She’s fresh-faced, charming, spirited and candid. (She speaks fluent Mandarin, Cantonese, German, Austrian and English too.) She’s Fiona Fussi, the leggy beauty who won the Elite Model Look Singapore 2011.
[See photos of Fiona Fussi at the Elite Model Look Singapore 2011]
Born and bred in Singapore, Fiona – an only child born to parents from Austria and Hong Kong – only turned 16 last January. And yet the 1.76-metre-tall belle has appeared on the covers of Her World and Nylon – and has recently been chosen as the face and campaign model of Singapore’s biggest fashion event this year: the Audi Fashion Festival.
Here, Fiona reveals her beginnings, the effects of her newfound fame, her plans and what she looks forward to next.
You’re the face of the Audi Fashion Festival. How does it feel?
“When I first found out, I didn’t think that they’d pick someone so fresh. I’ve only been modelling since January. And I had exams within the first three weeks, so it’s actually been really short.”
How did you get into modelling?
“I had no prior experience before Elite Model Look. I first saw it (the casting call) on Facebook because I saw some of my friends ‘attending the event’. I looked at it, looked further into it… and ended up entering online. It was more of a casual application – it didn’t matter if I didn’t make it in. My mom didn’t expect it. I didn’t even tell my dad.”
How do you find it so far?
“I haven’t fully absorbed it. Because I still have school, I’m not in it full-time, so I rarely think about it. But it’s really exciting. Though I have to take into account the people I work with – they mostly work on weekdays when I have school. So I need to not only manage my time, but my energy too.”
What about your parents? You’re still quite young.
“They’re really supportive. They know I like to do this. But even as they’re doing the background work for me, they’re also 紧张 (jing zhang or "worried" in Mandarin) that I wouldn’t have the time to do both. But for me – given my personality – I know that at the end of the day I can do it. With my standards, I know I’ll get it done.”
So which would it likely be in the near future: Studying or modelling?
“It depends. If (the pull) wasn’t enough, there’s nothing stopping me from going to uni first. I have plans to study Liberal Arts in an American university one day. But if it’s really taking off and really big opportunities are coming my way, I could always postpone school.”
Are you getting used to being recognised?
“I have gotten a bit more paranoid when I go out with my friends, though I’m thankful that Singaporeans aren’t as public about it. (Some people) don’t know that I could speak Chinese. I can be sitting next to a couple and I’ll go like, ‘Ugh, I (can) understand.’ (laughs) Mostly, they’re discussing amongst themselves whether or not I am who I am.”
What about attention from guys?
“Once, a guy actually came up to me and asked if I was Fiona Fussi. I said yes – and then he asked to shake my hand. A friend said before that they’re probably intimidated. I think, maybe.”
Past media reports say you’ve had at least five ex-boyfriends.
“Many journalists have asked, except that there was a big misunderstanding. That would be a crush. There were probably only one or two that I will still consider impacted my life.”
So you’ve started dating?
“No, not really. I’m worried how it’s going to be like dating when I’m actually in the real world. I’ve been on a double date but never on an ‘intense’ date. It was always more platonic, more like a group hangout.”
What’s an ‘intense’ date?
“It’s like a one-on-one, and you do things – candlelit dinner, go to the beach… you’re not communicating with anyone else but that person for the whole day.”
Wow. Are you looking forward to going on one then?
“If I find someone I want to go on an ‘intense’ date with… yeah.”
Catch Fiona Fussi on the runway at all three Future Fashion Now fashion shows this 17-19 May. Tickets to all AFX events now available at Gatecrash.