At 17, Amber Chia embarked on a big move in her life that changed everything and made her into the supermodel that she is today. Despite a prolific career, our Malaysia’s pride, Amber Chia still has her feet firmly on the ground, and like many other supermodels, shares a humble beginning—which is what according to her, is the secret of her success. 

The modelling industry is extremely competitive, but Amber Chia certainly has conquered it big. When asked on how she pulled it all together, she shared, “Always have positive energy. You’ll face a lot of rejections. If you don’t give up, you can make it.” Growing up in a fishing village, she could only gaze across the ocean to catch her dreams. Today, she has graced over 200 magazine covers, catwalked on runways in 6 continents, starred in movies, authored books, and is a brand ambassador for over 30 brands. Amber Chia’s career started to bloom after she won the 2004 Guess Watches Timeless Beauty Contest at 17. Overnight, she became the talk of the town, and of course, who could take their eyes off her famous pout, and strong cheekbones?

By the time she turned 15, she had stopped schooling and was juggling three jobs to help her family: selling fish at the market in the early morning, working in a shop at the mall after that, before clocking in as a cashier at a pub in the nights. If you thought that Amber was just a pretty face, you thought wrong. In mid-2009, Amber launched her own company called Amber Creations. In August 2010, she set up a modelling school, Amber Chia Academy. Amber struggled when she was trying to make it, and she often hoped that there was something or someone to guide her through it all.  

“Without the hardship, I wouldn’t be so strong and so appreciative of the things around me today.”

The supermom shares, “From a young age I worked really hard to survive, to support the family – but i believe all the hard times made me stronger. Without the hardship, I wouldn’t be so strong and so appreciative of the things around me today. It has made me a better person, a better version of me. Her gutsy pursuit paid off, of course. She went on to represent major international brands like L’Oreal, Mitsubishi, Vidal Sassoon and Pensonic, to name a few.

When asked about how she was able to survive when she first moved to Kuala Lumpur, she shared, “It was really difficult initially because I started off with only RM300 after buying my flight tickets. I survived with what I had. I took other jobs in order to make the money that I needed for modelling. It was tough because it wasn’t what I wanted to do when I first came to KL, but that’s life and sometimes life doesn’t come easy.”

The supermodel is now a great mentor, and has set up the Amber Chia Academy to help to realise the dreams hopeful girls like she once was. “When I help someone achieve their dream, I feel like a proud mum! I feel like I played a part in making it happen, and it’s one of the most successful feelings I ever had.”

What better way to maintain your success if not by inspiring others to reach theirs? Just like her name, Amber Chia is indeed a true gem!