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Turning heads

   
Acknowledged recently by Swiss watch maker Corum as the `Most Versatile Malaysian Beauty Queen and Model´, Kavita Sidhu has pretty much stayed in the limelight since winning the Miss Charm International in Russia in 1990
The Star, Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Welcome to Kavita’s world, where good fashion sense and movie star sensibility mesh. The former beauty queen-turned-actress revels in jewellery from La Putri and clothes from Escada in an exclusive fashion shoot for Lifestyle – and reveals her thoughts on adornment, love and life.

By WILLIAM K.C. KEE

IN THE lobby of JW Marriott Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, a stylishly clad woman stands out amongst the bustling porters and guests. One can’t help but notice her, as she is very tall (1.78m in height), very pretty and, even behind a pair of dark designer shades, very recognisable.

She is Kavita Sidhu, former beauty queen-turned-actress, and the current celebrity representative of La Putri. She has agreed to a fashion shoot to publicise her association with the home-grown jewellery house.

In the privacy of a hotel suite, Kavita gets ready to model ensembles from Escada (one of her favourite designer labels) and the latest gems from La Putri.

Acknowledged recently by Swiss watch maker Corum as the “Most Versatile Malaysian Beauty Queen and Model”, Kavita has pretty much stayed in the limelight since winning the Miss Charm International in Russia in 1990. Now at 33, she still acts regularly and has ventured into hosting; her talk show Talking Heads will be aired on TV2 early next year.

Although Kavita remains one of the highest paid clotheshorses on the runway, she is selective with her modelling gigs; her last public appearance was at Celine’s fashion show on Oct 25. On Dec 1, she is one of many celebrities to grace a World Aids Day event at TwelveSI, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur.

On being La Putri’s celebrity representative, Kavita says with a laugh: “I have a lot of functions to attend so it’s great to be sponsored. I have to maintain a certain profile and by doing this, it is exclusivity, as I only wear La Putri jewellery. Also, it is a local product which I have no problems promoting because it’s something quite amazing.”

As it happened, the regally named jewellery house, established in Kuala Lumpur in 1973, was looking for “a Malaysian beauty but with an international face” to be its local “princess”.

   
   Kavita Sidhu… I have always wanted to do a talk show. And I want to cover issues that affect people´s lives
“We wanted a woman who is beautiful and elegant, yet powerful and modern. A woman who is Malaysian, but with a face so exotic that one would always be guessing her origins. To us, Kavita embodied all those of qualities,” says La Putri’s proprietor Goh Shuet-Li.

Where global appeal is concerned, Kavita certainly has it. Thus far, she is the only Malaysian beauty queen to win an international title. In her younger days, she was the in-house model for Jean-Louis Scherner in Paris and, in August 2000, was among a trio of Malaysian models handpicked to walk the runway for Escada in Munich.

In 1998, she had a lead role in a hit Singaporean police drama called Triple Nine. Returning to Malaysia the year after, she starred in theatre production Fat Girl’s Revenge and Shuhaimi Baba’s movie Mimpi Moon. This was followed by four seasons on local sitcom Kipas Anggun (later retitled Klick Anggun) and telemovie Perang KL. She also made the news in July when she modelled a RM19mil Anne Bowen-designed dress for Habib Jewels, touted as the most expensive gown in the world.

And now she wants to be a talk show host. At press time, Kavita has finished taping a full season of Talking Heads.

Besides anchoring the show, Kavita is in charge of research and content. “I have always wanted to do a talk show,” she enthuses. “And I want to cover issues that affect people’s lives, from parenting to the plight of the music industry.”

She acknowledges that doing a talk show programme that touches on topical issues to be an entirely different ballgame from modelling and acting. “It was challenging, yes, but I loved the experience.”

Throughout the fashion shoot, Kavita shows why and how she is such a model in demand, being professional and good-natured. She coos appropriately over the jewellery pieces, professing her fondness for a dramatic neck choker paired with a Bond-girl-type lace bustier top.

   
Kavita even jokes about being self-conscious in a pair of red pants, afraid they would make her hips look big. (They didn’t.) She also teases the photographer on several occasions. “Like this cannot meh?” she jests about a particular pose.

When I tell her that she is noticeably more laidback and relaxed compared to the past few times we’ve met, she agrees: “I’ve learnt to be happy with myself and with what I have. When I won the pageant, I was just 21 and, you know, there were times when I was fighting against myself. Now I feel I have less to prove and I have come to accept things as they are.”

Ask Kavita anything, and she’ll be frank about it. But go anywhere near matters of the heart, and the atmosphere become noticeably tense. She is, after all, famously notorious for being tight-lipped about her romantic life. Still I pry delicately, hoping to get a nugget or two.

Short of issuing a “no comment”, Kavita says: “My love life is something very personal to me, I feel awkward talking about it. A lot of people hear certain things and think it is true.”

Should she ever decide to get married someday, whether it’s to an ordinary Joe or fairytale royalty, Kavita says “there is no reason to hide it, as it is something to be happy about.”

She adds: “I can’t live my life trying to explain everything to everyone. What is important is that my family and close friends know the truth.”

We move on to a safer topic: fashion. “I like Versace for its individualistic pieces. I also like Escada since they changed the image to a more youthful one.”

Like any cosmopolitan girl, Kavita confesses that she has way too many shoes. “I’ve got size 10 feet so I can never get shoes that fit locally. So when I go overseas, I get loads.” Where jewellery is concerned, she doesn’t have, well, any concern since she can borrow them from La Putri to wear to her heart’s content.

Indeed, this is one lucky princess.

CREDITS:
Pictures: Ray Lee Voon Leong
Hairstyling: Orange Heads Salon, Kuala Lumpur (03-2143 4728)
Clothes: Escada, Suria KLCC (03-2166 1248)
Location: JW Marriott Hotel, Kuala Lumpur (+603-2715 9000)
Jewellery: LA PUTRI
Lot F23, First Floor
Starhill Shopping Centre
No. 181 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +603-2144 2340

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