Time to shine, Sheena

By CARSIFU | 22 April 2012
Her name’s Sheena Liam and she’s Chinese.

But on occasion, her family name Liam has been mistaken for something Irish or Scottish while first time acquaintances have been known to scan her face closely for traces of Caucasian looks.

“No, I don’t have any Mat Salleh blood in me. Liam is my real family name and not something glamorous created by me. You know there are some people who want to lebih-lebih (show off) but not me,” the 20-year-old college student-cum-model said.


Neither is the Liam name a typographical deviation of common Chinese family surnames of Lim or Lam.

“Liam is a Manchurian name rather than a Han Chinese. So that makes me an ethnic minority,” said the lanky 175cm-tall lass from Kajang

Sheena said there was a community of Manchurians with the Liam surname in Perak.

“Usually when I meet somebody who has the Liam surname, chances are they are related to me,” she said.

Her father is an engineer whose firm specialises in water management systems while her mother runs Viva Organic, a shop that sells fresh organic produce in Kajang.

A student of media management and communications at Taylor’s University, Sheena got her first taste for modelling when she was 15.

“At that time, many friends told me to get into modelling as I was much taller than most girls my age,” she said.

“When I was 12, I was short. And then suddenly I had a growth spurt, growing 10cm taller every year. It was scary as I thought I would not stop growing. Back then, I did not want to stand out from the rest of my class,” she said.

Finally, Sheena ended up the tallest in the family, outgrowing her father and even her elder brother who is four years her senior.

Her folks often joked that she was taller because she was adopted.

“I sort of believed it until I was older. Now I can see that I look like my parents,” the jovial Sheena with doe-like eyes and Cheshire Cat smile laughed.

She was also a participant of The Star’s Brats in Langkawi 2006, a programme to give youngsters a glimpse into the world of journalism.


“My parents encouraged me to join that programme as they preferred that I opt for journalism rather than modelling,” she said.

Her first big pageant win was at the MiRRORs Ambassador Search 2010 which came with a modelling course with Amber Chia Academy where she learnt more about the trade.

“After finishing my course, modelling jobs began to come regularly as I have started making a name for myself in the industry,” she said.

But Sheena still prefers runway modelling because of her height and is the female category winner of Amaze International Model Search 2011 and also a subsidiary title winner at the Jaspal Fashionista Search 2011.

The win at the Amaze model search came with a training programme on hosting.

“I am now the host for the Malaysian segment of Super GT Girl Search 2012 contest. The winner of the search will get a chance to go to Japan and be Malaysia’s Super GT girl representative,” she says.

Driving regularly from Kajang to Kuala Lumpur, Sheena is accustomed to traffic jams.


“Instead of doing nothing in traffic jams, I have learnt to play the ukulele by using an app downloaded into my iPhone.

“The app teaches the notes and chords to pluck,” she said during her photo shoot with the Kia Sportage.

On the downside, Sheena has encountered her share of bullies on the road. She almost got into a fight with one after she had honked at the guy who was talking on his phone while driving.

“He stopped his car, got out and came up to me and started yelling.

“I guess he was stressed out from work and when he saw that it was a girl who honked at him, he wanted to pick a fight.

Sheena said she put on a brave face and got out of her car to confront him. To her surprise, the chap got back into his car and drove off.

“I was a whole head taller than him,” she laughed.


Make-up by Jil Yong (make-up guru) and hair by Pinky Chia (make-up instructor) of Amber Chia Academy.