Dominic Lau was made to be on TV. He’s got the looks, the charm and the kind of affable personality that makes you feel like you’re talking to a friend.
We caught up with the E! News Asia host while he was in town to promote the finale of modelling reality show SUPERMODELME Femme Fatale, where he was a judge alongside veteran models Lisa S and Ase Wang.
We get him to spill on what goes on backstage, the modelling gig that got him drunk and the time he wore PVC stiletto boots on the runway.
You were first talent-scouted for a commercial when you were 14 years old. What were you doing when you got scouted?
I was at a shopping mall in Hong Kong just minding my own business, when a lady came up to me and said she was from a casting agency. I was kind of freaked out because how often do things like that happen right? I went home and was like, “Mom, this weird lady gave me her card and she said to call her back about some modelling thing!” I was below 18, so my Mom had to take care of the important stuff.
After you scored your first modelling contract, you went on to book a few other commercials. Did you get teased by your friends for being a model? Being on TV is a pretty big deal for a 14-year-old.
I got teased a lot. I got mocked sooo bad for wearing makeup and some seriously weird attire on the catwalk. The thing about being a model is that you have to follow instructions and do what the client wants you to do.
What was the craziest thing you’ve ever worn on the catwalk?
One time, I had to wear PVC stiletto boots with these weird shorts (like this, Dom?). I also wore fishnets underneath the shorts, and had this big peacock-looking feather thing on my back.
How did you walk in those stilettos anyway?
I asked the other female models backstage how they walked in their stilettos – it was actually a good conversation starter. Somehow when a girl walks in heels, it looks fine. But if a dude does it…it’s just weird you know?
How did that catwalk go? Did you trip on the runway?
Fortunately, there was another guy who also had to wear the same thing as me. There was a point where we had to cross each other on the catwalk stage, and we just couldn’t help but crack up. Suffice to say, I was never booked by those people again.
We’ve always wondered…do male models get as catty as female models?
I didn’t experience any cattiness with male models when I was modelling. In fact, we were just goofing around most of the time. Sometimes you might see some guy’s abs, and you’d be like “Whoa how come I don’t have those?” but we wouldn’t be like (in high-pitched voice) “Uh, bitch please.”
Actually, we’d be like, “Wow how’d you get those abs? Teach me, man.” And then afterwards we’d go grab a beer.
What was your first modelling gig like?
It was a TV commercial for this brand called Vita, which had box drinks, soy milk and fruit juice. It was one of those stereotypical drink commercials where you smile and go “Mmmm!” and hold the drink up to the camera.
What’s one modelling job you’ll never forget?
I did a commercial for Tiger Beer where I had to drink the beer slowly so they could get the money shot with the froth and bubbles. We did all these different shots throughout the day and I was wondering why they did that last drinking scene last. It soon became very apparent to me though, because I got absolutely hammered after those final takes. They were using real beer because they wanted to capture the froth and bubbles in the shot.
What do you think is the main difference between the modelling industry in Singapore and in Hong Kong (where you’re based)?
There are quite a lot more opportunities in Hong Kong because it’s closer to China, which is a huge market. Models in Singapore seem to enjoy the job more though, in the sense that they have a lot more fun than you would have modelling in Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, you get jobs where you have to travel overnight to Guangzhou and you’re put up in some poor motel with no hot water in the dead of winter. And you’re expected to turn up the next morning looking your best.
What would you have been, if you hadn’t pursued a path in the entertainment industry?
Growing up, I wanted to be a commercial airline pilot. And yes, I have perfect eyesight. I would have gone down that road, had it not been for the fact that I started modelling at 14. Since then, I haven’t done anything else outside of the industry. I started out with modelling, then it morphed into TV presenting and that’s where I’m at now.
As a model, your appearance obviously matters a lot. What’s the one thing you wouldn’t mind splurging on – skincare, fashion or hair?
Growing up, I would meet more senior models on set and they would tell me, “Dude, you gotta take care of your skin. Don’t go out in the sun and sunbathe all day long. You have to wear sunscreen during the day.” As you get older, your skin will lose its elasticity. And if you want a longer career in modelling, you must look after your skin. Hair grows back, but your skin is irreplaceable.
What’s your skincare routine like?
Ironically, I had really bad acne growing up so Lord only knows how I became a model. Fortunately I didn’t scar, but my skincare routine kind of developed as a result of my acne. I only ever use cold water to wash my face. I also went though a whole range of products while growing up, but I’ve found the Lab Series multi-action face wash to be the best.
(Source: Refinery Media)
You’re back as a judge this season on modelling reality show SUPERMODEL ME Femme Fatale. What do you think makes or breaks a model?
It’s really about whether you’ve got the right attitude for the industry. I’ve known girls who think they’re the bees knees and the hottest thing walking the planet…and maybe they are gorgeous, but that attitude won’t get you booked again.
What sort of drama went on behind the scenes?
Well…imagine this. You’re putting 12 gorgeous strangers into an apartment and on top of which, they realise they’re in a competition where there is some serious pride at stake. Not to mention some great prizes that await them at the end, and each girl wants it just as bad as the next. It’s funny because they all know this, but none of them really come out and say it.
Any advice for those who want to get into the industry?
As good as you think you are, or as beautiful or handsome you think you are, there’s always going to be someone better than you. So you have to remain humble, and you have to keep your head on your shoulders and realise that you can be replaced easily.
Dominic with the other hosts and contestants of SUPERMODEL ME Femme Fatale. (Source: Refinery Media)
Catch Dominic as a judge on the finale of SUPERMODELME Femme Fatale, airing 3 Feb on Diva Universal at 8pm, and 5 Feb on MediaCorp Channel 5 at 10.30pm.
About Dominic Lau
The Hong Kong-based TV presenter is currently a host on E! News Asia and a judge on SUPERMODELME Femme Fatale. Although he hasn’t modelled for some time, Dominic was game enough to demonstrate some catwalk struts for the camera (in the middle of the cafe where we were having this interview, no less). Even the waitress who photobombed him was impressed.Save Article