#PamperMySTAR: Model, Entrepreneur and Mum, Amber Chia Tells It All

As I arrived at Amber Chia Academy on a sunny Monday afternoon, Amber Chia greeted me with a big smile and a warm handshake before I could properly introduce myself.

“I’m so sorry that I’m losing my voice,” said Amber, and then she jokingly said that she hopes people would not think she is a man by just listening to her voice. I then complimented Amber on her new hairstyle with fringe, and she replied, smiling, “I don’t really know how to style my shoulder length hair; normally I just comb it with my finger then go out.”

On this episode of #PamperMySTAR, we are very pleased to be able to interview our very own homegrown supermodel, Amber Chia, who made a big name for herself as a model after winning the Guess Watches Timeless Beauty International Model Search when she was just 22 years old.


Today, Amber wears many hats, a supermodel, brand ambassador, mother, and a modelling instructor, as well as the co-founder and principal of Amber Chia Academy.

Though she may seem to have it all; however it wasn’t always always a gilded existence for her. At the age of 17, Amber flew from Tawau, Sabah to Kuala Lumpur, with only RM 300 in her pocket to chase her dream.

“I didn’t know how long I can survive and when my money will run out,” Amber shared. With zero modelling experience and no SPM certificate, Amber explained it was a tough moment at that time of her life. Nonetheless, what made Amber’s fairytale happened is her determination and a spirit to never give up, to chase her dream to become a model, despite disapproval from her family.

“Both of them disagreed with me,” Amber shared. “The first thought they had towards modeling were negative stereotypes, such as smoking, drinking, and being someone’s mistress.”

The same year when she came to KL, Amber went back to her hometown and she showed her mother the photographs that she has taken. It took Amber’s mother two years to finally agree with her career but it took her dad around four years.


“My mom called me and said your dad is crazy! He took all of my photos and magazine covers and stuck it all over the house, and even in front of the dining table. That is when I knew that he has become my supporter.”  Amber recounted.

Amber, who’s a veteran in the modeling industry, shared with us how much the industry has evolved throughout the years.

“When I just kick started my modelling career, I remember that only Malaysians are allowed to appear in commercials and runway shows. Basically that gave Malaysians a lot of opportunities,” Amber explained. Around four to five years later, the modelling doors in Malaysia has opened to foreigners which made the industry more competitive. “But this has also made models more determined and hardworking so things always happen for good and bad.”

In today’s world, it is hard to not talk about social media while discussing about the modelling industry. Models such as Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner and, and Hailey Baldwin, gained their supermodel status and fame trough their big social media followings. When asked about what Amber thought about this phenomenon, she shared “Social media in these five years is really in.” She continued, “Social media help models to earn more money while at the same time it gives people who want to be a model a good platform to start. This is the trend and change, what I have to do is accept and learn.”

We asked Amber if she had any advice for the local modeling industry, here’s what she had to say.

“These days when you watch runway shows, you can see they [the models] are all foreigners. Hopefully Malaysian brands and designers can give more opportunity to Malaysian models, because we need your support.”

Though Amber has enjoyed a phenomenal success in the modelling industry, she also understands that beauty doesn’t last forever and modelling is not a sustainable career.

“I know that one day I will be old, and I won’t be in the modelling anymore, so you have to plan something for your future.”


She continued, “When I was 29, I thought it was time to start my career, something I could grow old with and will forever belong to me. I want to start something long term, because in the modelling world everything comes and gos.

Founded in 2010, Amber Chia Academy was founded by Amber Chia and catwalk guru Benjamin Toong. As described by Amber, when she first started in the modelling industry, there was no single place that could provide a complete education that was required to succeed in modelling. Thus she started the academy to help aspiring models who would like to learn more about the ins and outs of modelling, fashion, makeup, hair styling.

Curious to know the one thing Amber misses about Tawau, and the sweetest thing her son Ashton has ever done? Find out more in the video.

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