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Model Tia Taveepanichpan puts her best face forward for Phuket

Young Phuket Model Tia Takes on Asia's Tops in New TV Series

Monday, January 6, 2014
PHUKET: The whole island will be cheering for young Phuket model Tia Taveepanichpan when she takes on the quest to become Asia's Next Top Model in the second series of the popular show from Wednesday night.

Representing Thailand, the 17-year-old former British International School student will be pitted against older women from other countries across the region in the absorbing reality show.

In the flesh, Tia is a delight. And when she's on Phuket, home is Shanti Lodge, where she's perfectly happy to hang out with her mom, Kim.

She's South African-Thai, born in the USA, with plenty of Chinese thrown in. That's a combination that adds spice and makes Tia the individual she is but annoys some fans who think she should somehow be ''more Thai.''

Putting aside the disputatious people who have yet to move into the 21st century, Tia is happy to stake her claim to being thoroughly Thai and to representing her country in the series.

Having discovered modelling by chance when someone thrust a leaflet for Miss Teen Thailand into her hand at Central Festival Phuket and gone on to win the contest, she understands how opportunity and good luck can combine in your favor.

"At the Miss Teen Thailand 2012 pageant, I never expected that a person like me would go this far. There were other pretty girls at the pageant and I knew exactly who was going to win. But I won.''

The next chapter in Tia's career is about to be revealed . . . and the whole country will be watching and cheering. In her own words, here's what the young take-on-the-world model had to say:

Tell us why you wanted to be in this show

"It started off because of the self esteem boost form Miss Teen and I realised that I can actually go somewhere in this industry. I watched 'Asia's Next Top Model 2012' and I saw my friend and she represented Thailand. [Jessica Amornkuldilok won the contest] And I think it was interesting. I wanted exposure, I wanted to go internationally. I wanted to go further than Miss Teen. And also I want to see what doors will open for me right after the show airs. And I want people to see me on TV and be like 'Oh, I want to work with her.' So I decided to join this show.

"Asia Next Model is a reality TV show where they have 16 Asian girls and they combine them into one house. For us, we lived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. And we had four girls in each room. Basically what happens in the show is just the drama that goes on between the 16 girls. And the challenges, and you have the judges who criticise you, and the photographer.

Asia's Next Top Model is a reality show. Do you feel paranoid to have cameras around filming you all the time?

"Yes, definitely. The first day was so weird. You just go into the house with 15 other girls you never met before and it just starts, just like 'The Hunger Games'. The game just begins You have cameras rolling and everyone said 'hi'. You always know the camera's there. But then after a time, you just get used to it and you don't realise that cameras are not there anymore. Everyone just lets out and becomes friends of friends. That's the whole kind of thing. It depends on the 15 girls. Who is fake, who isn't fake. Who is bitching about who. It's a very girly show. A drama.

"But the thing about this show is that it's not only for girls because he producers are from 'Amazing Race Asia.' They decided to produce Asia's Next Top Model. The Amazing Race Asia is crazy, so producing Asia's Next Top Model is taking modeling to a whole new extreme. This show is not only just for girls or young people, but this is pure entertainment now like drama, extreme sports or outdoor activities. I had a blast being in the show. The whole time you're just waking up in the middle of the night and they're like 'Wake up! We're going here! We're going to Kuala Lumpur!' You just have no idea what's going on at the whole time in the show. You just don't expect anything that's going to happen.
''Sometimes it's like 'Ok, girls! Tomorrow you're gonna have 30 seconds to get ready. And you're going to have a photo-shoot in five minutes. Then you get the hair and makeup done. You have 15 shots to do the best photo.''

What did you learn from being in the show?

''For the modeling perspectives, I actually learned a lot. Right now, I'm a whole new complete model. Before I joined the show, I thought modeling was just posing. Just posing, pose, pose, pose. But after I joined the show, it made me realise more that it's about expression. It's artistic.

''Also, why I joined because I'm a very passionate person for art, very artistically based. This is perfect for me. I wanted to do some crazy artistic editorial photos in the show. This is the main reason why I joined the show.

