So, season one of Malaysian Dreamgirl is finally over.
The eventual winner of the Nissan Latio and RM10,000 Ambank Mastercard is none other than Cindy Tey.
There was a bit of a discontent among the viewers after the winner was announced. Eventhough Cindy won by the most votes, it was pretty clear she wasn't the most popular among the viewing public. But in the end, votes are votes, rules are rules and it would be terribly unfair if we were to change the rules halfway through the competition.
Nonetheless, we learnt a great deal in making this series.
Malaysian Dreamgirl has been an extraordinary journey.
It has been an incredible experience not just for the 12 girls who participated in the contest, not just for the thousands watching it worldwide, but also for all of us in the cast and crew who were involved in the production of this show.
There is a lot I wanted to say about the show.
The truth is, I've been waiting a long time to write this because there are a lot of things I wanted to get off my chest regarding MDG, but somehow I just feel like it isn't appropriate to voice it out when the show was still going on.
But now, I want to say my piece.
I first heard about Malaysian Dreamgirl back in December 2007.
Back then, no one knew what the show is about or what it is going to be like, except for the fact that MDG is gonna be the country's first online reality model search.
Nuffnang was the one who brokered the deal between myself and Capxion Media. Over coffee, Capxion CEO Jerad and Program Director Edmund gave me a rundown about what their plan for this online reality show is.
To be honest, the first time I hear it, I couldn't help but to feel a bit skeptical.
A show that is broadcasted completely online? Not even on TV?
Isn't that a bit risky? What are these people thinking?
Who is gonna spend 30 minutes sitting in front of their bloody computer watching a reality show about some model search, when the TV screen is larger and infinitely more comfortable?
Why broadcast the show over the Internet? How are they gonna handle the bandwidth costs?
There is just too much unknown.
I could see it on his face. Jerad must have heard the same skepticism from the people he spoke to a hundred times over.
The fact of the matter is: nothing like this has ever been done in Malaysia before.
Malaysian Dreamgirl back in December 2007 was like one big blur of unknown. Capxion Media was a brand new company and the people behind it had close to zero experience in producing any form of television show before. Let alone one that is gonna be broadcasted exclusively over the Internet.
There were big challenges in front of them, and the chances of them failing is very, very high.
I wasn't confident in their project at first. But a part of me couldn't help but be impressed with their idea.
These people are creative. Creative people innovate. Creative people take risks when everybody else looked at it and said "No, I am too chicken to do it."
Despite my initial skepticism, by the end of our conversation, Capxion Media had me convinced to work with them.
Jerad and his team had put together a plan that is downright impressive and virtually infallible. When I listened to him answer my questions without a shred of uncertainty, I couldn't help but be amazed at how they managed to have a solution for every single problem that I raised. Even more surprising is how they managed to attract so many sponsors for something that has never been done before.
I told Edmund, for my own sake, that I would not take part a project that is doomed to fail. But now that they had convinced me how worthwhile this project, the only thing I want to see is Malaysian Dreamgirl suceeding.
I said that with all honesty and sincerity because I share their dreams. I want to see good quality Malaysian content on the Internet. And I would do my best to ensure good quality Malaysian content is recognised the whole world over.
Thus, "Kenny Sia the MDG Judge" is born.
In my first entry about MDG, I mentioned that I was put on as a judge to represent the views of the average joes. But of course we all know that that's not true.
It is no secret to anyone that when Capxion Media hired me to become the judge for MDG that it was more for marketing reasons than anything else.
Let's face it, I don't know how to sing, don't know how to act, never been in front of the camera except for a pathetic stint Deal Or No Deal. So who am I kidding?
The only reason why I am on the judging panel for MDG is because I have a blog that is read by many, and Capxion Media wanted to leverage on that.
Now, depending on how you look at it, Kenny Sia being on Malaysian Dreamgirl can be a good thing or a bad thing.
It is a good thing, because this is the first time ever a blogger in Malaysia has been asked to go on a reality show, purely because he is recognizable as a blogger. I don't know any other company who is willing take the risk putting somebody who has no acting/hosting/modelling skills whatsoever in front of the camera. Especially in one of their first projects.
It is also a bad thing, because as many critics noticed, without any acting or hosting experience under my belt, people may not warm up to watching me on screen.
But I guess, everybody has to start somewhere right?
My actions and words irked a lot of people during the auditions in Episode 1.
I was called all sorts of names by the viewers. The general consensus was that Kenny Sia as the MDG Judge comes across as a horny guy who was overly excited everytime he sees a girl wearing short skirts coming to audition, as well as one that is utterly ruthless towards unattractive girls who don't make an effort.
And their judgment would be right. :)
That's exactly what my character should be isn't it?
If you put an average joe on a modelling contest where all the girls are dressed to kill, of course he's gonna get damn excited when hot chicks wearing skimpy clothings come through lah. No average joe is gonna sit still and behave themselves.
Unless they're monks lah.
You wouldn't imagine how many hate mails I received after that episode.
