At some point in your life, you’ve probably harboured thoughts of what it’s like to be a model. Is it really like what America’s Next Top Model makes it out to be? Recently, we had the opportunity to find out as model Caen Loh came by our office for a #SheByDC shoot. Chirpy and easy-going, she candidly shared with us her experience as a model in Singapore, and 5 life lessons she took away from her two years modelling.

Caen Article Edited-1First things first. What is it really like to be a model in Singapore?

To sum it up, it’s difficult—it’s cut-throat, time-consuming and you never know how much you’ll be earning next month.

In Singapore’s modelling industry, the sea of competition doesn’t end at local models. You’re matched up against foreigners and Pan-Asians models who, Caen reveals, “many [brands] still prefer to hire because they feel [having an international model] pushes their brand out” or gives the brand an international-appeal.

And like any other job, you aren’t exempt from interviews. For models, it’s go-sees or castings, and a lot of hours are burned prepping for and attending them. “I could be going for five different castings a week. Sometimes it’s stressful because there are castings that have specific requirements,” Caen says. On top of that, getting casted for a job is also far and few between i.e. you might earn $500 in a day, but it could also be all you get for the rest of the month!

Caen Article Edited-7Modelling teaches you how to navigate life.

With the difficulties and uncertainties that come with modelling, it’s truly no easier than the next job. It forces you to have a hardened shell and a lets-pick-up-the-pieces attitude towards life. While Caen does not intend to pursue modelling since her contract recently ended, she shares with us that behind a seemingly glamorous job, there are valuable life lessons she has taken away.

#1: You Won’t Be Everyone’s Cup Of Tea (And That’s Okay)

For every unsuccessful casting, you’re being rejected for something that could be as simple as your hair, clothes or frame. Sometimes you don’t even know what you’re being rejected for. Whatever it is, rejection stings, but Caen knows she can’t please everyone and makes sure not to take rejection too personally.

“It’s easy to think and feel that you’re not good enough when you don’t get the job, but really, sometimes you’re just not what they’re looking for. It’s not that they are rejecting who you are as a person.”

#2: You Gain Confidence

Most people assume that models are naturally confident and outgoing. But Caen tells us she wasn’t always this way. When she first started modelling, Caen was often afraid and really quiet at castings. “I was really awkward and scared. I would go to castings, say hi and then I wouldn’t say anything else. People thought I looked really [unfriendly] but in reality, I was just scared to be there,” she laughs. Over time though, you learn to be “more chill” and worry less about what others think of you at the moment, which can be so freeing for the mind.

#3: Hold Things With A Loose Hand

Maybe it’s something you learn early on when you have to balance work and school—you can afford to rest. Caen didn’t let herself get too stressed in her schooling days even with modelling on her plate. “I feel like at the end of the day if you’ve done your best then it’s okay,” she concludes. “School isn’t everything. I can afford to be chill about things, live life and do other stuff, you know? Like hanging out with friends. Sometimes people in school are so focused on studies, they forget other things that matter.”

#4: Prioritise Relationships

Relationships need care in order for them to keep going, and it’s something Caen understands well. Aside from school, castings and shoots, she makes sure to sow time into her friendships.

“I find that there’s so much value in focusing on personal relationships, and not spreading myself too thin because forming friendships takes time. I don’t want to waste effort and time on people who aren’t emotionally present.”

#5: You Learn To Care For Yourself

Whether it’s getting more sleep, going for a walk or sipping a cup of tea, taking time out of your busy schedule for yourself is so important (and often neglected). For Caen, it’s educating herself on what her skin really needs and committing to a soothing skincare routine. “Since everything is available online now, I watch videos on Youtube to find out everything that’s important. For instance, how much sunscreen to put, how much SPF is needed and other essential stuff. Then I just piece everything together and see what works for me,” she explains.

Speaking of skin, we scored Caen’s skincare routine! Here are the products she has been loving:

Day Time
Toner: Thayers – Unscented Facial Toner (Discontinued)
Eye cream: Origins – GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream
Essence: Cosrx – Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
Serum: The Ordinary – “Buffet”
Emulsion: Etude House – Moistfull Collagen Emulsion
Sunblock: A’pieu – Power Block Aqua Sun Gel

Night Time

Toner: Thayers – Unscented Facial Toner (Discontinued)
Eye cream: Origins – GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream
Essence: Cosrx – Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
Serum: The Ordinary – “Buffet”
Emulsion: Etude House – Moistfull Collagen Emulsion
Vitamin C (mixed into emulsion above): Omorovicza – Daily Vitamin C
Moisturiser (mixed into emulsion above): The Inkey List – Turmeric Cream Moisturiser
Oil (mixed into emulsion above): Life-flo – Pure Rosehip Seed Oil
Moisturiser: Cosrx – Oil Free Ultra Moisturising Lotion (With Birch Sap)
Sleeping pack: Etude House – Moistfull Collagen Sleeping Pack (Discontinued)

Caen Article Edited-4

Catch our Spring Makeup Edit modelled by Caen here and here.

With love,


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