Sara Malakul Lane

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HERS is a face that can launch a thousand cards.
Last year, Sara Malakul Lane anchored one of Citibank’s advertising campaigns here and added a touch of royalty to the modelling scene in Singapore.

The 24-year-old pan-Asian model is a descendant of the Thai royal family. She’s also a well-known personality in the high-fashion and entertainment circles in Thailand.

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Think Scottish supermodel Stella Tennant, who is the grand-daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.

Sara’s not the only one who is looking to make her base here.

Singapore has become a hot spot for foreign pan-Asian models-turned-hosts hoping to break into the regional market, say local modelling agencies The New Paper on Sunday spoke to.

According to Mr Calvin Cheng, whose agency Looque Models is managing the Thai model/actress in Singapore, Sara is also hoping for hosting jobs to swing her way here.

Speaking about her move to Singapore in the coming months, Sara told The New Paper on Sunday: ‘I wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to find work here at all. Singapore is the place to be in Asia as the fashion and entertainment industries are thriving.

‘Singapore is also the place where pan-Asian models are in demand.’

You may imagine she would be imperious, but the friendly model surprises you with her schoolgirl charm.

Tell Sara that this is not what one would expect from a member of the fashion royalty or aristocracy, and she quickly dismissed the notion in a crisp British accent: ‘Sure, I may have been born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but I was brought up without any royal treatment.

‘I’m no different from any working professional. Every model has to go for castings or auditions if she wants the job.’

The second of three children aged from 17 to 25, Sara was born in Guam to an English corporate executive and a Thai descendent of the royal family.

Her mother, Madam Tuptim Malakul Na Ayuthaya, 53, is a descendent of King Rama II. He was the King of Siam between 1809 and 1824.

Madam Malakul’s great-great grandfather was HRH (His Royal Highness) Prince Mahamala, who is the son of King Rama II.

Her great grandfather served as the King’s Grand Master of Ceremonies and her grandfather was the Minister of the Royal Court. As for her father, he was the Thai ambassasdor to the UK.

‘Na Ayuthaya’ is the last royal title which includes ‘HRH’, ‘HSH’ (His Serene Highness) and ‘HH’ (His Highness).

MARRIED FOR LOVE

But Sara is not a princess.

She said: ‘My mum married a commoner. My parents’ love story was talked about in Thailand those days. Then, my mother’s family had made arrangements for her to marry a prince. But she called off the engagement.

‘Six months later, she met my father on a blind date and they fell in love. Because there was so much talk about my mum not marrying a royal and breaking off the engagement, they moved to Guam after they got married.’

And home for the Lanes is not a grand manor in Thailand, but a humble four-bedroom apartment in Bangkok.

But they do have another property in England – a Victorian-style mansion near Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium, which Sara’s parents bought from former Arsenal footballer Niall Quinn.

Sara started modelling in Thailand at the age of 14.

She says that her uncle and media mongul, Mr Piya Malakul Na Ayuthaya, gave her a headstart in the fashion business. He owns Pacific Intercommunications, which publishes a stable of magazines that include Cosmopolitan.

But her identity has sometimes worked against her in the modelling industry.

She said: ‘There is a certain degree of jealousy from others because of my background. People tend to judge me, assuming that I’m proud or arrogant. For example, they may not be as friendly when I first meet them. Or they keep a distance.

‘But I work just as hard for my jobs, going for auditions like any other model would.’

Mr Cheng, who has known Sara for five years, said that she is no prima donna.

‘She has achieved success and financial independence at a young age, but she is still the girl next door. Deep down, she’s very Thai. No airs, no attitude,’ he said.

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In the last decade, the Eurasian beauty has graced countless magazine covers, modelled in Europe, and has endorsed beauty products, luxury cars and timepieces.

Though she declined to reveal how much she makes annually, Sara would only say that ‘one can make a lot of money if a model can appeal to the masses’.

Besides Thailand, her face can been seen in TV commercials in India and Taiwan. She has also starred in several Thai movies and dramas.

In 2003, she landed a part in a Hollywood movie, Belly Of The Beast, playing actor Steven Seagal’s daughter.

She recalled: ‘It was a competitive audition in Bangkok. There were hundreds of girls from Hong Kong, China and Indonesia who were vying for the part. I received three calls before I got the role.’

Asked of her experience working with the American actor, she said: ‘Well, I won’t say he’s the most friendly guy around. He’s quite intimidating. I didn’t speak much to him.

‘Though he isn’t an A-lister, I understand he makes US$4 million ($6m) per movie. During filming, he had a huge entourage which included a chef.’

Having auditioned for several roles in Los Angeles, Sara said her Hollywood experience opened her eyes to the harsh reality of the entertainment business.

‘There are many good actors, but they are struggling. It’s unpleasant to see the flip side of showbusiness.

‘Everyone is just waiting for that break. Or experience.

‘I guess it’s the same reason I want to be in Singapore to explore the modelling and acting opportunities, regardless of how big or small the roles are.’

She says she is very proud of her friend, MTV VJ Utt Panichku, who has gone into acting and presenting TV programmes in Singapore. However, Sara intends to keep her move here a low-profile one.

‘Oh no, I don’t have an entourage of cooks, wardrobe assistants or makeup artists. My mum goes along with me on my overseas trips to lend moral support,’ she said with a laugh.

The bachelorette said her mother will accompany her to Singapore.

Before returning to Thailand at 14, Sara spent seven years in an English boarding school.

Her father, Mr Alastair Lane, didn’t like the idea of his only daughter becoming a model initially, but he relented on the condition that her mother would accompany her on her overseas assignments.

Asked if Madam Malakul would want her daughter to marry a royalty, she said via an e-mail: ‘I firmly believe that a marriage should stem from true love. So it doesn’t really matter where he is from. It’s not relevant.’

Sara agrees. What’s much more important for this regal beauty are wit, intelligence and humour.

About neaat

The NETWORK OF ENTERTAINING ASIAN AMERICAN TALENT ORG is an independent site for information on Asian American Arts, Talent, Culture, and Entertainment. NEAATO started as a myspace page under http://www.myspace.com/asianamericannetwork and also a blog in 2007 (http://www.neaat.wordpress.com/) by Donnytello Tran. The idea was made when we noticed our friends on Myspace were posting more information about their work online through bulletins instead of waiting to get published in magazines or an Asian American Blog. We decided to put all these ‘posts’ together and share it with anyone that was interested and NEAATO was born. The current NEAATO blog site is http://www.neaato.com/. NEAATO was inspired by Bruce Lee’s quote: “"To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.”
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4 Responses to Sara Malakul Lane

  1. Pingback: Sara Malakul, again: FB Revolution - fashion, glamour and cool photos

  2. Alva Mora says:

    There is a man in Curacao who lives by the sea. His eyes are clear as the sea waters and, like the ocean, he is strong-willed. his name is Bert Knubben.(64) He is on the beach of the BREEZES Holiday Resort and a artisan of the exclusive kings black coral jewellery which he obstinately insist must be written black “koral”. A good touch, since the initials are his own and on Curacao, he is synonymous with this valuable gem which he fastidiously works in his small workshop, the KORALART gallery, together with his pretty wife Fennie, on the palm beach of the Breezes Resort Hotel.

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