For those who have had the pleasure of her acquaintance, the name Cay Kuijpers stands out as not typically from around here.
That surname has been mispronounced more times than Cay can remember.
Fortunately, the usual response from the 23-year-old model and TV host is a knowing smile.
“So far, only one person has gotten it right the first time and that person studied linguistics,” she says.
For the record, the correct pronunciation is “kai-pers” though it usually ends up mangled as “koo-chee-pers.”
“A master of ceremonies once merged my first and family names and called me cay-pers over the PA system. When I heard it, I thought it was someone else,” says Cay.
Kuijpers is a common Dutch family name apparently.
“It’s only rare in this part of the world as there are not many Dutch people living here,” says Cay - an exotic product of Dutch, Spanish and Filipino bloodlines.
Kuijpers actually means “beer barrel maker,” indicating the trade that Cay’s forefathers were in long ago.
But Cay and her family have little to do with that vocation.
Her Dutch father, Maikel, brought the family over from the Philippines in 2005 after he was made the operations director of Zuellig Pharma Malaysia.
The man now heads Zuellig Pharma’s operations in Vietnam and lives in Hanoi with Cay’s mother May.
“My mother wanted me to follow them to Vietnam but I wanted to stay in Malaysia,” says the Manila-born Cay, who plans to visit them soon.
In her career as a model, Cay’s face has graced numerous magazines, among them Clive, Stuff, FHM, CLEO, Cosmopolitan, Sister’s, Faces and Par Golf in addition to runway events, print advertisements and TV commercials.
Her first commercial was for Hotlink in 2006.
“I was one of the extras and was paid RM200 for a 12-hour shoot.
“It was quite low but I did it to get some experience and to understand how the industry works,” she says with a laugh.
Winning the Estee Lauder Model Search 2008 contest broadened her exposure.
Cay became the brand ambassador for Follow Me from 2008-2010 and Puma from 2008-2009. She was also the ambassador for Nuvafemme, Callaway Golf and Royal Stout last year.
At the moment, she is one of the hosts for Truly Asia TV, an Internet travel documentary programme which promotes tourism and interesting spots in Malaysia.
“Television hosting fits me well as I love to chat and travel,” says Cay, who has visited 19 countries and is planning a trip to India this year.
Her most memorable destination was Hong Kong, which captivated her with its diversity in people and cultures.
“I am the type who likes big cosmopolitan cities with bright lights, lots of people and non-stop happenings.”
The place where she stays shows her penchant for being in the thick of action: Cay lives in the bustling Bukit Bintang area of Kuala Lumpur where things don’t wind down until the wee hours.
Although she has a degree in business management from the University of Northumbria, a desk-bound job is not for Cay.
She once endured a job at an IT company that lasted only four months.
“I need a job that keeps me outside every time.”
Recently, she was offered a role in a local movie but the script was in Bahasa Malaysia, a language she has not mastered yet.
“I need to brush up on my Bahasa. So far, I know simple phrases that allow me to order food and say left or right.”
And what’s the secret behind that lithe figure?
Besides the gym routine, Cay says it also has to do with her outdoor activities like wakeboarding and rock climbling.
“These activities are better as they work the hamstrings, biceps and abdominal muscles.”
Cay is also into golf and has a handicap of 16.
Although she uses taxis to get around town, she recently got her own car - an automatic Proton Gen.2.
“I don’t face much problems driving in Kuala Lumpur as I have been living here for seven years.
“If I’m not familiar with the roads, I’ll use the GPS,” she says.
Cay has a soft spot for sports cars - like the Maserati GranCabrio, which we brought her way, courtesy of local distributor Naza Italia Sdn Bhd.
The recently launched RM1.35mil Italian convertible was prepared for the photo shoot by AutoDetailer Sdn Bhd, with the shoot taking place under the lights of its purpose-built car studio at Petaling Jaya’s Jaya One commercial centre.
The GranCabrio, with its Pininfarina-designed body, offers a package of flamboyant looks and exhilarating performance - all this with luxury alfresco seating for four people.
|The Maserati GranCabrio goes from 0 to 100kph in 5.3 seconds and has a top speed of 283kph.
The GranCabrio’s performance comes from its 440bhp V8 4.7-litre engine with a throaty roar that takes the convertible to 100kph from rest in 5.3 seconds to a top speed of 283kph.
Cay finds the GrandCabrio “very sexy “ and is quite taken with the sound of its exhaust.
Cay learnt driving in the Philippines and finds it easier to drive in Kuala Lumpur.
“Traffic here is not as heavy compared to Manila’s. Almost everyone in the Philippines has a car and the roads are really packed. Also, many do not follow traffic regulations.”
Her dream car is a Hummer H3, which she describes as a macho machine.
“I like big cars, which make me feel confident on the road. The Hummer is gorgeous inside and out.”