From The Straits Times    |

Photo: Courtesy of Starhub

Taiwanese diva-host Pauline Lan is nothing short of eye-catching on the fashion front: she’s never one to shy away from clashing prints, pom pom headbands, floral crowns, feather jackets and sequin dresses.

Which is why it’s no surprise the 51-year-old star has earned herself the unofficial title of ‘Fashion Queen’ over the last 15 years hosting Lady First, one of the longest running and most beloved variety shows on tellie.

The show, which boasts A-list celebrity appearances including Shu Qi and Ruby Lin, has been so successful that it’s launched its first overseas spin-off — Lady First Singapore — some five years ago right here on our sunny shores.


Off-screen, Pauline swaps her vibrant wardrobe for something a tad simpler. “I love wearing black T-shirt dresses and slippers,” she tells us when we meet to chat about the latest season of Lady First Singapore, which features resident beauty gurus Kevin Chou, Wu Yi Lin and Xiao Kai.  

“They make me feel comfortable! When it’s summer, I’ll wear one that falls to my knees and when it’s cold, I’ll pick a longer one and throw on a pair of socks and jacket,” she adds.  

The stark contrast between her professional and personal closets means she’s almost unrecognisable to her television crew in her off-duty outfits. “When I arrive in the studio in the morning, nobody recognises me because I’m in my glasses and without a wig,” she reveals with a laugh.


Pauline is just fine with being low-key in person. In fact, blending in with the crowd gives her the freedom to do what she wants without worrying about being ‘papped’.

“I’ve never dyed my white strands so it makes it hard for people to know who I am until they hear my voice. Since nobody knows who I am whenever I’m in my own clothes and without makeup, I’m free to pick my nose and nobody will care!” she jokes.

Read on as we catch up with the candid host in our one-to-one interview on what she loves most about Singapore, her styling tips, fashion splurges and more.

Photo: Courtesy of Starhub

Hi Pauline, welcome to Singapore again! What do you look forward to whenever you’re in town?

Pauline: I’m always excited to see my [reality show] Lady First’s ‘troop members’ because we only get to see one another in this show once a year. And us being women, we’ll catch up on whatever’s happening at home and chat about marriage.

It’s been five years since we started Lady First Singapore so I’ve become good friends with my show guest [Singapore actress and host] Lina Ng. Even when I’m back in Taiwan, we’ll still WhatsApp each other.

About a month before the filming, I’ll receive a rundown of each Lady First Singapore episode. It lists the products that we’ll be discussing in the show and I can’t wait to test drive all of them to see if they really work.


What do you always buy when you’re in Singapore?

Pauline: Instant noodles and curry sauce! Also, whenever I’m in Singapore, I love exploring the different fashion stores to find new things. For this trip, I’m really happy to have found some traditional Indian accessories at one of the stores in Little India.

My crew and I saw all these beautiful accessories when we were on our bus passing by Little India and we asked the driver to stop and let us down to shop.    


What do you love about Singapore?

Pauline: I like the weather, people and accent here. Regardless of the language, I find that Singaporeans have a very unique and distinctive accent that sounds very friendly to me. Because of the accent, I find it very easy to recognise Singaporeans no matter what country I’m in.


Throughout your career, you’ve had many fashion transformations that made fans go, “Whoa!” Have you always been so daring when it comes to fashion?

Pauline: I always look forward to working with different stylists especially the ones that I’ve never worked before. This is because it’s very interesting to see myself through their eyes. The results are very different from how I usually dress myself.

Related: No makeup, no problem: Vivian Hsu, Ella Chen and more prove that makeup is overrated


You’re a pro at mixing and matching your outfits. How do you do that?

Pauline: There are no hard and fast rules so I’d say just go with your feelings! Since my eyes can’t differentiate between red and green, I don’t match my accessories according to colours. Somehow, the result almost never looks too weird on me.

Related: 10 new wardrobe essentials to get you noticed at work


What’s your most memorable fashion moment?

Pauline: I once did a Cleopatra-inspired look for a magazine cover about 30 years ago. Even when I look back at it now, it still looks very relevant and ageless. I’m proud to have tried different looks throughout my career.


What’s been your biggest fashion splurge?

Pauline: Bags! But I buy them for my collection at home and usually don’t bring them out. Instead, I rely on a black Lanvin bag that I’ve been using for so many years that its straps have come off. I had them sewn back because I love it so much.


Besides fashion, we also know you’re quite a durian fan…

Pauline: Yes! In Taiwan, it’s hard to find durians that are imported from Malaysia. So whenever I’m here, I’m also excited to get my hands on durians. When I was here last month, it wasn’t the durian season so I didn’t get to taste any.

Since it’s the durian season now, I’ve had my fill! That’s why I’ll always put on two to four kilograms when I visit Singapore.


We’re really envious of your flawless skin. What’s your secret?

Pauline: Because of my job, I tend to put on a lot of thick makeup, so I’ll always make sure that I remove my makeup properly. Instead of rubbing the cleansing oil onto my face, I’ll massage it gently to avoid lines from forming.

As for my lips and eyes, I’ll soak a cotton pad with cleansing water and place it over the areas for a while before gently wiping off the makeup. Afterwhich, I’ll use a cleansing oil again on my entire face to remove any remaining residues.

Lady First Singapore Season 5 will premiere on Hub E City (StarHub TV Channel 111/825) on July 25, 2017, every Tuesday at 9pm.

Related: Your beginner’s guide to applying skincare in the right order (even pros might get it wrong!)