The New Paper,
Friday, Jun 6, 2014
At 18, she has become the first non-celebrity model ambassador from Singapore to represent global beauty brand L'Oreal Paris in Asia.
Fiona Fussi, winner of Elite Model Look Singapore 2011, has come a long way in the last three years.
The stunning 1.76m-tall United World College graduate and part-time model with Basic Models Management joins the ranks of L'Oreal's famous Asian faces. This includes local actress Rui En, Chinese actresses Fan Bingbing and Li Bingbing, and Indian actresses Aishwarya Rai and Sonam Kapoor.
Fussi has already done her parents proud by scoring As for all her six International Baccalaureate subjects -psychology, business, biology, English, maths and Chinese. So clinching her first major endorsement deal is simply the icing on the cake.
Fussi, whose father is Austrian and whose mum Hong Kong-Chinese, has an Austrian passport, but is a Singapore permanent resident who has lived here her whole life.
She told The New Paper: "I had to keep the news a secret since January so I'm so excited and happy to be able to finally share it with everyone. This is such a big opportunity and I think it hasn't sunk in fully yet.
"The people from L'Oreal Paris who interviewed me weren't too explicit about it, but they said they liked the vibe I was giving."
Last December, Fussi said, a representative of L'Oreal Paris had contacted her agent and that the cosmetic giant's bosses had expressed interest in meeting her in person.
Fussi flew to Shanghai with her mum, 53-year-old businesswoman Mona Fussi, where they were both interviewed by a panel of VIPs who had flown in from Europe.
Mrs Fussi said she was asked to describe her daughter and they were impressed by what she said.
"I told them that (Fiona) has a positive, good image and that she has straddled both her studies and modelling well. Not only can she dance and sing, she also has many friends and she does charity work at hospitals and old folks' homes. From what I gather, I think they liked her personality very much."
Soon after the meeting, Fussi, who has modelled for eyebrow grooming salon Browhaus, was informed in January that she had scored the coveted gig.
But one of the conditions was that she had to film the TV and print advertisements for L'Oreal's Deeply White Sleeping Jelly Mask in the midst of her exams. Not one to shy away from challenges, Fussi did so without complaint.
Fussi, who intends to attend university in the UK or US after travelling for a year as a freshly-minted ambassador, said: "I remember sitting two exams on a Friday, then I flew to Hong Kong and shot the advertisements for 22 hours straight.
"After that, I flew back (to Singapore) to sit another two exams on Monday. The hardest part about the shoot was that there were a lot of retakes. And there was no time to sleep during the shoot, but I liked it as it has made me better at my job. I'm grateful and thankful and excited for future opportunities."
L'Oreal Paris' Asian celebrity brand ambassadors
RUI EN, 33, SINGAPORE
One of Channel 8's top actresses, she's the first local ambassador to promote the brand's Youth Code range of products.
GONG LI, 48, CHINA
In 1996, Gong Li, one of the first Asian actresses to make it in Hollywood, became the first Chinese ambassador of L'Oreal Paris.
AISHWARYA RAI, 40, INDIA
The Miss World 1994 is known for her curves and her status as one of Bollywood's highest-paid stars.
FREIDA PINTO, 29, INDIA
The Hollywood cross-over rose to prominence by playing the female lead in the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire (2008).
FAN BINGBING, 32, CHINA
The actress and fashion icon - currently seen in superhero blockbuster X-Men: Days Of Future Past as mutant Blink - topped the Forbes China Celebrity 100 list in 2013 and 2014, after coming in the Top 10 every year since 2006.
SONAM KAPOOR, 28, INDIA
The Bollywood starlet and daughter of veteran film actor Anil Kapoor is lauded by her country's media as one of the most fashionable, attractive and popular Indian celebrities.
LI YUCHUN, 30, CHINA
The androgynous Mandopop singer achieved fame and idol status when she won Chinese singing contest Super Girl in 2005.
LI BINGBING, 41, CHINA
Hugely successful in her home country, the actress is starring in the upcoming Hollywood blockbuster Transformers: Age Of Extinction.
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