In a world of internet bullying where so-called "keyboard warriors" are viciously lurking from behind screens, social media has become a conspicuous weapon of mass moral destruction. It takes more than a courageous person to take these attacks with a pinch of salt. You can't possibly know what it feels like until you've become the victim of cyber bullies yourself.
Our #ytwalkoflife feature this month is non-other than the model duo who made headlines across social media for competing in Asia's Next Top Model Cycle 5 this year. Although not quite the victims, both Alicia Amin and Shikin Gomez are immune to the negative attention they have been getting for pursuing their dreams of becoming a top model in Asia - with them being Muslim Malaysian models. How do they deal with it? Tattoo-clad Alicia feels strongly about Asia's Next Top Model (AsNTM) campaign hashtag, #onlylovenohate. "It is something that I really stand by. I'm quite thick skinned so there hasn't really been anyone online who's gotten under my skin in a while." We'll take her word for it. Shikin, on the other hand, takes a different approach to coping with the bullies. "My mantra is that these people don't know the whole truth. And they only see and know what is shown to them." No matter what the circumstances are, these girls will always come out strong and with a non-stop supply of love and support from loved ones.
ALICIA THE FLAWSOME
jAlicia is wearing Ivy Sandal in blue
It's obvious to anyone who's graced with Alicia's presence that she is headstrong, opinionated, unfiltered and public-spirited. It's no wonder that she would choose to become a humanitarian lawyer if she wasn't modeling which she started doing since she was 15 years old. It all began when she went for a casting call to accompany a friend who didn't turn up but one of the casting directors convinced her to try anyway. Her modeling path took her to places and people who are influential in the industry. In New Year's Eve of 2012, she had a shoot organized by a well-respected model of a higher caliber, Tini a.k.a Mama to shoot for a local magazine cover featuring fresh faces of Malaysian's fashion world. "We shot it on New Year's Eve and we just kept shooting. At 8 pm we were not even halfway done and some of the girls wanted to leave. Tini came up to me and she was saying that I could leave if I wanted to. She said that I am that girl with tattoos and all but she didn't mind it and she saw something in me." Needless to say, Alicia stayed on maintaining her professionalism. However, her days of booking jobs with the fashion industry makers and shakers took an unexpected turn last year when Alicia decided to take a break and retire from it completely. She resided in Melbourne, Australia to continue her studies, met new people and not to mention, her current boyfriend. Shortly after, fate brought her to Asia's Next Top Model 5 and here she is today with her comeback - better and ready to conquer the world.
jAlicia is wearing Sonya Sandal in gold
Alicia is wearing Sonya Sandal in gold
Her residency at the house of AsNTM was unfortunately cut short as she was eliminated in episode 5. But her leaving the show has been encouraging with positive comments on AsNTM's official Facebook page - "Alicia is BAE material." "I just really love her attitude, very professional." Many were sad to see her leave the show. Way to go for making us Malaysians proud. Working on the show has granted her the opportunity to work with household names such as Cindy Bishop, Yu Tsai, Cara G Mcilroy and Pia Wurtzbach. What was it like working with the judges for the first time? "To be honest, I didn't know who Yu Tsai was until everyone started talking about him, so it was intimidating because I felt uninformed. I like Cara, she was very helpful. Cindy was very straightforward as well and I like that." One thing she claims to have gained from her tenure at AsNTM is her ability to function for four weeks with almost no sleep. And her regrets from the show? "I wish I had started getting model-skinny before instead of after the show." Don't be silly Alicia, we love you and all your curves. Keep the flawsomeness coming. As for how she would like to be remembered, Alicia says "I want the legacy of all my hardships to be remembered in lighthearted memes - some of them are on @aliciaamin on twitter already." We like that.
SHIKIN THE CATWALK SLAYER
jShikin is wearing Picabo Leather in pink
Here is a 25-year-old model born and raised in Damansara. Shikin started her first gig as a model when she was 20 years old after getting a diploma in Communications and Media. She was doing so many odd jobs like being a PA for an artist for a year and decided to test the waters of modeling. One of the greatest moments in her career was being booked for Syomir Izwa Raya/Resort 2015. It's no surprise that Shikin loves to strut on the runway and she does have a killer walk as evident from the show. Her captivating poise on the catwalk exudes the confidence of a woman invulnerable to the spotlight that she is under. What does she love about her job? "I love meeting new people. The real fix for me is doing the catwalks. All eyes on me. It feels great." As much as she enjoys the attention, Shikin prefers to be out of the limelight. Separating her personal life from modeling is instrumental in keeping Shikin grounded and unfazed by what people out of her close circle say about her. "By having days off from modeling. It helps me to reconnect with my loved ones, and my body gets to rest too." Says the girl who loves to spend time at home more than going out to parties.