Kenny Sia as an MDG judge was rude and not a very popular person. But there are reasons why I did what I did.
Firstly, I was playing a character, and I wanted it to be a memorable character. Because it was our first episode, I needed to make an impact. Controversy creates cash. No publicity is bad publicity. If there are people out there talking about what a horrible person I was, then that is a good thing for the show.
Secondly, it was to sensationalize the show. How boring would the auditions be if every judge were diplomatic in their words for fear of hurting girl's feelings? Elaine and Jimmy cannot afford to be too harsh on these girls because they have a reputation in their profession that they need to protect. One is a former Miss Malaysia, and the other is well-known in the fashion industry.
The only person left to do the job is me. And I don't mind because I always wanted to play the role of a bad guy. :)
But of course, now that the show is over, there are some apologies I think I owe certain people.
To the girl who auditioned in the green floral jacket, to the girl who wore the black sexy two-piece clubbing gear, to the girl whose face I said was too oily, I am sorry.
To Giselle the kindergarten teacher, I am sorry.
And I am even more sorry that I talked about you on my website. It happened because you were such a great potential and yet you didn't get through. Although I did tell you the reasons why you didn't make it, that was not broadcasted in Episode 2. And the people were confused and upset and questioning our decisions.
I should have explained politely, instead of getting in character as "Kenny Sia the mean judge" and wrote what I wrote. And for that I am sorry.
The crew behind Malaysian Dreamgirl took it upon themselves to listen to all the feedback online and they strived to improve in the production of every episode. If you watched Episode 1 versus Episode 16, you'll notice a world of difference in the production quality.
Being part of the show, I sometimes felt that there was more dramas behind the scenes than in front of it. Sometimes it's difficult for the cameras to capture everything.
Even during the audition stages, the amount of unflattering nicknames thrown around was incredible.
I swear if we were to show what actually happened behind the scenes, we are so gonna get in to trouble. People are gonna riot all the way to Capxion Media's office. Among some of the nicknames given was "Senget Face", "Klingon", "A Box With Four Things Sticking Out", "Pau Face", "Drug Addict".
Of course I ain't gonna reveal who these nicknames refer to. Otherwise I might get another "Giselle backlash" online.
Reality shows are weird, and the people behind reality shows are even weirder.
I remember in the photoshoot for Women'Secret, Cindy broke down and cried profusely because she wasn't happy with her performance. I was there at the scene and I was the first to notice her outburst of emotions.
By right, the normal thing to do is for me to go over, show my concerns and ask her what's wrong.
But because we're shooting a reality show, my immediate first reaction was "QUICK! QUICK! WHERE IS THE CAMERA!"
Looking back, that was kinda cruel.
But I must say, I have a lot of fun doing the show.
From the bottom of my heart, I want to say a big thank you to Capxion Media, especially to Jerad and Edmund for giving me an opportunity to become part of the show. Thank you for having the confidence in me, flying me all the way from Kuching to KL and putting me in front of the camera knowing full well that I have no experience whatsover doing something like this at all.
Thank you to the Top 12 finalists, who have been so fantastic and so cooperative. I still have butterflies in my stomach thinking back to that evening when Ash Nair, Jonathan Putra, Hansen Lee and myself were invited over to your place for a candlelight dinner. It was like in heaven, surrounded by such beauties who cooked and fed and entertained us.
If Malaysian Dreamgirl were about the search for the perfect partner, you'll all be winners already.
Now that each of you have turned into mini-celebrities of your own, I have no doubt that you will all find success in your dream job in the near future.
Lastly, thank you to everyone who watched Malaysian Dreamgirl and accepted me for playing my role in front of the camera.
I know I had riled a lot of viewers up with my character. But don't worry, the producers have not approached me to do Season Two yet, so my involvement in future episodes is up in the air. ;)
Together, we have managed to create something so truly sensational.
Never in my life have I seen a locally-produced ONLINE series that has created so much hype, that is so widely followed around the world, evoked so much emotions among the viewers and produced so many addicts who faithfully logged on to the website every Thursday and Saturday to catch the latest episodes.
I know of even Americans, Singaporeans, Australians who sent in SMSes to vote for their favourite contestants. Imagine that!
The cult following that resulted from the show went absolutely above and beyond our imaginations. And yet, this is just the tip of the iceberg for our uniquely Malaysian made content.
Season Two of MDG will definitely be bigger, better and a lot more exciting than what we just saw.
It was such a proud moment for me watching the Top 12 strutting their stuff on the catwalk at the MDG Grand Finale.
I felt as if I was their DAD watching his 12 daughters all grown up. Wtf like attending their graduation ceremony liddat.
But nothing beat the BEST moment for me during the Grand Finale. I actually met my SUPER DUPER BIGGEST IDOL EVER in my entire life.
THE LEGEND HIMSELF. OMG.
But you know what? Meeting the man himself was not the coolest thing that happened that night.
Guess what the COOLEST thing was?
I got his autograph!
Oh yeah baby, who wants a piece of this? RM500 please.