Vanizha’s big break

AS the only Malaysian chosen to walk for India’s celebrated Lakme Fashion Week, model Vanizha Vasanthanathan is strutting down the runway on cloud nine.

Having missed the Mumbai auditions, the 23-year-old journeyed to Guwahati in the Assam region, where for the first time auditions in the North East of India were held. Vanizha was the only Malaysian who made it to the top six, beating out more than 100 girls but she did not make it into top two, where the winners will have a guaranteed spot on the runway.

Weeks later, she received a surprise in her inbox.

“I received an email informing me I was selected to walk for Lakme Fashion Week.

“I was surprised and speechless because it was one of my dreams,” she told Malay Mail in an exclusive interview.

Decked out in a black tank top, matching black pants with a terracotta longline sleeveless jacket, Vanizha looked every inch a model.

At Lakme Fashion Week, she will be walking alongside the likes of top models such as Archana Akil Kumar and draped in designs by the country’s best.

Vanizha starting making waves in the modelling world when a make-up artist at her collegemate’s fashion show introduced her to a photographer. From there, she went on to do test shoots and soon enough, her photographs became popular on Instagram and Facebook.

She got her big break last year when she was the only girl of Indian ethnicity to walk for the Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week as organisers wanted to introduce fresh faced girls on the runway.

Since then, doors flung open for her and she started booking high profile magazine shoots. More notably was landing a shoot with GLAM for its September issue, the local glossy’s biggest issue, where Vanizha was featured in more than 20 looks.

“It was a new experience for me and really bulked up my portfolio,” she said.

The Kuala Lumpur lass revealed she had always wanted to be a model, since age nine, after watching the first season of America’s Next Top Model.

Its host and creator of the reality TV show, Tyra Banks, left a lasting impression on the young Vanizha.

“I used to think models have to be fair and beautiful but once I saw Tyra on ANTM, I was like ‘Wow, she’s dark skinned and she can be a model’. I thought I should try.”

For her, Banks and Naomi Campbell made her feel that dark skinned girls had a place in fashion.

Between the time Banks and Campbell fiercely stomped their way through race barriers and now, inherent discrimination is still commonly faced by darker skinned models. A few years ago, Victoria’s Secret supermodel Jourdan Dunn spoke out on discrimination she faced in the early days of her career and the scarcity of black models on the runway.

Similarly, the fashion and beauty scene in Asia is not spared from the obsession with fair skin.

“Generally, the industry prefers fair skinned models, it’s an unspoken thing but you can see it happening.

“It’s slowly changing but we have a long way to go.”

Unfortunately, it was not the lanky beauty’s first encounter with discrimination.

“During my school days, my classmates used to call me the Darlie toothpaste black man,” said the former Jalan Imbi Chinese school student.

Vanizha said she was “really offended by the remark back then”.

Another stereotype she wishes to change is the perception of the modelling industry, as it is a career path often met with disapproval from family members.

“Parents these days are more supportive but change also has to come from the industry so that parents are assured that it is a safe career choice,” said the youngest of four.

There are those too, according to Vanizha, who want to be models for the wrong reasons.

“They think modelling is taking pictures and uploading it onto Instagram and getting likes,” said the Multimedia graduate.

“Everyone wants to be a model but they don’t want to be a role model.”

Vanizah said, unlike many Asian parents, she was lucky her parents supported her aspirations from day one.

Her father, Vasanthanathan Nathan, 62, was always the first to buy a magazine if she was featured in it while her mother Sarathambal Maruthan, 58, displayed every magazine in the family’s vegetarian cafe in Jalan Ipoh.

“My mother will show her customers my pictures and share it with her friends,” said Vanizha, who helped cook at the cafe sometimes.

Asked how she stays trim being surrounded by food all the time — ironically the cafe is called Let’s Fat — the full-time model said the key was to skip rice at dinnertime but consumed whatever she liked for breakfast and dinner.

On top of being a food lover, Vanizha is a self-confessed cook.

“My father loves it when I cook. He will have seconds.

“I’m very close to my dad, I’m definitely daddy’s girl. He will never say no to anything and he is there when I need him.”

