By all accounts, Amanda Cheng is a new kid on the block.
Her biggest exposure to modelling so far has been to catwalk duty, strutting out for the likes of Keith Kee, Malaysia International Fashion Week and Triumph.
She has done the occasional beauty shots for a few magazines, but this was the first time, she admits, to having done a motoring shoot for a national rag.
In any case, it’s one more gig to pad up the thickening portfolio of the 20-year-old.
Winning the eco MODEL International 2011 title last July has been a confidence booster for the interior design student as much as it has been financially rewarding, earning her a tidy cash prize of RM20,000.
It was a big break into the modelling world.
|Hair and make-up by Pinky Chia (make-up instructor) of the Amber Chia Academy
“If I had not won the eco title … there would have been no regrets,” says Amanda who lives by the “just do your best” motto.
Quite apart from that, the things she has learnt in the run-up to the contest has made her more aware of the pressing need to protect Mother Nature as the scourge of pollution spreads around the world.
She points out the current Lynas rare earth controversy as an example of some concern and is one factor that has galvanised her to become kinder to the environment through her own actions.
Every little bit of conscientious action for nature builds up, and simple deeds like cutting down on the use of plastics has a snowballing effect if every one gets in on the act, she reasons.
As is often the case, it’s either friends or family who nudges a young girl along in her search of recognition and fame.
Amanda – friends call her Manda - says her mother was the driving force in her decision to throw herself into the modelling melee.
One year on, the final year student is in demand. At the pace she’s moving, Amanda sees the prospects good for at least 10 years.
To Amanda, New York is her must-go-to city to expand her horizons.
“Once in New York, I will go all the way to explore modelling, design and singing,” says the girl from Subang Jaya, who is the eldest in a family of six. She has three younger brothers.
What is Amanda Cheng like in person?
She says she fits the bill as a Sagittarius.
“I’m pretty adventurous and spontaneous. I’m the type who would do something first, then think of the consequences later.”
Modelling is an industry with many a fragile ego and insecurities especially poor body image.
Some models have resorted to go under the knife to enhance some parts of their body, whether it be the eyes, nose, thighs or bust.
Amanda says she doesn’t need to go to extremes to validate who she is.
“I feel comfortable with my body and I don’t see a need to change anything.
“Besides, my dad tells me I’m pretty everyday, so I listen to my dad,” she says with a laugh.
Commuting in the Klang Valley has its hazards like the time when she lost two wheels on her car.
It took place in Taipan, Subang Jaya, a month after she bought her current car, a white Suzuki Swift.
“My car was parked near a café, so when I started it at around 11pm, it didn’t move. I went to the far side of the car and found both wheels missing. The car was propped up on bricks!”
“I had to call my dad, who brought his workers to replace the wheels,” says Amanda, the daughter of a car accessories and tinting shop owner.
As a righteous babe, Amanda has had her share of catcalls and uninvited advances.
“Sometime, some ‘uncle’ on the street would holler ‘Oi, leng lui!
Her standard operating response is to walk past and “avoid eye contact!”
The self-confessed Facebook-holic has also wised up to what ONS
stood for after getting an indecent proposal from another Facebook user. She has since taken her account private.
She adores masculinity in men, counting Hugh Jackman as an all-time favourite.
For Amanda, visible veins on the hands are also a top draw of the opposite sex.
“I’m pretty weird,” says Amanda.
“I’m interested in guys who have visible veins on their hands.
“I don’t know why. I find that very sexy.”