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Thursday February 16, 2012

Face of beauty

Young actress Yahui is the new face of cosmetic brand Silkygirl.

THE first thing you notice about MediaCorp artiste Koh Ya Hwee is her flawless complexion which can be best described as porcelain. Pale and luminous, the 24-year-old Singaporean actress, who is better known by her stage name Yahui, has skin that many women would (and do) pay for.

Top that with a brilliant smile which she so readily flashes, her deep dimples and friendly disposition, and you realise exactly why cosmetics brand Silkygirl courted Yahui as its latest brand ambassador.

“I really have no beauty secrets,” says Yahui at a recent interview when asked how she maintains such beautiful skin. “I inherited my mum’s good skin. In fact, her skin is smoother than mine! I’m serious!”

Go natural: ‘I don’t wear heavy makeup unless I am attending an (industry) event and have to be dressed up. My style is more casual,’ says Yahui.

She concedes that perhaps her active lifestyle and healthy outlook on life has a part to play, too.

“I think having a healthy lifestyle, a balanced diet and regular exercise is important,” says the sylph-like beauty who plays basketball regularly with her friends. Yahui also plays badminton, and does yoga and pilates as well. Her latest craze is extreme sports.

“Here are my tips – drink a glass of water when you wake up in the morning, don’t wear make-up when you work out so your pores can breathe. And, if you want to look fresh and fabulous ... use Silkygirl!”

Except for some lip gloss and blusher, Yahui appears almost devoid of make-up during the interview and ensuing photo shoot. She shares that she prefers the “go natural” look whenever she isn’t on set or attending events.

“I don’t wear heavy make-up unless I am attending an (industry) event and have to be dressed up. My style is more casual,” says Yahui, who was dressed in a pair of light blue jeans and a sheer white top over a singlet and white canvas lace-up shoes.

Yahui first came into the spotlight in 2007 when she won the Miss Telegenic Award at Singapore’s talent scouting competition, Star Search. She was subsequently offered a contract with Singapore’s leading media group, MediaCorp, landing herself a prominent role as Tao Wen Zhu in the long-running drama Love Blossoms alongside actors Ivy Lee and Zheng Ge Ping.

In 2009, she was offered a role in Reunion Dinner alongside her mentor, Chen Li Ping. Her performance on the show earned her nominations for the Best Newcomer Award in both The New Paper Flame Awards 2008 and the Star Awards 2008.

Yahui knew she wanted to act when she was as young as five. An avid TV fan, she wanted to be on the small screen just like the characters she watched on TV.

“I was about five when I realised I wanted to be on TV. I was fascinated by the actors I saw on screen. When I was in secondary school, there was a variety show that was being shot at a market and there was a segment where public participation was required. I went there with a friend and tried to get a spot on the show. I looked frantically for the camera crew and when I spotted them, I casually walked behind the hosts so that I would be on camera. When the show aired and I saw myself on screen, I was over the moon. I remember jumping around the house,” she says.

That was just one of many such strategies she employed to get on TV. There were others, too.

“On another occasion, I remember dragging a couple of my good friends to the other end of the island to join an ongoing competition for girls with the best smile. I was very confident of being selected and I looked for the hosts to make sure they could spot me. I wore my best smile and walked past them casually, and they did see me but they ignored me. I was devastated. Until today, I think it was their loss not to have cast me,” she says with a laugh.

Yahui’s dream came true when she won the talent competition.

“Joining Star Search was a dream come true. It was pretty tough as I did not have an acting background but I had a feeling that this would be my shot. I love acting. The thrill of portraying different characters and the challenge of ‘throwing’ myself into each character ... it’s what I love,” says the actress who lists Rui’en, Chen Liping, Huang Biren, Meryl Streep, Shu Qi and Blake Lively as some of her inspirations.

Celebrity

Yahui admits she has had to adjust to her new life as a celebrity.

“It’s good to be an actress because I get bigger portions and more ingredients when I buy food at the hawker centres,” she jokes. “No, seriously, I don’t have as much freedom as before. Imagine shopping and eating with so many pairs of eyes staring at you. It’s difficult to relax and be myself. Now I realise why, as a child, I never spotted any celebrities walking around in malls. But I am grateful for the attention because being recognised means people are watching my shows and I would be sad if no one pays me any attention,” adds Yahui, who enjoys having a good glass of wine with friends when she’s chilling out, and listening to jazz and classical music.

Being chosen as the face of Silkygirl was a bonus.

“I was elated when I found out they wanted me. Silkygirl is a cosmetic brand for young adults like myself. They have a wide range of products that are good and not overpriced. I am happy to be their ambassador,” she says, adding that her personal favourite Silkygirl products are the lipsticks and glosses that come in a varity of “fresh and beautiful” colours that are long-lasting.

Apart from her fresh, youthful appearance, Yahui was the obvious choice to be the face of Silkygirl because she personifies the qualities of the brand: young, fun-loving and confident.

Despite her independent nature, the actress is still pretty much a homebody at heart. She still lives with her parents, both retirees, and is still single.

As the brand ambassador, Yahui, who is currently pursuing a degree in accountancy, is aware she is a role model for other young girls and if nothing else, her message to them would be to just be themselves.

“Make-up is just to enhance your features and not change the way you look. Don’t change how you look with a thick layer of make-up,” she says emphatically.

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