Thursday, July 12, 2007

One of my favourite interviews

I've done loads of interviews lately... and I have to say this one, is one of my favourites. This was written and presented almost word-for-word: and I like how he includes bits where I laugh, etc.. to capture the mood and essence of what I was trying to say.

Big thanks to Asif! (oh note: I didn't know we were taking pictures!! Barely any makeup on, an checkout my purple flip-flops! :P)

Briefcase babe Andrea Fonseka's no wallflower

By Asif Ansar, TODAY Posted: 06 June 2007 1307 hrs

SINGAPORE : It's not all glamour being a "suitcase" girl on the current TV favourite, Deal or No Deal. Adrenalin-fuelled headaches, itchy feet and dealing with married men offering to "pay" are all in a day's work for beauty queen-turned-TV host Andrea Fonseka.

The 22-year-old model, who snagged the Miss Malaysia Universe title in 2004, once had aspirations of studying law in the United Kingdom, but a less-than-favourable exchange rate and the prospect of living on a diet of Maggi Mee changed her mind. "So I applied online to see if the National University of Singapore would accept me. And they did!" she told TODAY recently.

Since her move here three years ago, Andrea's star has risen steadily. She has a high-profile gig as the No 10 suitcase girl on Deal or No Deal, which airs on Wednesdays at 8.30pm on MediaCorp TV Channel 5, and another upcoming one as co-host on the talent show Live the Dream, also on the same channel. But the vivacious final-year law undergrad insists not much has changed and that she takes everything in her stride. A strong advocate of public transport to cut down on pollution, she said she is rarely recognised in public.

"I think Singaporeans are very shy. Even if they have recognised me, no one has ever come up to me and said: 'Hey! Deal or No Deal!' When I am thinking about something, I frown a little bit. But I am actually a very, very, very friendly person. Come say 'Hi!', I will be very, very flattered."

No wallflower herself, Andrea was surprisingly candid during her 40-minute chat with this newspaper at the MediaCorp Broadcast Centre on Caldecott Hill, revealing the secret to winning Deal or No Deal, what's really on her mind when she appears on the show and why potential suitors should do an underarm check before approaching her with an opening line.

What's the best thing about working on Deal or No Deal?

I got to meet 25 other like-minded, ambitious, similarly aged, lovely girls. That was really fun. The other thing is being able to work with Adrian Pang. Thirdly, to be able to work with the people of MediaCorp. The possibility that you could be giving a contestant $250,000 is a plus and minus thing. It's very exciting; it's very high-intensity. When I get an adrenalin rush I have headaches after that. After every episode I get a headache, but it's a good kind of headache.

What's the worst chat up line you've heard since you've appeared on TV?

(Looks mortified) There was this one person who messaged me. And he was like (whispers): "I can give you what you need. And your friends don't need to find out. I am married, but it's okay." I was thinking: "Are you like, kidding me?" (laughs). He was like (whispers): "I will pay you if you like." I was just shocked. I composed three different replies but decided not to reply.

So do you prefer Singaporean men or their Malaysian counterparts?

You are making me blush! I am a good Catholic girl! (laughs) No! I am not answering that question!

So, there's no one in your life right now?

I have no time. Right now, I am just concentrating on myself. It would be very hard if I had someone else. But if the right man comes along, we'll have to make time, won't we? (cheeky grin)

What do you get up to when you aren't busy being on TV or studying?

I have two cats. They are the two most amazing things in the world for me. I can spend hours just playing with them. I watch a lot of TV. Sometimes on Sundays — when I don't have a lot of work — I order a large Rocky's pizza in the afternoon, the 16-inch one. I eat in front of the TV, half the pizza in the afternoon and the rest at night. (laughs) I love Italian food. I love my Malaysian food, really good nasi lemak, ice kacang, popiah, which you can find in Singapore. That's another reason why I preferred coming to Singapore (to moving to Britain). And chocolates, ice cream, strawberries and cream.

How do you stay in shape?

I am the spokesperson for Marie France in Malaysia. They've extended their services for me in Singapore as well. So, that's how I stay in shape. I work out as well. I try to walk as much as I can. I take taxis as little as possible. If everyone in Singapore took taxis it would be quite bad for the environment. So I take the train and buses as much as I can. If someone says: "Why is a girl from TV riding the bus?", I say: "So what? I am saving the environment!"

