Behind the glamour

14 Feb 2019 / 12:15 H.

AFTER several years of experience in front of a camera, fast-rising model and financial advisor Joshua Benedict managed to turn his charisma into success, when he was crowned Mister Tourism World Malaysia in 2017.

The title gave him the chance to compete in Mister Tourism World International 2017 in Myanmar, where he emerged second runner-up. He was also awarded the Best Speaker title at the same event.

The 27-year-old Johor-born Joshua is of mixed parentage. His father, a retired navy officer, is of Indian-Portuguese descent, while his mother, a retired matron, is a Chinese. He can speak four languages – Malay, English, Tamil and Mandarin.

When did you become a model?

“I became a model at age 20. My modelling career was totally accidental. A friend of mine was modelling at a fashion show. At the last minute, another model dropped out and the designer was frantically looking for a replacement.

“My friend suggested my name, and the next thing I knew I was walking on stage, parading the creations of the fashion designer. Slowly, I started doing commercials and catalogue shoots.”

What motivated you to continue modelling?

“When I was three, I was playing with my cousin, and I had accidentally hit my grandmother who was carrying a pan of hot oil. Some of the boiling oil spilled on my shoulder and even hit my face.

“In time, my skin healed. However, my skin was [affected]. You can still see some light scars on my shoulder and my face.

“At school, my classmates teased me about my scars and my dark skin colour. I grew up feeling insecure about the way I look. The more modelling I do, the less insecure I feel. Modelling enhances my confidence. If you can’t love yourself, then you will have difficulty loving others.”

What is the greatest misconception people have about modelling?

“Most think that modelling is just all about glamour and fame. But there is a lot of hard work involved.

“For example, in one catalogue project, I had to wear 140 outfits during a one-day photo shoot.

“I need to watch what I eat, and to go gym everyday. The gym has become my second home.

“You must also learn to have perseverance. Some have complained that the modelling world will not accept you if you have dark skin. Well, my advice is stop whining and continue to battle against this discrimination.

“I do not have perfect skin but I continue to model. Look at Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks. They do not have fair skin but they have done extremely well.”

Some models have developed eating disorders. Have you faced that in your career?

“Yes. When I was [competing] for Mister Tourism World Malaysia 2017, I was starving myself. Then, I looked at myself in the mirror and I realised I did not look healthy, and immediately, I stopped starving myself.

“Modelling is never about looking skinny. Modelling is about looking healthy, and it is only when you are healthy, [that] you look good in real life and in front of the camera.”

You have a degree in psychology. Do you want to eventually make a career of it?

“Currently I am pursuing a masters in psychology. But I do not think I want to be a psychologist.

“[However], I love what I have studied. Psychology helps me discover a lot about myself. It helps me to understand the people I deal with.”

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

“My strength is I have the gift of gab. You can give me any topic under the sun and I can start a conversation. I am a sociable person. My weakness is I have a lot of self-doubt and I need to overcome this.”

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