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Behind Jean Yong's glamorous career in fashion, did you know the TNP New Face 2017 winner also has a biology degree, and a passion for helping migrant workers?
 

 

In this five-part series, we've picked out five local faces who all have one thing in common: They're reflective of changes in one of the most change-resistant industries - modelling. It's a business that, until recently, stuck to its own and championed only one kind. Now the playing field is more inclusive, and the "standard issue" model is no longer the standard. What is: Being unique and having a daring attitude - qualities the five ingenues here have. Oh, another thing: They'd rather be super role models than supermodels.

This third part features Jean Yong, 23:

 

Photo: Elvina Farkas / Anue Management

 

"I want to end discrimination against migrant workers."

 

For shaping most of her values in life, Yong credits one Auntie Dang, her former domestic helper of more than 20 years. Auntie Dang started working for her family before Jean was born, and she was “an inspirational and influential figure in my life”.

Auntie Dang returned to the Philippines five years ago. Yong visited her a year after. “I stayed with her family for more than a month. She keeps me grounded with her guidance, her reminders to treat others the way you want to be treated, and the importance of paying it forward,” Yong says.

 

Photo: Instagram / @jean_yong_

 

Having witnessed Auntie Dang’s sacrifices as her family’s breadwinner, Yong was inspired to help end discrimination against migrant workers here. In 2011, she took on an internship with Transient Workers Count Too, a nongovernmental organisation that advocates rights and aims to improve conditions for migrant workers. During her stint, Yong participated in various public outreach events to raise awareness about the cause. She also helped to organise a celebratory event for International Migrants Day to recognise and thank migrant workers for their contributions.

“While I can’t do as much now because of my unpredictable schedule as a model, I still love speaking with domestic helpers, knowing their stories, and lending a listening ear.”

 

Photo: Instagram / @jean_yong_

 

The fledgling model walked for Antonio Marras’ F/W ’18 show at Milan Fashion Week, and has set “landing campaigns for big brands” as one of her milestones. After modelling, the biology and business management graduate from Imperial College London also hopes to use her biology knowledge to pursue a related philanthropy-based career.

 

ALSO READ: PART 1 AND PART 2.

 

This story first appeared in the August 2018 issue of Her World.

Photography: Elvina Farkas/Anue Management

Styling: Bryan Goh

Hair: Jimmy Yap/Kenaris Salon, assisted by Amanda Sim

Makeup: Melissa Yeo, using Chanel, assisted by Nikki Koh

Outfit: Jersey dress, $3,660, Balenciaga.