What did you learned about life from the show?

''Living with 15 girls, I guess it was a sorority. I felt that it was hard at the beginning. You never expected to be in a house with 15 girls but we're all specifically chosen for a reason to be in the show. And that's also a huge main reason for the show as well that they need bold personalities, they need people they'll make the audience want to watch the show because I feel from last circle they didn't have enough of that. I don't feel so bad now because I thought I was going to be the only bitch on the show.

"We were all taken away from the outside world. We didn't have a phone. We couldn't connect our family or friends. A diary was all we had.

"Another thing about Asia's Next Top Model that is very different from America's Next Top Model is that it's Asia. It's different countries, different cultures. Once I was sitting there, eating food, and one of the models put her shoes on the table, and I'm like, I'm Thai. It bucked me but I didn't think, it was an example of cultural differences, religious differences as well, and that's why the show is interesting. It was very very diverse compare to other Next Top Model shows.

"I was the youngest among other 15 girls. The oldest one was 27. It was very easy for me to adjust to other people. My model is 'Young face, old soul.' I have a young face, but I have an old soul. I'm getting exposure, expose a lot of things at the young age. Also I lost my brother when I was 12 as well, so I grew up a lot of that too when you lose a person in your life.''

The show is already filmed and you're back in Thailand now. What are you doing?

''I'm based in Bangkok, but Phuket is still my lovable home. I come back here just occasionally. I enjoy being here for the weekends. I have a home in Bangkok as well now. I'm going to be working in Bangkok. I finished high school since I was 16 from BIS and now I'm studying Com-Arts in ABAC. I'm just expanding into media. If I don't survive in modeling, at least I can do photography, that what I enjoy doing already. What I'm waiting is to see what's going to happen after the show airs.''

Asia's Next Top Model Cycle 2 starts on Wednesday this week.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Next step for Tia; please think of yourself and the other contestants as young adults, no longer children. (Especially the 27year-old too, please.)

Posted by The Night Mare on January 7, 2014 01:58

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Shame on you for publicising a freak show that paints an unrealistic image to young women. A bit of research uncovers a world of substance abuse and exploitation. Still in Phuket hundreds of similar aged young women ride motorbikes without adequate training and safety protection, many of which end up dead or disfigured. Go ahead and waste your time adoring the freaks.

Posted by ge on January 7, 2014 09:31

Editor Comment:

Fortunately, young women will make their own choices and not be forced to become whatever it is you wish them to be. And it's overwhelmingly the young men who by a substantial majority are the ones who are killed or maimed on motorcycles. Precisely what the link is between television entertainment and the road toll you will have to explain - in great detail, on some other site, please.

So gee is your proper name, but it's ge for short?

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There are many social issues in Thailand. The biggest news stories are the exploitation of women and road safety. Where as a flippant TV show exploiting young women is cheered on by all. No correlation? Annually 26,000 killed and thousands more maimed, disfigured and disabled, many of them are young women. Ignorance.

Posted by gee on January 7, 2014 11:04

Editor Comment:

We're serious people at Phuketwan but if you really spend your life going around only talking about the road toll and the exploitation of young women, then you have our deep sympathy, gee. Smell the roses.

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Gee, shame on you for adding such negative comments to an otherwise nice story about a bright young woman embarking on a new adventure. I've known Tia since she was a young child and she is certainly not a 'freak'. If you're so worried about the state of young women's lives you're not helping at all by labelling some of them freaks. Sure, there are distasteful things about modelling, but the same could be said about most professions. Like law. Or journalism. And given that Tia lost her brother to a motorbike accident 4 years ago you can please just SHUT UP about the motorbike issue as it does not otherwise relate at all to her choices in life, nor the choice of Phuketwan to feature her in a story.

Posted by Lana on January 7, 2014 18:13

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"In the flesh, Tia is a delight"

Yummi, let me take a bite then, hahahahaa!

Seriously, she's lovely, hope she won't be a spoiled Lakorn bitch later on.

Posted by Wilai on January 8, 2014 00:54


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