Article from the Sun daily by Rachel Law (posted on 23rd June 2015)
WITH her effervescent personality and go-getter attitude, it is only a matter of time before Melissa Th'ng Mei Ling becomes a household name in the local media and entertainment industry.
Although she is well known as a top 7 finalist in the pilot cycle of Asia's Next Top Model (AsNTM), Th'ng has her eyes fixed on the world of hosting.
"You don't get a lot of say in modelling. The industry only cares about looks but I've worked hard to be a good person and to have smart things to say – I'm candid and expressive. I want to emcee events and host TV or radio shows in full force, or even act in commercials!" said the fresh graduate in marketing communication.
The Sabah-born, Ipoh-bred young lady has an athletic facet too, in fact an impressive one. Th'ng played tennis for the states of Perak and Selangor in her teens, even made it to the Sukma Games twice, and is now a qualified tennis coach, following in her parents' footsteps.
"I was too focused on becoming a professional swimmer so I only started learning tennis at 15, when everyone else had a head start of at least five years. My parents were training me every single day until midnight and I was very lucky to make it into the state team within a year! It was the toughest thing to do but that's my proudest achievement," the 24-year-old beamed.
What do you love and hate about tennis?
Years of playing tennis bring a lot of discipline and wire the brain in a certain way. I would've given up in AsNTM if not for the athlete mentality. I told myself, I'm already here and even though I'm losing, I'm fighting on. On the flipside, I hate that there can only be one winner. That said, how you act when you win or lose says a lot about you. Former world number one Roger Federer is very gracious and classy whether he wins or loses, and that's something you want to emulate.
In retrospect, how did participating in AsNTM made you the person you are?
It made me a lot tougher. I'm not trying to brag but generally, before the show, nobody really hated me. I'm quite pleasant and nice. But on the show, I was criticised for being "short", "ugly" and "fat" by people who didn't even know me. I don't know where the hate came from because I didn't do anything wrong. But when you're in a situation where people talk smack about you for no justifiable reason, you learn how to deal with haters. These days I'd respond with, "God bless and have a nice day."
Who do you look up to?
I aspire to be like (Filipino supermodel) Joey Mead King, one of my mentors on the show. She can act crazy but be poise at the same time. She knows when to be herself and when to be professional, and she's so humble. The show's been over for two years but we still text up to this day. She doesn't have to give a crap about me – I'm nobody compared to her – but she still takes time to check up on me. I'm so humbled by that.
What do you look for in a partner?
Not the jealous type since in my industry I'm always surrounded by good-looking guys who are famous and funny. He has to be family oriented, God-centred and positive because I'm a positive person!
Share with us a guilty pleasure.
I love to eat. There's where I spend all my money on. People spend it on bags and clothes but I don't shop a lot. I'm not materialistic like that but I love my food, especially Japanese food. Sashimi's my favourite!