After the Farah Angsana show yesterday, I met up with Cheera Rosie.C. She walked into Starbucks in a casual tank top and simple black pants, immediately standing out in the crowd. She gave me a big smile. “How did I do in the show? How was my walk?” Still wrapped up in the post-show excitement, we chatted away.
Growing up in Bangkok, Thailand, Cheera looks nothing like a typical Asian girl. She has amazing cheekbones that are rarely seen on Asian faces. “My grandfather is half Thai, half Indian and my grandma is Chinese, but the only Chinese I know is Nihao (hello), that’s it.” She grinned.
Becoming a model is totally coincidental for Cheera. On one hand, she had always wanted to be a Latin dancer before modeling. Even though she got a lot of “do you want to be a model?” on the street, she had never thought about it seriously. On the other hand, she comes from a well-educated family. Both of her parents are doctors and her brother is getting a degree in engineering. Modeling is not the kind of thing her family would understand. They want her to go into business or study math like all smart girls would do. However, a tragedy happened when Cheera was happily pursuing her dream as a Latin dancer. She accidentally got stomped on by her heels during a twist in a dance and broke her ankle and toe. She had to wear flip flops for a year because of the cast, not to mention dancing. “I had no nails for a year”, she said wistfully.
When Cheera went to college, her brother suggested that she should enter the Preiw Model Contest. “He said: you are tall, why not give it a shot. And I thought: yeah, I can win some money probably. So I went, I got into the top 50, the top 30, the top 5, and finally, fourth place.” “That’s when you became a model?” I asked. “No, I just went back to school with the prize, a lot of money, you know”, she laughed. “ I still didn’t want to be a model. I wanted to be an actress because I love art and acting. Then one day, when I was shopping, I stopped at a poster. It was Carmen Kass in the J’adore Dior campaign. I literally stopped and gazed at her for 10 minutes. She just looked so gorgeous.” That poster changed Cheera’s life forever. For the first time in her life, she realized the value of modeling and began her modeling career.
After working with Upfront Models in Singapore, Cheera landed a contract with WM Management in Bangkok. Having modeled for 7 years, Cheera’s opinion towards modeling has changed drastically. “It is not just being pretty, pretty is never enough. If you are looking for someone pretty, you can find hundreds of tall blondes with long legs waiting in the casting. In that case, anyone can be a model. Instead, modeling is an art. There’s depth in it. There’s character in it. You have to know how to pose and how to sell your products. You also have to know your clients. People of different ethnicities have different attitudes and demands. Chinese, Koreans, Americans are all different. You have to understand your designer in order to work them.”
What surprised me the most is that the supermodel’s life is far from what I imagined—party, limo, alcohol, drugs and scandal. “I get up at 6 in the morning. I have some coffee. I watch some news on TV. I do my makeup and I go to castings at 7. It usually lasts all day. I don’t party. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke.” No wonder, Cheera’s skin is flawless. “In my spare time, I go exercise. Oh man I exercise like crazy. Not only for my figure, I just love it. I used to do horseback riding. But I can’t do it anymore because my agency doesn’t allow me. It gives me the bottom that doesn’t work for dresses,” she sighed. “So I do boxing now. It’s good exercise.”
Besides exercising, the supermodel has her own strategy for skin care and weight management. “Vitamin E before bed time. I don’t use expensive products like the other models; I use the vitamin E capsule. But instead of eating it, I use it as mask. They are cheap and effective!” She also has been a vegetarian for five years. “I don’t eat meat, and no sugar and carbs after 3pm.” As a big fan of cupcakes and Korean barbecue myself, I cannot imagine living such a beautiful yet almost ascetic life like Cheera. “But I am still not slim enough.” My jaw dropped. “That couture needs size 0. I am not size o strictly speaking. I still need to lose weight. Some models I worked with, they eat pizza before bed time. They party hard, drink a lot and take drugs. They don’t even care. But they are still a size zero. You know, the sad thing about being an Asian.” we both laughed.
“This is entertainment; it doesn’t last.” Cheera never considers a “model” as her ultimate goal. It is her first step. “Being a model is good for starting a career in fashion. You see more, thus understand more. But, I would probably be a horse rider after modeling. I always wanted to attend the horse riding competition in Bangkok but never got a chance to do it.”
After the interview, Cheera ran out to her next casting. Having modeled for designers such as Farah Angsana, Julian Louie (designer for ALDO) and Warren Tricomi (designer for the Plaza Hotel Salon), Cheera still prefers an easy and simple outfit.
“I like people inside out but not outside in,” said Cheera.