When she is not modelling or cooking up a storm, Vanizha is also an accomplished Odissi dancer at the Sutra Dance Foundation.

Having danced since she was 16, Vanizha said dancing helped in maintaining a high stamina, good posture and varied expressions.

“Walking in heels requires a lot of stamina and the warm-up exercises definitely helped,” said the dancer who once had to model in eight-inch high heels.

In case you were wondering, she did not fall.

“Even if we fall, we have to know how to continue and keep a straight face.”

Sounds like good advice for life,
doesn’t it?

jennifer lawrence

World ‘s highest paid actresses

JENNIFER LAWRENCE is the world’s highest paid actress for the second year running, with estimated pre-tax earnings of US$46 million (RM185 million).

The 26-year-old raked in the lion’s share from a profit share in the final Hunger Games movie, which grossed US$650 million (RM2.6 billion), Forbes magazine said.

An upfront fee for the forthcoming space thriller Passengers also helped push her pay day above second-ranked Melissa McCarthy, who pocketed US$33 million (RM133 million).

But the list of highest paid actors, due to be published tomorrow, is expected to show once again men banking far more than their female counterparts.

The issue of pay disparity grabbed headlines in 2014 after a leak of stolen emails from Sony Pictures Entertainment showed that Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in the hit movie American Hustle.

After the Sony hack, Lawrence wrote publicly about negotiating for deals and being “over trying to find the ‘adorable’ way to state my opinion and still be likable.”

And Bradley Cooper, who also starred in American Hustle, said he was shocked to find out what Amy Adams was paid for the film.

“She worked every day on that movie and got paid nothing,” Cooper told Reuters. “It’s really horrible actually, it’s almost embarrassing.”

Forbes has pointed to how other actresses, such as Meryl Streep and Gwyneth Paltrow, have been paid less than the men in their movies.

But there may be another factor that may be causing the gap: fewer acting roles for women than for men, which means fewer opportunities for women to earn more.

For instance, 21 of the top 100 films in 2014 had a female lead or co-lead, according to a University of Southern California study. Just 28.1 percent of all speaking roles were women.

Patricia Arquette also railed against the industry’s gender-based wage gap during her acceptance speech after winning a statuette at last year’s Academy Awards.

“To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights,” she said. “It is our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women.”

Lawrence, who took the best actress Oscar in 2013 for comedy-drama Silver Linings Playbook, is down from US$52 million (RM210 million) in last year’s list, although she is still considered Hollywood’s hottest property by some distance.

McCarthy, 45, earned US$10 million (RM40 million) more than last year’s estimate thanks to a reported eight-figure salary for Ghostbusters.

Perennial A-list darling Scarlett Johansson came in third with US $25 million (RM101 million), while Jennifer Aniston, who makes most of her cash through endorsements, bagged US$21 million (RM85 million).

Chinese actress, producer and singer Fan Bingbing rounded out the top five, making the list for the second consecutive year with $17 million (RM68 million).

Although American audiences may recognise her as newcomer mutant Blink in 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, Fan has been in the limelight since the late 90s with the hit TV series My Fair Princess and has topped the Forbes China Celebrity 100 list for three years running, after ranking in the top 10 since 2006.

India’s Deepika Padukone, who earned US$10 million (RM40 million), was the only other actress from outside Hollywood to feature in the rankings.

The 30-year-old, who came 10th, earns far less than her Tinseltown counterparts for her Bollywood roles, but compensates with more than a dozen lucrative endorsements.

After her breakout role in her first Bollywood release, 2007’s Om Shanti Om, Padukone rose to become one of India’s most recognisable actresses and style icons, starring in blockbusters and designing her own clothing line. She is also set to star alongside Vin Diesel in the reboot of xXx called The Return of Xander Cage, which will be released in January next year.
— Agencies

Here is the full Forbes 2016 list of highest paid actresses:

Jennifer Lawrence – $46 million

Melissa McCarthy – $33 million

Scarlett Johansson – $25 million

Jennifer Aniston – $21 million

Fan Bingbing – $17 million

Charlize Theron – $16.5 million

Amy Adams – $13.5 million

Julia Roberts – $12 million

Mila Kunis – $11 million

Deepika Padukone – $10 million

Stacy x Akim

Hey Jude!

