Ask The Expert: Advice from a top fashion model on how to elevate your look


A bright red lipstick colour, says Alicia, can help draw attention to your face. Photo: Alicia Amin

Ask The Expert is a column where we get experts to answer questions on topics related to fashion and beauty.

Here, Malaysian model Raja Alicia Raja Amin, who has been in the local fashion industry for over a decade, reveals the tricks of the modelling trade – on how you can look good, both behind the lens and in real life.

When it comes to looking stylish and standing out in pictures, are there any dos and don’ts that a person should take note off when it comes to posing? – Priti, PJ

Always check your posture. A strong but relaxed posture (don’t retreat into yourself, be confident) makes a person look charismatic and adds height.

If you don’t know what to do for a picture, pretend you’re doing something – like adjusting a watch or adjusting your hair, and make small movements, while periodically looking at the camera and away.

The best photos are “moments” captured, and they draw attention to the items you’ve styled.

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I always hear the term “own your style”. How can I follow trends, but still be unique and stand out from the crowd? – Miza, Shah Alam

Trends are a great way to stay updated, but try to stay true to how clothes make you feel.

If you like certain accessories, cuts or pieces of clothing, when a new style rolls in, don’t abandon these items. Instead, find ways to incorporate your personal tastes into “what’s hot” .

You don’t have to follow every trend to a T; eventually you’ll make your own twist to everything.

Posing in photos is about experimenting and trying different angles, all the while remaining in short bursts of motion, as demonstrated by Alicia Amin. Photo: Alicia AminPosing in photos is about experimenting and trying different angles, all the while remaining in short bursts of motion, as demonstrated by Alicia Amin. Photo: Alicia AminHow do I find “my best side” in photos? Is there even such a thing? – Cara, Bangsar

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you find yourself more attractive in a particular angle, that is your best side.

Remember, it may be all in your head as well – sometimes a candid photo from the alleged “bad side” might look stunning because you aren’t thinking about whether it looks good or not.

Always have fun with yourself.

Can you give me advice on mastering the relaxed “model-off-duty” look? – WS, Penang

Model-off-duty comes from a pretty practical place. The clothes are usually easy and quick to change out of, as we don’t work in our regular clothes.

Comfort is a priority, and it’s usually elevated with a warm jacket because venues can be quite cold.

I sometimes feel awkward when being photographed. How do I gain confidence and feel more comfortable? This will really help my Instagram game. – Prim, Ipoh

As I mentioned in an earlier question, interact with yourself! But you can also interact with things around you – for example, if there’s a wall – lean on it.

My personal method is to always keep moving.

Try different natural poses (crossing arms, hands in pockets) and slowly make small movement changes, like changing your shoulder tilt, shifting weight between the left and right side of your body, making eye contact into camera, but changing the angle of your face (chin up, chin down).

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What are the easiest ways to immediately look more stylish and put-together? Are there any easy accessorising tips to jazz up an outfit? – Iliza, Melaka

My advice is to try red lips on a bare face.

For fashion, choose one really good statement piece for clothing – it can be anything (earrings, ring, necklace).

If everything else is simple, yet you have one thing that draws attention, it will always looks polished and planned even if you just “threw some stuff together”.

Can you give me tips on makeup? What are the makeup tricks that can immediately make me look good in pictures? – Aina, JB

Skincare is key. Makeup can be anything – it’s experimental. Go crazy! But remember glowing, moisturised skin is the true base of all makeup.

Many makeup artists say lips, brows and lashes are the basics if you don’t have time for anything else. If you have a good relationship with your skin, any makeup will shine through with you.

Do you have any questions on fashion and beauty? Email us with the subject heading Ask The Expert to lifestyle@thestar.com.my. Please include your name, address, contact number and if you prefer, a pseudonym.

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