You'll be surprised at what Singapore's former top models are up to recently

25 February 2015 / 1 year 8 months ago
Noor Ashikin Abdul Rahman
The New Paper
23 February 2015

She was a prominent face in the modelling scene in the 1990s and was among the top supermodels in Singapore then.

Touted as former model Hanis Hussey's protege, Huda Ali, the ASEAN Model Search 1993 second runner-up, started modelling at the age of 15 after she was discovered by Hanis. She went on to enjoy a glittering career.

Back in the day, Huda was picked by haircare brand Vidal Sassoon and frequently fronted the covers of now-defunct local lifestyle magazine Go.

She recently appeared in a new SG50 2015 calendar that was a collaboration between Elle Singapore magazine and ION Orchard.

The calendar, which came with the January issue of the magazine, also features former top models like Lum May Yee, Wendy Jacobs, Junita Simon and Irin Gan.

It has been over a decade since Huda left her full-time modelling career.

In 2002, she left Singapore for Milan where she was offered a press relations position at English fashion designer Neil Barrett's company.

She considers that career switch within the fashion industry one of her greatest accomplishments, and held the position until she moved back here a few years ago.

"You can't model forever and for me, it was a step ahead in fashion, working hand-in-hand with a top designer. That was a breakthrough in my career. It was something I had always wanted to do," she told The New Paper.

These days, Huda, 39, devotes her energy towards her only child, four-year-old Raoul, with her Italian entrepreneur husband in Singapore. She moved back here after her son was born in 2011.

She also helps with her husband's Italy-based fashion distribution business which sees him on frequent business trips to Milan.

Looking back, one of the things Huda said she learnt from her modelling experience was that it was okay to make mistakes in her youth.

"A lot of people told me I was getting big-headed. I was at the peak of my career from when I was 15 till I was in my early 20s and at that age, the success can be overwhelming. But I grew up and learnt that you have to always work hard to prove yourself," she said.

Comparing the scene then and now, she thinks that things have become "more serious".

"Back in the 1990s, we did jumps and acrobatics... it was that crazy. Nowadays, people are getting way too serious about fashion but it takes us ahead and it places us as the front runners in the region. Still, humour is important for everything in life," she said.

On reuniting with her peers for the SG50 calendar, Huda said she jumped at the chance to work with familiar faces.

"I was a bit sceptical when contacted but when I found out all the girls would be in it, I said 'Hell, yeah!'. Posing for the camera again was just like old times.

"It's not like we had to do acrobatics and flying sequences so we all felt comfortable and confident. The preparation came naturally. I was doing it with my best friends so it was not unfamiliar territory," she said.


Huda said she does not miss modelling at all. Her son keeps her busy - motherhood, she insisted, is the toughest job of her life.

"I'm kind of a control freak who needs to know what I need to do in the next hour, next five minutes."

As she juggles motherhood, she has also discovered a new interest while she was in Milan - cooking.

"Living in Italy, I got to cook with the flavours of the Mediterranean and that inspired me a lot in my cooking. I also love watching cooking shows and I get inspired to add my own twist to my food," she said, adding that she enjoys creating and sharing recipes with her friends.

While she is better at Italian food, she struggles with Asian cuisine. This passionate home cook even has plans to take her talents to the next level.

"Maybe one day I'll open a restaurant or a beach bar or cafe in Ibiza, who knows?" she said.

Take a look at the gallery below to see what other former models including Irin Gan and Nadya Hutagalung and Wendy Jacobs are up to these days.

local, model, S-pop
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