Fashion

Dare to Disrupt: Vivien Ong-Patenaude

by Evon Chng & Gordon Ng
10.04.2017
These 10 creatives have rocked the boat, challenged expectations, and shaken up the system. Here, we’re given a peek into the daily lives of these disruptors and what drives them

After being scouted in Paris, the lithe and versatile Vivien (@yaxenduff) decided to take her fashion career into her own hands by moving to the Big Apple in 2013. It turned out to be the decision of a lifetime that turned her into one of Singapore’s few-and-far-between internationally successful fashion models. She’s walked for brands like Sophie Theallet, Moncler, Vivienne Westwood and Anthony Vaccarello at the fashion week shows in Milan, Paris and New York.

Fresh off my first fashion week in Paris, I got called in to replace a girl for Elle Italia. We shot 16 hours everyday for three straight days, and I made the cover. At this point in my career I hadn't done too many editorial spreads, but being in front of [American photographer] Alexei Hay's lens taught me that the most organic images come from moving like myself and not being too concerned about striking a pose.

I would never have imagined myself being a professional model and having the chance to walk in New York, Milan and Paris Fashion Week! 

A photographer I would love to work with is Peter Lindbergh. I have a few books filled with beautiful images of women shot by him. The rawness of his images is a stark contrast from everything else we see in this usually super-polished world. I've always admired his work… just shooting people the way they are, not trying to change them into a fantasy. 

My role model growing up was my aunt. She was a hard news journalist. Although I've always had an interest in writing, I’m much more into languages and cross-cultural communication.

I'm really glad I started modeling instead of going straight into getting a degree. I used to think that when I stopped modeling, it would be a clean break. But having done this for six years, I've come to understand the different ways agencies, art directors, photographers and a million different people come together to make a project happen. I've been engulfed in it for more than half a decade!

I hope that younger local models will have no fear and just venture out into the world because you never know what can happen until you try!

Get to know our pick of ten rule-breaking creatives in the March 2017 issue of L'Officiel Singapore.

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