Countries Life on the road Vietnam

That Time I was a Guest Judge on Vietnam’s Next Top Model

vietnam next top model eva de eva haute culture studio

On the 7th of August I was delighted to be flown to Ho Chi Minh City to be a guest judge on Vietnam’s Next Top Model for the fashion label Eva de Eva. Eva de Eva is a contemporary fashion brand specialising in sophisticated daywear collections, as a sponsor of Vietnam’s Next Top Model it was my role as their brand representative to deliver the assignment and judge the models on their forth coming photo shoot.

 It had been a outrageously early start to the morning leaving Hanoi to fly to HCMC for a 8am start. By the time we’d checked into our hotel and i’d scoffed a banh my trung (egg sandwich) I was whisked away to the secret shooting location and was on set for 9am.

Whilst I was  being pruned and pinned in hair and makeup, the models were back at their apartment watching one on the most influential fashion films of all time, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The film had been the main source of inspiration for Eva de Eva’s latest collection as it was a timeless classic and starred the worlds greatest style icon Audrey Hepburn.

vietnam next top model eva de eva haute culture hmc

Model’s Mission
After pacing the corridors trying to remember my lines, (their was about 6 but I was sure I’d bugger it up), the models finally arrived and I seamlessly delivered their task. Your mission should you choose to accept it is work together in couples to model Eva De Eva’s latest collection (on some unbeknown obstacle course) whilst upholding the style and elegance of Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard relationship from the film. Simple. Well it wouldn’t make good television if it were that simple would it.

vietnam next top model eva de eva haute culture location

Having my microphone fitted just before the models arrive with follow judges Sam Duc Hoang and Adrian Anh Tuan. Hand Painted shirt and A-line pleated skirt by Nguyen Minh Uyen.

Photo Shoot Assault Course
The poor poor kids! As funny as it was to watch I actually did feel sorry for the little scamps. Their mission turned out something like this; “Climb up some dubious scaffolding 15 feet over the top of a swimming pool and dangle down onto a chain suspended chair, which in turn we are going to swing round and round whilst you pose as if your simply besotted with one another on a date. Okay??” Yes they fell off, some laughed, some cried and some were really peeved off. I just sat in my deck chair making notes, sipping on lemonade and watching the results come in on the screen.

Production team and crew on the set of the photoshoot

Production team and crew on the set of the photoshoot

vietnam next top model eva de eva haute culture climbing

The model carefully climbing up and over the scaffolding, desperately trying not to fall in before the competition even started

vietnam next top model eva de eva haute culture talk

Me consoling the models after they fell into the pool

vietnam next top model eva de eva haute culture screen

Watching the drama unfold and the shots come in on the computure screen

Here I'm congratulated all the contestants for their hard work after a long 12 hour day.

Here I’m congratulated all the contestants for their hard work after a long 12 hour day.

Judging Panel
The next evening all judges and contestants were back in the studio for the final results and eliminations. I found this part of the competition quiet difficult to balance, as constructive criticism can often lead to crying, also I don’t think I’m mean enough to be a regular TV personality. I tried to keep feedback as encouraging and constructive as possible but despite having a translator in my ear piece it was hard to keep up with the eb and flow of dialogue between judges and the contestants.

To sum up, I had a wicked time. The production team, models and guys on the show were super fun and easy to work with. I didn’t find the experience at all intimidating as I had previously expected it to be. No acting was required and I was able to speak from my own expertise and experience from working in fashion for over 10 years. It was an awesome once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m really glad I over came some personal anxieties (I hate flying) to make it a reality. Is this the start of a future career in fashion TV? Who knowns, maybe Ill invest more time in Haute Culture’s Youtube and Vimeo channels and host my own fashionable adventures show in the future. #wishfulthinking

vietnam next top model eva de eva haute culture make up

Having my Hair and make up done backstage before the show

vietnam next top model guest judge donna

Hanging out with the boys. Sam and Adrain are super lovely guys, they made the experience really fun.

vietnams next top model 2015

Celebrating Adrain’s and Leo’s birthday

Studio panoramic

Studio panoramic

Me at judges table in the studio for Vietnam's Next Top Model

Me at judges table in the studio for Vietnam’s Next Top Model. White lace blouse and black bow tie skirt from Designer Lam Giang Khanh.

Watch the full episode here (i’m on from 24 mins)

Did you watch the show? Did i do a good job being a fashionista? I’d love to hear from you, leave you comments and questions below. 

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Thank you to Nguyen Minh Khoa at Eva de Eva for choosing me, my friend James Thomas for accompanying me, and my talented graduate students Nguyen Banh Anh, Nguyen Minh Uyen and Lam Giang Khanh for dressing this haute hippy in gorgeous attire for the show.

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