Blessed with cover girl good looks, Asia’s Next Top Model host Nadya Hutagalung has spent more than half her life in front of the camera.
Compiled by: Chitra S Images: Ice-TV Group
Born in Sydney to an Australian mother and Indonesian father, Nadya left home at the tender age of 12 to pursue a career in modelling. A household name in Singapore, which she now calls home, her many accomplishments include being voted one of Singapore’s Top 20 Most Influential People by CNN (2009), best TV host by ELLE Magazine Singapore (2009) and a nominee for the 2012 International Green Awards. The mother of three, entertainer, model, entrepreneur and eco-activist speaks to us about her career, passion and latest project – as host and one of the judges on Asia’s Next Top Model.
How did you get into modelling?
A close friend of my father’s was one of Australia’s top photographers and his wife was the editor of ELLE Magazine. They used to say that I’d be a model when I grew up. Finally, during one school holiday, I decided to take their advice and gave it a shot, hoping to make some extra pocket money. Within two weeks, I was contracted to a modelling agency in Japan and began my career as a model.
What were some the challenges when you first started?
At the start of my career, I left home and was based in Tokyo at the age of 12. It was a sharp learning curve and I had to quickly figure out how to look after myself, cook, clean and be disciplined, which was undeniably difficult.
What was the most definitive point of your career?
I’d have to say my recent nomination for the International Green Awards is one of the highest points in my career. Although the ‘green’ work that I do is hardly a career, it gives me the greatest satisfaction.
Do beautiful people have it easy in life?
I don’t disagree that sometimes having good looks opens more doors but what creates longevity in any career is a professional attitude and good work ethics.
How do you juggle your roles and balance work with family and play?
I have set up a home office so that I can be as close to my kids as possible. When I am not filming, a great majority of my time is spent at home. I have reached a stage in my life where I can easily and gratefully choose how much time I spend away from my family.
What are you passionate about?
Family, food and laughter.
A perfect Sunday to you would mean…
Cooking Sunday brunch for extended family and close friends, the kids splashing in the pool and great conversation.
You’ve been named Singapore’s Most Gorgeous Woman (in a Female Magazine Singapore poll), voted as one of Singapore’s Top 20 Most Influential People (in a 2009 CNN poll) and nominated for the 2012 International Green Awards. How do you stay grounded with these accolades and recognition?
It comes from being diligent about keeping a good work-life balance and being able to identify my priorities. I am also not so attached to ‘attainments’ and I’d rather focus on the motivation for the things that I do. If I can make a positive impact, no matter how small, that means more to me than any accolade.
What qualities are you looking for in Asia’s Next Top Model?
I am looking for a well-rounded girl with a great personality who is not afraid to push her boundaries and work hard. It’s also incredibly important that she is professional.
Why should viewers tune in to Asia’s Next Top Model when it airs?
There will be a good mix of heart-warming moments, as some of the girls forge friendships, and shed tears as hopes are dashed. There’s also a decent amount of tension between certain contestants and loads of surprises!
Skinny seems to be the acceptable image of women in popular media. What is your advice to young women who have body image issues?
The most important thing is that girls are healthy, live a well-balanced lifestyle and learn to love the skin they are in.
What is your secret to staying fit and healthy?
I focus on nutrition both for myself and my family; we are mostly vegetarian at home and I drink veggie juices daily. My husband and I love to go for walks at night once the kids are tucked in bed, usually about 2 to 3kms. In addition to that, I do pilates 1 to 2 times a week.
What is your advice to aspiring models?
Work hard, eat well and don’t let it get to your head. It’s just a job.
What is your philosophy in life?
Keep track of your motivations for doing the things you do and, be kind and ethical at every juncture.
Asia’s Next Top Model airs on November 4, 2012 on Star World. For more information, go to asiasnexttopmodel.tv