"Asia's Next Top Model" is Sheena Liam of Malaysia; netizens react to finale result

 
 
Malaysia's Sheena Liam bagged the title of Asia's Next Top Model (AsNTM) for the show's second season. In the process, Liam beat two Philippine representatives, Jodilly Pendre and Katarina Rodriguez.

Twenty-year-old Pendre, who hails from Mandaluyong, placed second to Liam, who won a modeling contract with London-based Storm Model Management, among others.
 
Another Filipina, 21-year-old Katarina Rodriguez from Makati, placed third among 16 contestants from 12 countries in Asia, including Singapore, Japan, China, and South Korea.

The finale was set at Malaysia's Tanjong Jara Resort in Kuala Terengganu, where the finalists were made to deliver emotional performances in an editoral shoot that depicted "kampung life" (village life). 

They also took the runway in designs by Jonathan Liang, Ghea Panggabean, and Albert Andrada.
 
All-three ladies delievered walks worthy of the title in a well attended final runway event that included UK-based Malaysian fashion designer Jimmy Choo

For the finale, the regular judges -- host Nadya Hutagalung, model Joey Mead King, photographer Mike Rosenthal, and movement coach Adam Williams -- were joined by Harber's Bazaar creative director Kenneth Goh and Asian supermodel Ling Tan.

The all-male Australian hip-hop dance and pop music group Justice Crew performed during the episode, while Indonesia's representative to the competition, Janice Hermijanto, whom most of the girls took issue with during the previous episodes, got to make a comeback hosting a runway show.
 
 
Pendre, who broke down in tears after Liam was announced winner, dedicated her stint in "Asia's Next Top Model" to her mother.
 
"If I win this competition, my mom will be so proud of me. She actually doesn't know that this is for, because everything I do is for her. I want to give her a better future. I want to show her that she still has a daughter [who] is willing to give everything for her, because I really want to fulfill her dreams. I am not here for fame. I am here because I have a purpose to be here. I have a reason."
 
Pendre, tall and morena, was already a model in the Philippines prior to joining AsNTM. She had been walking the runway for Philippine Fashion Week and other runway shows and posing for various campaigns.  

She finished her information systems degree at the University of Santo Tomas while modeling on the side.

Much was expected of her during the show's entire duration due to her experience and feisty personality.
 
 
While also emotional, Rodriguez considered her top-three finish an accomplishment, saying she never thought she would reach the end of the competition.
 
"I did reach the top three. I feel very accomplished. I didn't think I could ever make it this far. This is definitely farther than I ever could've dreamed of making."
 
Rodriguez is currently pursuing her literature degree at De La Salle University. She's an athlete who always wanted to give modeling a try. Her friends pushed her to try out for AsNTM.

Rodriguez was always referred to as a "diamond in the rough" throughout the show for having no professional experience prior to AsNTM. Her hardwork and willingness to learn eventually paid off and she found herself in the finals.
 
Last year, the Philippines' Stephanie Retuya similarly placed third in the first-ever edition of "Asia's Next Top Model."

In an interview with Venusbuzz, Liam explained how her strategy in the show changed when she finally got to meet her competitors.

"When I got into the competition, I wanted to be quiet and not stand out at first but when I got there and I saw the level of competition I was pitched against, I couldn’t stick to my original plan. I had to go all out and really push my hardest before each shoot because you make one mistake, and you can be cut out."

During the show, she excelled in photoshoots and repeatedly received positive feedback from the judges but on the show's 4th episode, she was called out for "playing too safe" in one of their photo shoots. Since then, Liam took into heart the judges' comments and starting putting in a little extra in her poses and aiming for something unique.

The heartbreaking loss of two Pinays to Malaysian Liam on April 9 finale drew mixed reactions from fans of the show – and of the models.

Both Pendre and Rodriguez performed strongly throughout the season, although Pendre in particular, with her strong pictures and runway walk, was considered one of the favorites to win.
 
Here are some of the social media reactions that appeared moments after the big announcement.  
 











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