Back to your TV work. What goes through your mind when the cameras are rolling on Deal or No Deal and you're standing there with your suitcase?

I really can't stand still. I really respect the girls who can stand there and not move and keep smiling. I can't. My neck will start to itch, and the sole of my foot will start to itch. That's the most annoying thing ever (giggles). So I have to wait until break time, run out of sight and scratch. Most of the time we're thinking: "I hope it's a low number for the contestant." We follow the game. Sometimes when a contestant has to choose, I am thinking: "You should deal right now! I really think you should deal right now!" (laughs)

What do you think is the secret to winning Deal or No Deal?

It's all a game of guts and luck! I am a very "safe" person. Yes, the first aim is to win $250,000 but when you find out that you opened the briefcase with $250,000, then you've got to be smart and know when to take the money and run. That's why they'll never pick me as a contestant. Say the first offer is $3,000. I would say: "OK, deal! $3,000, man! That's one month of work!" That's why my job is to just stand there and wait with the suitcase. That's what I'm good for.

Tell us, what's in your suitcase whenever you travel?

Deodorant. I have a phobia about body odour. Not that I have BO. Toothbrush, toothpaste, toiletries … Shampoo and conditioner because the two-in-ones in hotels don't work for me. Make up, and then of course underwear, a pair of jeans, a skirt, a couple of tops. My mum always taught me how to travel light. And if I'm attending an event, my hair straightening iron and curlers. That sure sounds like one big "little" bag … It is. I came back from Kuala Lumpur with it and the wheels broke. So I had to drag because it was too heavy for me to carry. It made this 'eeeeeeek eeek' noise all through customs! - TODAY/ra


Anonymous said...

What's the nexus between being a good Catholic girl and the question of whether your prefer Singaporean men or Malaysian men?

Anonymous said...

Andrea, This was your Todays interview right? I have read it before hee:)

Nevertheless, still refreshing:)

Good night Andrea:)

Good night everyone:)

Unknown said...

For Miss Coffee Addict...

Anonymous said...

"Barely any makeup on..."

Don't worry, you (always) look great. And I don't like my women having all that much, that is. ;)

"I will pay you if you like."

I say, for the third or fourth attract creeps. Sear sees dead people, you meet bad people. What I really want to know is...

(A) How he got your contact info...

(B) If he'll only pay "if you like", does he think you MIGHT agree JUST because you're hot for married strangers? REALLY...

"I really respect the girls who can stand there and not move...I can't."

I KNOW. Do you remember when I called you the prettiest, and MOST FIDGETY, girl there? :)

"...body odour..."

I do recall somebody complaining about auditions and bad breath... ;)

But "odor" is simpler... :P

Unknown said...

manz.. funny way of interview but very interesting :)

Anonymous said...

i had madam kwan's nasi lemak at KLCC last week!!! was craving for it and manage to swing by for a bite. noticed that the servings were smaller and the beef rendang was a tad "drier" now...consequence of inflation perhaps? haha..

aside from that, i've also noticed that A's blogs seem to be more and more of a espn sports channel on tennis or dating tips website, increasingly more textual and less pictorial. A, not sure if its bcos you're running out of things to say or you're legally binded by your contract with your media company or that you're too busy these days to do a decent post but your blog used to be more fun and entertaining (for me personally) last time when you posted pictures of your activities and your wardrobe malfunctions, the events you go to and what are the stuff that we should look out for. as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words but a picture with you in a hot sexy blue OR red number is worth at least a MILLION words! its true what they say.. so please please please put up more pictures and photos, malfunctions or otherwise!! =)

not sure about the others but am here to read/ hear/ "see" and know more about you, not about federer nor nadal, though its good to know that you have the hots for the 21 yr old... haha. is it possible that you have:

a) lost your digicam?
b) damaged your digicam?
c) finger cramps?

that is why there are far less photos in your blog these days? if yes, just tell us and i'm sure many of your supporters here will more than be happy to buy you one! right gabe? LOL!

incidentally, were you at anyone's birthday party last weekend? 7th July? =)

p.s - to all the hardcore and devoted AV fans out here, kindly do not flame me for voicing out my personal opinions ok? c'est la vie! =)

p.p.s - anyone knows anything more about maggi mee tan, DOND 4 other than she is appearing in this month's FHM edition? :P

Andrea Fonseka said...

ck, thanks for your comment. It's true there has been less pictures on the blog, but that is because I have been busy with Live The Dream and ESPN and haven't been to any events lately. Plus if I do go, I have to wait for photographers to send me the pictures which almost never happens.

