After the win: Family time matters to New Face winner
Low-key celebrations for New Face 2017 winner Jean Yong
After winning The New Paper New Face 2017 title on Friday night, Jean Yong woke up the next morning to a swarm of congratulatory messages on social media - even from people she had lost touch with.
The 22-year-old told The New Paper with a laugh: "Even my secondary school teachers were congratulating me. I don't know how they found out... I am thankful for all of that."
Jean, who had cut off her long hair just a day before the final that was held at Paragon's main atrium, returned home only at 1am after supper.
She said: "I had major trouble sleeping because of all the changes that happened in the past few days, such as channelling a different persona on stage and my new look. It was a lot to take in."
She also spent the wee hours of the morning on the phone with her former domestic helper, who was employed by her family for more than 20 years and was supporting Jean from the Philippines.
Despite storming the runway to a thrilling win, there was no huge day-after celebration for the part-time research assistant at the National University Health System.
I’ve learnt and grown a lot through New Face under the guidance of the mentors, but there is always room for improvement.TNP New Face 2017 Jean Yong
The youngest of three children just wanted to spend it with her family.
On Saturday, Jean headed to lunch at Whisk & Paddle, a quaint cafe at Punggol Promenade Riverside Walk.
She was accompanied by her parents, her eldest sister Kailyn, 29, and her 82-year-old paternal grandmother Chong Oy Yin - affectionately referred to as "Ah Nei" - who does not live with them but whom they spend time with on weekends.
Her other sister Karen, 26, is a lawyer who is currently teaching English in Okinawa, Japan.
Kailyn, a dispute analyst at a bank in Melbourne, Australia, returned to Singapore for the New Face final and flew back early yesterday morning.
Jean said: "We usually eat at hawker centres, not so much fancy places like this. But today, we're having a farewell lunch for my sister and it is also a bit of a celebration on my part. My grandmother also loves the food here."
Over three pizzas with different toppings, the family engaged in lighthearted conversation, with Jean doting on Madam Chong before they headed back to their three-room condominium in Bedok.
Jean was excited to show videos of herself on the runway at the final as Madam Chong was not present.
With the help of Kailyn, who compiled the clips from multiple sources and shared them on her Facebook page, they screened it from their living room TV for Madam Chong.
Seeing her granddaughter strutting down the catwalk, she said with a smile: "She looks good."
Jean's real estate agent mum, Madam Vivien Tan, 54, added: "She put in a lot of effort. When she came out on stage, I almost didn't recognise her. She looked so professional."
After her victory, Jean - who has signed on with local modelling agency NOW Model Management - is looking forward to more opportunities.
On joining future modelling competitions, the biological sciences with management graduate from Imperial College London said: "I wouldn't rule it out. I've learnt and grown a lot through New Face under the guidance of the mentors, but there's always room for improvement."
On weekend evenings, Jean - who has played table tennis since Primary Two - usually jogs at Bedok Reservoir Park.
Her whole family is into fitness and her parents also have athletic backgrounds - her mum was a former competitive table tennis player and her dad, Mr Sam Yong, a 58-year-old facility manager, a basketballer.
In the week that Kailyn was in Singapore, she accompanied Jean on her runs.
Jean said: "I feel sad that she left. It is not only because she has been supportive of me, but also that I really enjoy her company. But she told me that whenever I need her, she will come back."