HL: New addition

Popular reality singing contest Akademi Fantasia has spawned young and talented stars over the years. And sometimes, these stars cross paths and wind up together, like Akim Ahmad and Stacy.

Love happened and they got married. And now, the local “it” couple are expecting! Akim, 25, who is the lead vocalist of popular rock band Akim & The Majistret, and 26-year-old Stacy, or Ummu Syaikhah Stacy Anam, tied the knot last February.

They have an adopted daughter Bella Valentina, who is five years old. The happy announcement was made through an Instagram post by Akim, featuring a photo of the family celebrating Stacy’s birthday.

After a birthday shoutout to his wife, Akim added in the caption: “And I hope on this day, my child in her womb would always be healthy, as with my wife. Thank you Allah for this most beautiful gift in the world.” Congrats to the happy couple!

HL: Insta-Star of the week

Idris Elba is stripping down and giving fans a look at his progress as he trains for an upcoming fight. In a post-workout photo posted to Instagram, a sweat-drenched Elba flexed his muscles while wearing nothing but his, you guessed it, underwear.

It appears the Thor: Ragnarok star is making his final preparations before his big fight. “Cutting weight, two days before first fight, mind in the right place. Fear NO guy,” the caption read.

Asked about his favourite exercise, the Jungle Book star recently told People Magazine, “Kick-boxing, fight training.” Fortunately for us, Elba has been chronicling his (shirtless) training on Instagram for the past few weeks @7dub.

HL: Spidey senses

They’re just friends. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, who called off their relationship last year after four years of dating, were spotted stepping out together in London. But a source said their stroll was strictly platonic.

“They’re definitely not dating,” said the source. How sure is this source? We aren’t sure either. Regardless, the friendly duo were all smiles as they walked around London’s Convent Garden over the weekend.

If you remember, last October, a source told People Magazine that the two had broken up a few months earlier, after dating on and off since meeting on the set of 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man.

“There was no drama, they’ve been apart while working. They still care about each other. They still have love for one another. They are on good terms with each other and remain close,” the source said. If there was no drama, why can’t they just stay together? For all Spidey fans, watch this space to see if the two rekindle their romance.

HL: Doing it for his art

There was a dark moment in actor Zul Ariffin’s past he hopes he never has to relive. But he can look back at that now as he is no longer a struggling actor. Within the last year, Zul has become one of the leading actors in TV.

His star will shine brighter once he makes that jump to the big screen in Tombiruo. Of course, it helps that he has an Olympian’s body. For the role of the jungle dweller, Zul appears shirtless and some accessories. And because he bears his body in almost all the scenes, fans are worried that he is being exploited. Really?

These aren’t true fans. True fans will want Zul to fully embrace the role. He said the storyline should be a draw for moviegoers, and he was only doing the shirtless scenes as the role called for him to. As an actor, it was a challenge, he said. And we are happy he has accepted it.

pop out live fact


1. HL: Night of pop music


Live Fact, Taman Desa

On the bill is Fazz, waving the flag for musical pop with its brand of cabaret, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll. Joining Fazz are Lukarts, Popscene and Youth Portal. Admission is RM25. For details, call 012-377 8558.

2. HL: Party French-style


Pisco Bar, Bukit Bintang

Head to Pisco to catch producer and multi-instrumentalist Jean Tonique live with his brand of remixes of upbeat hits and rock classics. Admissions is RM20 before midnight, RM30 after. For more information, call 03-2142 2900.