There are some updates to the site you might not have noticed. There are new links to my Caltex Score Today Blog and my interview with Live 938. There is a new section 'Latest Pic'. There are 3 new videos this week, DOND episode 10, Live the Dream Auditions and 'Sunflowers' which is one of my favourites. I will post the video of me, Utt and Michelle singing in the commercial as soon as I can.

If anyone finds new pics of me out there send me an email and I'll put them up.

Anonymous said...

In response to ck above, I don't really mind if A's posts are more of words than pictures. Though a picture speaks a thousand words, I actually prefer reading more words on blogs.

Anyway, thanks for sharing the interview for those who do not read Today. Agree it's quite a well-written interview that doesn't seem to have any implicated agenda. It's a fun read.

Anonymous said...

No wonder the interview sounded so familiar.. I guess I have read majority of articles/interviews about you out there recently. For me, you actually look quite good without much make up on.. Putting much make up on only hides your natural beauty..

fazzy said...

Yeah..I have to agree you look perhaps better without make-up. I saw the Ms Singapore Universe party by Citispa ad on tv...and Jessica Tan was wearing so much make-up she almost look like she was gonna be in some wayang. Really, what was her make-up artist thinking...worse still, if she did her own make-up...what was SHE thinking?

I know it would have attracted much criticism if you decided to answer whether you prefer Singaporean or Malaysian men so nice dodging of the question. I wouldn't say I prefer Singaporean men but if you're a Singaporean malay girl walking in Malaysia (I say this cos I don't know abt the other races)...You are sure to get sleazy way older men trying to pick you up even when you're walking with your parents. Its so uncomfortable and they just won't let up. Esp if you walk along the streets...Scary stuff. I can walk in Singapore and not ever be disturbed like 99% of the time..I can't imagine how many creeps will try to pick a beautiful girl like you up...

And dear girl...someone's in denial. You packed so light the wheels broke?!You're so cute..must have been so unglam dragging around a suitcase making a screeching sound.haha.Actually I always thought when you go anywhere they have people do hair and make-up for you so the straightening irons and curlers really necessary? Anyway, I have hair that's really curly at the lots of little baby hairs that cannot for the life of me stay in place and remain neat no matter how I try. Any tips?

School's starting soon so perhaps I'll see you....Will you be in the LawIV production?

Anonymous said...

fazzy: All the best for the new semester. Tip: do NOT take up any position in the class comm. Year 3 Class Comm is the most SIONG. Ask your seniors!

Anonymous said...

I don't have an issue with pictures on the blog...content interests me, not format. If anything, I'm enjoying the diversity of topics. It gives us a better feel for who you are, and I'm not particularly interested in "event coverage"...that sounds like what you would do at WORK. isn't loading for me, but I'm guessing it's the one showing on TV. You're watering them, right? Like you, I really like it. We're used to seeing you as the FHM sexpot...but you look like SUCH a sweetheart here. :) And speaking of still, my beating heart (but not COMPLETELY still)!

Anonymous said...

(A) I like the ESPN blog...very sardonic. :) It actually doesn't feel like you...not that I'd know what you feel like. :(

(B) I wasn't going to bring politics into this, but since you did...Shitalot should be in jail, not throwing ill-gotten gains at organised/organized sport. Champion of the poor...right. I pegged this guy years ago, but everybody kept telling me how much he'd done for the country...more like "how much he'd stolen FROM the country".

(C) A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, but throwing the best players together...that doesn't necessarily the best team make. Your players need to be able to work together first! The ultimate goal, pun intended, is getting a team that's greater than the sum of its players.

