Malaysian Dreamgirl

Several friends have been asking me if I’ve seen the new online reality show, Malaysian Dreamgirl, which aims to find the next top fashion model or host in Malaysia. It piqued my interest at first because I am a heterosexual male but when I found out that Kenny Sia was going to be one of the judges, I got the sinking feeling that it would not be worth watching.

The show is a purely online reality show that airs every Thursday and Saturday. There are 12 contestants and 3 of them are eliminated every 5 episodes. This show reminds me of the Next Top Model series except for the judges. I just cannot take any show that features Kenny, in the role of a judge, as a serious show. Granted, his blog is extremely popular, but it is also extremely brainless. So, my personal opinion is that he is sitting on the panel for the out-of-the-box element.

Moreover, there isn’t any real reason to watch these kind of ‘reality’ shows unless the contestants are worth looking at. Call me shallow but that’s the main marketing point for such a show. So, whenever a friend asked me to watch the series, I’d just ask them if the girls were good looking. None of my friends have told me that any of the girls were, which was fairly surprising. Nonetheless, since they have asked me about it, I thought that I’d give the website a visit. I went to the website and looked through the profile of all the 12 finalists. That’s when I got a few surprises.

Firstly, some of them were openly exposing their ‘aurat’ as part of the competition. This was fairly surprising because the last time that we had a muslim girl in our Miss Malaysia competitions was more than a decade ago. There is an unspoken rule that this was a problem because of the swimsuit category in the competitions. So, to me, this was a fairly surprising development. I just hope that the religious authorities to not get wind of this show and the girls involved do not get into any trouble.

Secondly, some of them could not even speak properly in their introductory videos. But when I looked at their porfolio photographs, the photographs do look good but I attribute this to the skills of the photographer. I guess that the producers of the show did manage to assemble a good team of make over artists and photographers. Thankfully, this competition isn’t about their oratory skills. So, that should not be too much of a problem.

Thirdly, I found it surprising that voting was still being done by SMS even when every other aspect of the show was being delivered online. There is no technical reason why this had to be the case, except for the fact that it allows the show to make money. Since the show is being given away freely online, I would think that their business model would be based on income from the SMS profits.

However, from my initial impression of the competition, I would think that it will succeed in Malaysia. It appeals directly to our ‘kaypoh’-ness. The show will also earn a decent amount of money because we’d happily vote with our money. The girl who wins would also get an opportunity to change her career. So, it’s a win-win-win situation for everyone involved.

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Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

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