An anticipated interview with Malaysian model Nuraini Noor, or better known as Tuti, fizzled out when the media were told not to ask any questions regarding the backlash she received over social media for being a Muslim.
Tuti recently found herself in the spotlight when she was revealed as a finalist on the fourth season of Asia’s Next Top Model (AsNTM).
Some took offense because they thought that it was not appropriate for a Muslim woman to expose her body in a modelling competition.
Others questioned why 24-year-old Tuti was allowed to take part as Muslims are purportedly “banned” from such events. There were even those who said they pity her parents for being shamed in such a way.
The organisers of the press conference instead released a set of question and answer on behalf of Tuti, during the show’s premiere event held recently.
“My parents respect my profession (and) the art behind modelling. They trust that I will make the right decisions based on the values instilled in me,” the statement read.
“I believe that high fashion can be bold and very far away from anything sexual. If I am not comfortable with a certain type of clothes or a certain task, then I will voice it out.
“I’ll try to be as balanced as possible and not cross certain boundaries and still progress in my career. As a Muslim woman, I am proud to be able to be part of this international competition and to show that my religious beliefs can correlate with my career in the modelling industry.”
When pressed on answering questions about the negative criticisms she has been receiving, Tuti declined to answer, saying that she has already addressed the issue in the past.
Some of the online comments made against Tuti descended into a form of personal attack, and not just about her religion. Laughing off rumours on how she was once a man, she stated: “I try to avoid paying any attention to comments on social media. They can be very harsh.”
This is not Tuti’s first modelling experience. Standing at 175cm and hailing from Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, Tuti previously won the X Top Model Search Malaysia 2012 and a subsidiary title, the X Walk.
AsNTM S4 premiered on Star World (Astro Ch 711/HD 722) on March 9.