3. HL: KL’s own pop-up bar


Plaza Batai, Bukit Damansara

“Shape Your City” is a campaign by Heineken aimed to encourage creativity of KLites to shape the city they call home. Several Malaysians have jumped on board to come up with a pop-up bar that functions as a space for artistic conversation and social interaction. Entertainment will be provided by LapSap, Goldish, HULKAS and WH. For more information, visit

4. HL:


Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre, Jalan Sentul

Come watch one of the most performed opera La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini, which tells a story of two poverty stricken lovers, carefree life of Bohemians and jealousy leading to a tragic end. Tickets are from RM110 to RM128. For tickets, call 03-4047 9000 or go to

5. HL: Sonnets and songs


Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre, Jalan Sentul

Five singer-songwriters and four actors take centre stage to present a different take on Shakespeare’s Sonnets. You’ll find a blend of classic and contemporary as they work in tandem to produce an eclectic mix of genres to present the timeless works of Shakespeare. Admission is RM45. To book tickets, call 03-4047 9000 or visit

6. HL: Helping the blind


Performing Arts Centre of Penang, Tanjung Tokong

Students of Inti International College Penang are staging a musical drama in aid of the St Nicholas Home for the Blind. Be entertained while doing some good. For more information, call 04-899 1722 and get tickets at



EX ON THE BEACH S5 (premiere)

MTV Asia (CH713) 11pm

What happens when eight hot, single guys and girls arrive in paradise for a dream holiday of sun, sea and good times? If only life were that simple. Because just as things get off to a sizzling start, MTV bring in their exes to break up the party — one by one. As the eight original singles are left wondering “whose ex is next?” trouble in paradise thickens as love triangles become tangled webs of lust, love and loathing. Starring (pic, from left) Stephen Bear, Jordan Davies, Gaz Beadle and Liam Lewis.


Astro First

Pia has a sixth sense which enables her to see the supernatural. She joins a paranormal TV show to know more about her “gift” and the team works with her to unlock the 13 haunted secrets in Bangkok.


ONE HD (CH393) 8.10pm

Romantic comedy set in a broadcasting station featuring the complicated relationship between anchor Lee Hwa-Shin and weather caster Pyo Na-Ri. Starring Jo Jung Suk and Gong Hyo Jin.


History (CH555) & HD (CH575) 6pm

Trained by the British SAS, they were formed in 1969 to combat the resurgent Communists. Uncover the heroism and sacrifices of Malaysia’s elite commandoes.

N. Korea fires submarine missile towards Japan

SEOUL — North Korea yesterday test-fired a submarine-launched missile 500km towards Japan, marking what weapons analysts described as a clear step forward for its nuclear strike ambitions.

The flight distance, tracked by South Korea’s military Joint Chiefs of Staff, far exceeded any previous SLBM tests, suggesting significant progress in technical prowess.

A proven SLBM system would take North Korea’s nuclear strike threat to a new level, allowing deployment far beyond the Korean peninsula and a “second-strike” capability to retaliate in the event of an attack on its military bases.

“While there are still a lot of questions about the details, this test certainly seems to have been successful,” said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Programme at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in California.

“This system is still in development, but North Korea is clearly making progress,” Lewis said.

Current UN resolutions prohibit North Korea from any use of ballistic missile technology, but Pyongyang has continued to carry out numerous launches following its fourth nuclear test in January.

South Korea has responded by agreeing to deploy a sophisticated US anti-missile system — known as THAAD — a move that has seriously strained relations with North Korea’s main diplomatic ally, China.

Lewis noted that an SLBM was an “effective countermeasure” to THAAD, and other missile systems with forward-looking radars, since the submarine can launch the missile from behind the radar.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said yesterday’s missile breached his country’s Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) and condemned what he called an “unforgivable, reckless act” and a grave threat to Japan’s security.

Earlier this month, North Korea fired a land-launched ballistic missile directly into Japanese-controlled waters for the first time, drawing an outraged response
from Tokyo.

The South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff statement said the North was clearly bent on escalating tensions and said the SLBM test posed a “serious challenge” to security on the Korean peninsula, and represented a grave breach of UN resolutions.

“We will deal strongly and sternly with any provocation by the North,” it said.

Washington also condemned the test and warned Pyongyang against any further provocations.

The Ulchi Freedom drill plays out a scenario of full-scale invasion by the nuclear-armed North. It is largely computer-simulated but still involves around 50,000 Korean and 25,000 US soldiers. — AFP


One die, dozens injured 
in Thai car bombing

PATTANI — A car bomb exploded in a nightlife district in Thailand’s deep south, killing one and wounding more than 30, in a nation already on edge after a bombing spree targeted tourist towns.

