She made a bold move 24 hours before the biggest night of her life. On Thursday, The New Paper New Face 2017 finalist Jean Yong chopped off her long locks into a pixie cut.
Wearing a new look, she hardly missed a beat last night when she won the New Face competition, beating 19 other girls to bag $10,000 in cash and an exclusive feature in CLEO Singapore magazine.
Jean also won $2,000 in hair services from Kelture Salon and one year's nail services worth $2,000 from Relaque.
Jean before her hair cut on Thursday. Photo: The New Paper
Speaking to TNP after her win at Paragon last night, Jean, 22, who had to cut her hair for an upcoming job with her agency NOW Model Management, said: "It was quite a risky move I think, doing it a day before the competition. It could have affected my performance if I hadn't embraced it."
The part-time research assistant at the National University Health System definitely revelled in her new look when she was also named Cosmoprof Miss Photogenic.
Pastry chef and grooming assistant Ameerah Smith, 23, was first runner-up, with the second runner-up prize going to youngest finalist Melanie Kasise, 14.
Melanie said: "It was so unexpected, and I am speechless. I came with the mindset of trying something new, and I am very grateful that I got something out of it. I think I performed my best, and I have no regrets."
But the night belonged to Jean, who graduated from Imperial College London with a degree in biological sciences with management.
Winner Jean Yong on the catwalk at the Paragon Main Atrium last night. She also won Cosmoprof Miss Photogenic. Photo: The New Paper
Previously, she did not have the courage to try modelling, describing herself as being more academically-inclined.
But she said: "This year, I decided to try out new experiences, with New Face being one of them. I told myself to just go for it, and I never would have imagined this would be the end result."
She thanked her fellow finalists and was especially grateful for her family, who were at Paragon backing her to the hilt.
Big sister Kailyn, who works in Melbourne, made the trip here.
The 29-year-old banker said: "I am very proud of her. I saw potential in her from the start. She told me she wanted to compete in modelling competitions, and I told her to go for it. No matter what others say, just do it."
The two-hour final last night was hosted by SPH Radio DJ Elliott Danker.
A little over 200 fans squeezed into the Paragon Main Atrium, and they raised the decibel level when the finalists took to the catwalk in three fashion sequences, donning outfits from Metro and various labels with stores in Paragon.
One of the six judges, actress-host and fashion influencer Nadiah M Din, praised Jean's new look.
"The moment she came out, she had the X-factor, and that was what we were looking out for," said Nadiah.
TNP editor Eugene Wee added: "The finalists performed well. They really shone during the show. The judges had a really hard time picking the winners because everyone looked amazing."
Jean (middle) with second runner-up Melanie Kasise (left) and first runner-up Ameerah Smith. Photo: The New Paper
Subaru Miss Vivacious
Cosmoprof Miss Photogenic
Kelture Salon Miss Beautiful Hair
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This article was first published on The New Paper.