to make the individual look a certain way.”

Realising that nobody is perfect, the interior architecture student now has a different perception when scrolling through Instagram and magazines. “I suppose the majority of modelling agencies and models don’t really show what modelling really is. People from the outside often assume that modelling is easy and glamourous, and it’s just a walk in the park, but you won’t really understand it until you’re part of it.”

Now in her third year, Ashley finally understood the struggles and challenges of being a runway star. “The most challenging would probably be the rehearsals. I’m far from being a professional model, therefore I still need practice my walk and poses.”

For the LaBella Sposa Wedding Gallery opening fashion show.

Exposing the hardships, Ashley revealed that a rehearsal can go on for days and lasts for a few hours each time. “That is something I don’t look forward to, especially when walking in 5.5-inch heels.” As a person who prefers to be comfortable in sneakers, Ashley added that wearing heels for several days can be quite a strenuous affair.

“Sometimes we have to dance in heels for a show, and there was one time during rehearsals, I was doing a spin. I tripped, fell down and sprained my ankle,” she said. Ashley also added that models poured all of their blood, sweat and tears a show, “but not everyone sees it like that. All they see is what’s on the stage.”

Another struggle that models often go through is in regard to their body image. “Luckily, the new generation has a diverse range of models in different colours and sizes. However, unfortunately not everyone prefers it that way.”

Hence, there were times when she had zero confidence and low self-esteem. “Sometimes, I wish that I look like one of those famous supermodels. People would tell me that I am not as slender as other models, or I am getting chubbier and I need to lose weight. Which in turn forces me to go on a diet as soon as possible.”

With society’s perception of models as the perfect representation of how a person should look like, Ashley had a different opinion. “People need models who are tall and super skinny, but honestly, everyone can be a model no matter your height, size, weight, colour; as long as you have the confidence to get on the stage or pose in front of the camera, you’re already one step closer to being one.”

The pros and the cons

At the Melaka Streetwear Fashion Show, dressed in Sab2.

According to the Style Series in-house model, the advantages of being a model is the ability to travel to different places for shows and photoshoots. “You get to wear beautiful designer outfits, and sometimes you would be invited to fashion shows where designers will dress you up as well.”

“You also get to meet people from all over the world and speak to designers. Modelling also exposes you to different skills, teaches you the proper posture, communication skills and poise.” Being a model has also helped Ashley gain more knowledge about the fashion industry as a whole and she now has a deeper appreciation for it.

However, to her, the disadvantage that comes with modelling would be the long working hours. “You will need to wake up really early and can only be back home late at night, with aching feet. Plus, you would spent a majority of the time on show day waiting, and your show time is actually for a couple of minutes.

Ashley’s first fashion show, for designer WYNKA for her ‘Chapter 8- Lucky Joy’ collection in 2018.

“You would get bored as you need to wait for your turn to do your hair and makeup. The duration of the show would sometimes be 30 minutes but you’ll be on stage for a minute each time. So imagine all the time you spent on waiting would actually be just for a one-minute walk,” she said.

However, to Ashley, the most important things are the experiences and exposure she obtained from being a part of the Style Series family. “I enjoy the rush of dressing up, doing the hair and makeup, and seeing things from a different perspective. Therefore, to have an opportunity to be one of Style Series’ models is something that I am very thankful for.”

That being said, Ashley now understood how it feels like to be a model. “Everything you see on social media may not be as simple, real or glamorous as it seems.”