The latest blast struck late on Tuesday outside a hotel here, one of three Muslim-majority southern provinces battered by a long-running and shadowy rebellion against the Buddhist-majority state.

“So far there is one killed and more than 30 injured,” Major General Thanongsak Wangsupa, Pattani provincial police commander, said yesterday. “The hotel building was considerably damaged.”

Pictures showed fires burning on the road outside the hotel’s shattered facade, with police picked through the rubble. Nearby a car was destroyed, with karaoke bars, massage parlours and restaurants also damaged.

Pattani is not popular with tourists, but analysts said militants were sending a message after coordinated bomb and arson attacks struck multiple resort towns on Aug 11-12, leaving four dead and 37 injured including Europeans.

Those attacks heightened concerns Thailand’s southern insurgency may have spread north after years of stalled peace talks — a theory the country’s junta downplayed given the importance of tourism to the economy.

The entertainment district hit by the car bomb is one of only a handful in the restive south, offering bars, a disco and prostitution, said Don Pathan, a security analyst based in the region.

“It’s the type of place that society around here frowns upon,” he said.

The southern rebels focus most of their attacks on security officers and symbols of the state, but they do occasionally strike nightlife venues.

“The campaign against social evil is not very high on the agenda of the insurgents here. Their strategy right now is to make the area as ungovernable as possible,” Pathan said.

Speaking to reporters after the Pattani hotel blast, Thailand’s deputy junta leader Prawit Wongsuwan again dismissed any link between the tourist town attacks earlier this month and the southern insurgency.

He also said any negotiations with the rebels would be shelved until
violence subsides.

“All violence must first stop before we can set the terms of reference for talks. They need to show their sincerity,” he said.

The 90-kilogramme bomb was hidden inside a stolen hospital vehicle and detonated shortly after a smaller explosive at a nearby bar. The first blast did not cause any injuries.

“The car was parked in front of the hotel lobby for a few minutes after first bomb went off and people were not suspicious because it was a hospital vehicle,” said Colonel Pramote Prom-in, a southern army spokesman.

The so-called “double tap” tactic is often adopted by the southern insurgents and was used in many of the recent attacks on tourist sites further north. — AFP


Quakes hit Italy, Myanmar

ACCUMOLI (Italy) — An earthquake devastated a string of mountainous towns over a swathe of central Italy early yesterday, trapping residents under hills of rubble, with at least 73 people believed killed and many missing.

The quake occurred when most people were asleep, razing homes and buckling roads in a cluster of towns and villages some 140km east of Rome.

“There are still so many people under masonry, so many missing,” said Immacolata Postiglione, the head of the civil protection unit.

She revised a toll of 38 to 73 as rescue efforts continued.

The emergency services released an aerial photograph showing whole areas of the town of Amatrice flattened, while debris filled the streets of nearby Accumoli.

“Now that daylight has come, we see that the situation is even more dreadful than we feared, with buildings collapsed, people trapped under the rubble and no sound of life,” said Accumoli mayor Stefano Petrucci.

Wide cracks appeared like open wounds on the buildings that were still standing.

Residents sifted through the rubble with their bare hands before emergency services arrived with earth-moving equipment and sniffer dogs.

Officials said six people were known to have died in Accumoli and a further six were reported dead in Amatrice. Sky Italia television said 10 had died in the nearby village of Pescara del Tronto. Some 100 people were still unaccounted for in the village of Arquata del Tronto.

“Three quarters of the town is not there anymore,” Amatrice mayor Sergio Pirozzi told state broadcaster RAI. “The aim now is to save as many lives as possible. There are voices under the rubble, we have to save the people there.”

The earthquake caused damage to towns in three regions — Umbria, Lazio and Marche.

The US Geological Survey (USGS), which measured the quake at 6.2 magnitude, said it struck near the Umbrian city of Norcia, while Italy’s earthquake institute INGV registered it at 6.0 and put the epicentre further south, closer to Accumoli and Amatrice.

Residents of Rome were woken by the tremors, which rattled furniture, swayed lights and set off car alarms in most of central Italy.

