Malaysia’s Most Stylish Women: Cilla Foong

BAZAAR’s Malaysia’s Most Stylish Women from each year return to celebrate fabulous fashion and extraordinary moments. Presenting the luminaries, from original top models to world-class journalists, architects, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and wellness gurus—in a class of their own.

Cilla Foong, Founder and Director of Cilla & Associates

On Cilla: Parka, Balenciaga. Top, Miu Miu. Shorts, Prada. Boots, stylist’s own.

Part of the original group of women to have been featured in BAZAAR’s inaugural ‘Malaysia’s Most Stylish Women’ 15 years ago, Cilla is still a vision of statuesque elegance. “I remember wearing my own Gucci blouse and Emporio Armani pants for the shoot in 2003, so my first thought when I was asked to put on this edgy Balenciaga parka and thigh-high boots for today’s shoot was, ‘Phew, I am rocking this look!’”

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After retiring from modelling in 1990, Cilla took it upon herself to be a model figure to young aspiring models out there, grooming them to rival other international talents. Playing an instrumental role as mentor to names such as Kavita Sidhu, Ling Tan, and Atikah Karim, Cilla proves to be an unstoppable force in the industry. “I remember having my ‘eyes’ on Atikah when she first walked into the set of Ford Models Supermodel of the World Search Malaysia in 2011. She has since moved to New York, modelling for big brands such as Ralph Lauren and bringing the Malaysian name to an international level,” she prides.

In recent years, Cilla has been growing Cilla & Associates’ list of services, having also added lifestyle events to her repertoire. “People see the dedication I have in the work I do, so I have gained a reputation for niche event set-ups with luxury fashion, jewellery, and watch brands.”

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“Once a model, always a model,” she adds, as she details how she takes good grooming, healthy eating, regular exercises, and living a well-balanced life seriously. “I want to inspire young girls and women that by looking after yourself from an early age, you will enjoy an ‘ageless’ life,” she says. “Women can look fabulous at every age. After all, age is just a number.”

CILLA FOONG, in BAZAAR December 2003 ‘Malaysia’s Most Stylish Women’:  “From modelling then to managing models now, what can I say? I love my job and I want to be a force to be reckoned with in the Malaysian modelling industry.”