Vivien Ong: A model life

Vivien Ong: A model life

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 13:29
Vivien Ong: A model life

Vivien Ong: A model life

In the world of modelling, Vivien Ong has reached the highest summit. 

The Singaporean beauty has ‘Elle Italy cover girl' on her resume.  

'It was my biggest job so far. It was a three-day shoot, 16 hours a day, everyday.' 

For the Singaporean native, the job demanded someone with high energy, and she delivered in spades. 

'I went on set and had so many espressos. When the magazine came out, I said to my friend, ‘Can you grab me the February issue I think I'm in it.’ She bought it and said, 'You're in it, you're on the cover!'' 

Vivien Ong for Elle Italy
Vivien Ong for Elle Italy


Serendipity and luck has always played a hand in Ong's life. 

'Growing up in Singapore, I always thought I had to have a respectable career in finance or journalism so modelling never, ever crossed my mind.' 

'I studied journalism in school and one of my classmates got scouted to join this modelling contest. She was like, 'If you join then I'll join,' and I was like, 'Ok, I'll join, so I joined it and won it.' 

After winning the coveted New Paper, New Face competition, she signed with the prestigious Next Paris agency and has been in the Big Apple ever since. 

It’s her personality, not looks, that keeps the 25-year-old gainfully employed in this fickle business. 

'Since there are so many Asian girls, it makes it hard to remember which Asian model the client has seen. Your personality is going to make them remember you. You can't be afraid. I used to be so quiet but now I'm like it's going to be fine, I don't have to be quiet, I'm not in Asia anymore.' 

Vivien Ong. Credit: Instagram

Shockingly, Ong's beauty routine is devastatingly simple, a rarity for someone who is constantly surrounded by the glamour of show business. 

'I don't usually wear makeup but if I had to go to a casting I would wear concealer on the trouble spots like under the eye, and redness around the nose. I wash my face with Cetaphil. The less things you put on your face, the better your skin is going to be.' 

Convenience is a running theme through the model's life.  

'The places I like to eat are the places where you can show up in your pyjamas. I'm not a fan of fancy places at all.' 

'I live on the Lower East Side and I love it because you get everything you want here. There is this barbecue place that I go called George's East Side BBQ and they make the best ribs, they smoke their ribs in house.' 

For this expatriate, home and family are never too far away. 

'I always thought I'm too Western for my family. After moving here, I've been doing this stuff, like going vegetarian on full moon days, to make me feel closer to my family. I'm buying moon cakes at the moon cake festival, and before I never used to do this.' 

And as with most Asian offspring, it seems like mother always knows best. 

'I always felt like I was going to be a cool mum. But I always know in my heart I'll probably be a tiger mum. I was always such a lazy kid and I wanted to play all the time. If my mum didn't force me to go to tuition, get good grades, I would have flunked everything and not even attended school.' 

'If this is my personality, there is a chance my kid is going to be a terror. I have to be a tiger mum to subdue that kind of terror.' 

The model is now looking to pivot her career into the field of sociology, with languages and culture a particular interest.  

For someone who has ticked off some major career milestones at such a young age, Ong is now throwing caution to the wind. 

'I used to be a serial planner, like do this and do that, but now I'm like okay, we'll see what happens.' 

Follow Vivien on Instagram.