Shikin is wearing Picabo Leather in black
Shikin is wearing Ivy Sandal in pink
Joining the show marks another milestone in her career but it hasn't been easy. Last year's Malaysian contestant on AsNTM, Tuti Noor was scrutinized for her participation. It was deemed unethical and against religious beliefs. Shikin knew what she was getting herself into and was prepared for it. "As a Muslim, yes I was prepared, but I felt the backlash wasn't as harsh as Tuti during her announcement. I guess people are still confused whether I'm Muslim or not because of my surname." The show itself has been nothing short of drama for Shikin. She claims, "Someone recently called me a backstabber because I allegedly blamed a contestant for bringing the whole team down." All that aside, she has friends and fans who support her 100%. In fact, she finds comfort in talking to her fellow Malaysian counterpart, Alicia. What would she like for her legacy to be? "I want to show that it doesn't matter when you start following your dreams. What matters is your passion and how far you're willing to push." We're on Team Shikin all the way.
Both Alicia and Shikin keep themselves humbled and in check thanks to the over pouring support they get from friends, family, and fans. The best advice they get? "One of my idols have told me to not change myself, and keep pushing my boundaries," says Shikin. As for Alicia, the best advice she's gotten is from an industry friend - photographer, Bibo Aswan who said, "Don't complain, just werk it." Wise words. Being a model is not an easy feat and getting there takes a lot of perseverance, hard work and the ability to stand tall against backlashes and harsh criticism. Both the girls have what it takes to be great and we're counting on them to be role models for girls and women everywhere.
Team Yoke & Theam got to spend a day with the two aspiring models and we got to play dress up with them. One thing is for sure - the girls have an amazing chemistry together and shooting them was a delight.
During the shoot, you got to wear some of the shoes from Yoke & Theam. What do you think about them?
A: They are so fluffy, was I walking on clouds??
S: They are the comfiest pair of shoes. I really loved the way it hugs my feet perfectly!
Which is your favorite pair from Yoke & Theam?
A: My Picabo Leather shoes of course!
S: The Picabo Leather. It matches with almost all outfits!
Would you wear the shoes for casting and events? Why?
A: Yes. They make me a little taller than I already am.
S: I already did wear them to a casting. Heads did turn for sure. Some were even asking where I got them. It's so comfortable and fashionable that people will just want one for themselves.
How would you style your outfit(s) with the shoes for day and night?
A: I wear the same things day and night so these shoes literally never leave my feet if I put them in the morning.
S: For a day look, I'll probably pair them with mom jeans and a crop top. And a for a night look, some ankle-length jumpsuit for a comfortable night out!
What do you think of our movement #ytwalkoflife and our initiative to showcase aspiring models like both of you?
A: I think it's a great approach to validate the perspectives of models in light of the social media uprising as we are very much involved in the industry- most of the time even more so than social media influencers. We sit there through the nit and grit of castings, the glitz of the events and get an all-round perspective.
S: I feel that it's important for local brands to showcase their brands and what better way than to use local personalities!
Photography: Jeremy Choy
Styling: Saerah Ridzuan
Wardrobe: Fabspy, KOZO, DYC and Apostrophe'D
Yoke & Theam Walk of Life
We celebrate strong and independent women of all age, gender, race and sexuality. #ytwalkoflife is our very own initiative to showcase aspiring personalities to our consumers whom we consider our loyal friends. Our belief is that each individual possesses compelling stories that are unique and inspiring - from fashion darlings to expressive artists, to everyday people - let their life narratives play a part in filling the pages in your book of journey. Take a glance at what it's like to be in their shoes as we feature one personality each month.
Yoke & Theam aims to inspire women to become better versions of themselves. You too can be a part of our movement by sharing your Yoke & Theam OOTD with #ytwalkoflife on Instagram. Tell us what empowers you as a woman and who knows, your story could be told here.
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