Health & Fitness

From model to lawyer to Youtube star, Anne Kissner shows you there's no limit if you just believe

The New Paper New Face 2003 runner-up achieves lawyer dream and inspires women to be healthy

At 15, she was the youngest finalist of The New Paper New Face 2003 competition.

Ms Anne Kissner went on to nab second place in the modelling competition, and is now making a name for herself in the lifestyle and fitness field in her native Germany.

Now 29, the lawyer, who is of German and Chinese descent, created a fitness YouTube channel, BodyKiss, in 2013 and has since amassed more than 300,000 subscribers.

In 2015, she started another YouTube channel, BodyLaw, which teaches viewers about German law.

Ms Kissner said her New Face journey made "quite a difference" in her life.

She started modelling at 14 and thought New Face would be a "great opportunity to get more experience".

She told The New Paper via e-mail: "I didn't win and still I felt so honoured having joined the competition and getting so far.

"I learnt that confidence can help a lot when pursuing your dreams. I also realised that I love being on stage and performing, speaking in front of people...

"And that's what I am doing now in my YouTube videos."

"I also realised that I love being on stage and performing, speaking in front of people..." - Ms Anne Kissner, on her New Face experience in 2003 as a 15-year-old (above)

With New Face auditions starting this week, how should hopefuls be preparing?

Just believe in yourself, said Ms Kissner.

She said: "Looking back, I would say that no one should feel insecure. All contestants are beautiful in their own way.

"I felt really small at 1.69m, and thought I didn't stand a chance to finish in one of the top three places.

"But somehow the (judges) saw something. And there is something in every woman."

After three more years in Singapore, Ms Kissner returned to Germany, where she achieved her childhood ambition of becoming a lawyer.

While studying law, she ate unhealthily and saw changes in her body, which shocked her as she was always the "skinny girl" growing up.

Ms Kissner said: "I could eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and not gain a single pound. This changed drastically. I gained quite a bit of weight as I sat at my desk the whole day."

With her husband's support, she bought activewear and started doing home workouts to American YouTube videos.

"It did not happen overnight, but after that I took millions of steps towards a healthier and happier life," said Ms Kissner.

"After following a lot of international fitness YouTubers, I felt that Germany was still in the need of a girl next door who would show young women that fitness could start in their homes. So why not me?

"What started as a fun project ended up being quite a big hit. At the beginning, I integrated food videos into the channel, and at the end of last year, we started a new channel, BodyFood, which is all about healthy cooking."

Soon, the BodyKiss channel, which is in German, gained popularity among women and allowed her to work with brands such as Puma and Samsung.

But even Ms Kissner receives body-shaming comments.

She said: "I have a strong community that supports everyone, no matter if they are curvy, skinny, girl or boy. Everyone is welcome.

"I have also made quite a few videos where I speak about body-shaming and how social media has made it possible."

Ms Kissner noted that she has some Singapore subscribers, mostly of half-German descent.

She said: "My heart goes out to these followers in a very special way, as Singapore will always have a very special place in my heart. It will always be where I grew up, where I spent my teenage years."

BodyLaw came about when some subscribers found out about her job, and law students and new lawyers would ask for her opinion.

Ms Kissner, who is pursuing a doctorate in law, said: "My journey has not been easy, and I guess anyone who has studied law knows what I mean.

"It was a long and hard process of learning, failure and getting back up to fight for your dreams...

"I love reading about cases, studying them and finding loopholes."

With her busy schedule, Ms Kissner still manages to keep in shape with high-intensity interval training.

"These workouts are no longer than 25 minutes. I can really power through them and still get the results I want...I can mostly train only with my own body weight," she said.

Clean eating is something which has to fit into one's lifestyle, she added.

Ms Kissner said: "I am the kind of girl who cooks healthy at home and keeps it easy. Give me a bowl of rice with beans and an egg and I am happy.

"I try to eat at healthy restaurants on the go, but I don't beat myself up when I splurge on a brownie. It's all about balance."

Article first published on TheNewPaper