(D) You neglected the inimitable MJ, greatest of basketballers. He was the archetypal "sportsman spokesman". :)

fazzy said...

Thanks for the tip Scorpion.I think class comm is a popularity contest..and frankly, I'm not all that conspicuous in school.

I won't pretend to know anything about sports..but I guess if that IS your interest then it does make sense that she blogs about it what ck? About stuff being less personal..yeah, she must be really busy..and sometimes people need to be not so serious and talk about trivial stuff to unwind..thus the dating posts. Its hard to juggle, esp for a celeb, how much of your personal life you want to put out there cos it might just come back to haunt you. I used to have a blog..then I realised almost everything in it is personal and someone who doesn't like me is bound to find it...and it happened. There was some kind of blog war and this fellar was cussing me when I swear I don't know him/her/it. So yeah..I'm sure she'll write about more personal stuff when she's less busy or when something appropriate for a celeb blog comes up.

And I also don't get the link btw good Catholic girl and whether your prefer Malaysian or Singaporean men. Perhaps its..good Catholic girls don't talk about men...but your blog entry on dating begs to differ. Anyway, not important. I just seem to notice that esp in beauty pageants, the contestants rarely answer to the question they are asked..why is that? Is it the nerves or are they just really not that smart? (No offence..not talking about you. I never got to see Miss Malaysia pageants or the year you went to Miss Universe)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


I'm the same way...erring on the side of caution. My interpretation of "safe", however, is COMPLETELY different from yours. If you view DOND as the opportunity of a lifetime, aggression is THE way to go. I'm not sure if you were serious about that would take (at least) the threat of the loss of pay for a YEAR (THAT was convoluted) to make me flinch. It would still be a LIFETIME against a YEAR, after all. AND you can't really lose the money OR the can only NOT win. In these games, there really ARE no losers.

Anonymous said...


Are you complaining that A's being repetitive? Because you just posted that twice...

Good Nite ` Kimmi said...

hello every body

there was a time when i was thinking. wad if i saw u in front of me. i would " wa andrea , hi! " if i dare haha! any way saw u singing on the tv for your new show yea? nice =) haha

Anonymous said...


Nah, it was an accident. Twitchy forefinger.

Still, I think the effect came off pretty well- after all, one of the major characteristics of the cries/recordings of your neighbourhood karang guni man is its repetition.


(... and is totally appropriate for this posting of Andrea's interview because of the form of media it originally appeared in.)

[Just in case no one got it and thought I was being mean, again.]

Andrea Fonseka said...


Yah i'm back after being shuttled Singapore-KL-Ipoh-KL-Singaporeing over the weekend.

Pathfinder: Sorry lah I disagree. The girl who chose to open the briefcase even after being offered 33K (for a chance of having 75K) was just plain silly. In my humble opinion. ;P

33K alotta money. Imagine what you could do with that!! And in my opinion, she did "lose". Because once the bank offers you something, it immediately becomes yours. Then you make the decision on whether or not you wanna go on and play. If you do, you give it back to him: if not, you accept it and walk away.

Faz: Err.. true also hor you say. :P haha.. I meant that i "usually" pack lightly.. I cant remember why I had so much stuff that trip home... but it had something to do with a transfer of ownership of clothes... from me to my sister. ;)

adelin said...

adelin wave to Andrea,

Welcome Back! :D

fazzy said...

Oh...u have a sister too. I share clothes with mine as well...convenient when you're about the same size. Anyway, what's her name? Could I see a pic of her? just to see the resemblance if its okay.

Anonymous said...

"The girl who chose to open the briefcase..."

You've said that 3000 bucks are wages for a month...which would make 33000 bucks wages for 11. That's ALMOST a year's pay, which is where I said I'd flinch. You're agreeing with just don't know it. :P

I know, I'm just being annoying... :D

"Because once the bank offers you something, it immediately becomes yours."

I guess it depends on how you view loss. If you're familiar with the economic principle of opportunity cost...I think of it as losing money you WOULD HAVE WON, but NEVER ACTUALLY HAD (and NEVER ACTUALLY LOSE). :)

Anonymous said...

what is so great abt being the holder of suitcase #10, the gameshow itself requires contestants with the IQ of a worm.. i dont know what is the hype about

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