The 16 Asia’s Next Top Model contestants with Nadya Hutagalung. Credit: Star World

Sixteen models, thirteen episodes and four judges ‒ the stage is set for drama in the new season of Asia’s Next Top Model (ASNTM).

This time around, the modelling reality competition was filmed in Malaysia. will the natural beauty of Malaysia overshadow the gorgeous contestants vying for the top spot? Or will the cast of superstar celebrity guest judges like shoe designer Jimmy Choo and singer Coco Lee ultimately steal the show?

While host Nadya Hutagalung kept her lips sealed about this when we spoke on the phone with her, the model was quick to share why she decided to return for ASNTM, unlike first-season-judges Daniel Boey and Todd Anthony Tyler who are absent in the second run.

Nadya Hutagalung. Credit: Star World

“I believe in the show,” said Hutagalung firmly. “We are an Asian production targeted to Asia and give young girls mentorship through the judges and international guest judges who all have great experience. This is a show I’m honoured to be invited back for.”

Photographer Mike Rosenthal and movement coach Adam Williams step up to the plate to fill Boey and Tyler’s shoes. The model filled us in about her new partners, “Mike brings with him all the experience he has had working at America’s Next Top Model that’s truly beneficial. Plus, he’s a wonderful photographer. Adam has got so many years of choreographing and stage work, and a vivacious personality. Together as a panel, we are passionate and have plenty of experience to share with the girls. At times there’s tension and it does show but ultimately we all love each other and love the girls and want the best for them.”

“I am a lot more relaxed this time round,” admits Hutagalung when asked about how different things were on the second season. “I didn’t have as many restrictions as I did previously. Obviously I know the format now so it’s easier without having to memorise too many things. I really enjoyed spending more time with the girls and [getting to] know them better.”

“We weren’t supposed to get too close to the girls as judges in the first season so this time round, it’s something I really treasure,” divulges the model-host.

Hutagalung can be a mother hen with the ASNTM contestants. She laughed when she said, “Joey’s (Joey Mead King is also back for the second season) a bit of a mother hen too but I’m stricter and rational. I’m the one who keeps everyone in line.”

Like a fair mother, the model doesn’t play favourites. “The girls have different personalities and capabilities and honestly I can’t have favourites otherwise I can’t do my job. I love how these girls push themselves, work really hard and are willing to try everything. Some girls assume that just because they are a pretty face, they don’t have to work hard. But that’s not the case. All the girls have to work really hard to be able to grow and survive in the competition,” shared Hutagalung.

Left: Mike Rosenthal, right: Adam Williams. Credit: Star World

The show gives a real perspective of how the life of a model is like. Hutagalung believed, “The girls are put through challenges with a lot of photoshoots through which they gain industry insider information and experience. We hope they can go out into the industry armed with what they need to be a professional working model.”

The model couldn’t help but share about her favourite episode of the second season, “I love the episode we shot in Sarawak. From the location, shoot to everything else, everything was great.”

Well, we can’t wait to watch that particular episode and the rest of the drama of ASNTM.

Asia’s Next Top Model Cycle Two will premiere 9.40pm on January 8, 2014 on Star World, Singtel Mio TV Channel 301 or Starhub TV Channel 501. For more information, go to Follow the show on Facebook at, on Twitter @ASNTM2 and Instagram @asntm2.