“It was so strong. It seemed the bed was walking across the room by itself with us on it,” Lina Mercantini of Ceselli, Umbria, about 75km away from the hardest hit area, said.

In Myanmar, a powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake shook central Myanmar yesterday, killing at least three people including two children, local officials said, and damaging some of the famous pagodas in the Southeast Asian nation’s ancient capital of Bagan.

USGS said the quake hit near the town of Chauk, southwest of Mandalay. Tremors were felt as far away as Thailand, where witnesses reported high rise buildings swaying in Bangkok, and the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka.

A fire department official from regional capital Magwe said two young girls were killed when a riverbank gave way in Yenanchaung township, south of Chauk.

One person was killed and another injured when a tobacco processing factory collapsed in the town of Pakkoku, to the north, the duty officer at the local fire department said. — Agencies

Haj stoning to be shortened after deadly stampede

RIYADH — A stoning ritual which led to the deaths of about 2,300 people during last year’s haj will be more tightly controlled during next month’s pilgrimage, Saudi newspapers reported yesterday.

The period during which pilgrims can perform the Jamarat ritual will be reduced by 12 hours, the Saudi Gazette and Arab News said.

The symbolic stoning of the devil will be performed as usual over three days beginning Sept 11 at Mina, about 5km east of Mecca’s Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest site.

But this year there will be no stoning allowed from 6am to 10.30am on the first day, from 2pm to 6pm on the second day and from 10.30am to 2pm on the final day, the haj ministry said.

“This procedure will enable the pilgrims to throw stones easily and will prevent any stampede that may result from overcrowding,” the Saudi Gazette quoted ministry undersecretary Hussain al-Sharif as saying.

He did not elaborate on how the new time restrictions would reduce the potential for overcrowding.

The stampede was the worst disaster in haj history.

It occurred outside the five-storey Jamarat Bridge, a structure resembling a huge parking garage which hosts the stoning ritual and cost more than US$1 billion (RM4) billion to build.

It is almost 1km long and allows 300,000 pilgrims an hour to carry out the ritual.

Pilgrims blamed the stampede on police road closures and poor management of the flow of hundreds of thousands of pilgrims in searing temperatures. — AFP


Data leak hits submarine maker

Sydney — French defence contractor DCNS has been hit by a massive leak of secret data on its submarines likely to alarm India, Malaysia and Chile which use the boats, The Australian newspaper reported yesterday.

The 22,400 leaked pages, which the daily said it had seen, detail the combat capability of the Scorpene-class DCNS submarine designed for the Indian navy, variants of which are used by Malaysia and Chile.

Brazil is also due to deploy the vessels from 2018.

Australia in April awarded DCNS an A$50 billion (RM153.9 billion) contract to design and build its next generation of submarines.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull sought to play down the impact of the leak, saying in Canberra while it was “of concern”, the Scorpene was a different model to the subs Australia is buying.

“The submarine we are building or will be building with the French is called the Barracuda, quite, completely different submarine to the Scorpene they are building for India,” he told Channel Seven.

The leaked documents were marked “Restricted Scorpene India” and gave the combat capabilities of India’s new submarine fleet, The Australian said.

They also included thousands of pages on the submarine sensors and thousands more on its communication and navigation systems as well as nearly 500 pages on the torpedo launch system alone.

DCNS said “national security authorities” had launched an inquiry into the matter, without giving details.

“This inquiry will determine the precise nature of the documents which have been leaked, the potential damage to our customers as well as those responsible,”
it said.

The daily said the data was thought to have been removed from France in 2011 by a former French naval officer who at the time was a subcontractor for DCNS.

The data is believed to have passed through firms in Southeast Asia before eventually being mailed to a company in Australia, the newspaper said.

Australian Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said in a statement the leak “has no bearing on the Australian government’s future submarine programme”.

Australia awarded its submarine contract to DCNS but the secret combat system for the 12 Shortfin Barracudas is being supplied by the United States.

The submarines are a scaled-down conventionally powered version of France’s 4,700-tonne Barracuda. — AFP

E-Paper Article View