The modern Cinderella story of twenty-two-year-old Hong Kong actress Isabella Leong has apparently come to an end. Isabella stunned fans across the globe when she announced that she is separating from billionaire businessman Richard Li, the son of Hong Kong’s richest man Li Ka-shing.

Isabella Leong

In case you do not know, according to the Forbes World’s Richest List published in March, Li Kai-Shing, who owns 21 billion US dollars worth of assets, is ranked 14th in the world. Richard Li, the youngest son of Li Kai-Shing, has been dubbed “Little Superman” by the press, and has a net worth of about 9 billion RMB. He is the Chairman and Executive Director of PCCW Limited, Hong Kong’s IT and communications giant,  and Pacific Century Group in Hong Kong, Chairman of Singapore-based Pacific Century Regional Developments Limited, and a non-executive director of the Bank of East Asia.

Already the mother of three children with Richard Li Jat Kai, Isabella Leong Lok Si suddenly issued a statement to the media last Saturday. Just as everyone thought that she was about to marry rich, she dropped the bombshell.

Isabella Leong....beautiful

In the statement, Isabella said, “2011 will be a new phase of my life. I have already split from Richard. We had a good time together; we will share custody of our children. Their health and happiness are our common interest. I hope the public will cease all speculations through this statement.”

The couple reportedly broke up a few weeks ago, and though they will share joint custody of their children, Isabella is rumored to get cars and properties from her soon to be ex-partner, in addition to child support.

It was rumored that 22 year-old Isabella was seen chatting with a male at a bar in Toronto for three hours and this caused the rift, but those rumors were rubbished by her spokesperson Lo Mik Shuet who said that that man was an elementary school classmate of Isabella and also a friend of Richard Li.

Sexy Isabella

Media reports have revealed another side to the break-up between Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li and actress Isabella Leong and it seems like third parties are involved. Li is rumoured to be involved with model Mandy Lieu and “Queen of the World 2009″ contestant Zhao Yaqi.

Li  is rumored to be surrounded by female companions and that he had gotten to know American-Malaysian Mandy Lieu in 2009. Mandy, 25, is a presenter at Li’s television channel NOW and is rumoured to be the ex-girlfriend of actor Berlin Chen for three years before breaking up early last year. Mandy’s “Westernised” character was a good fit with Li and they got along rather well.

Mandy Lieu

Another rumour circulating at the moment is Li’s involvement with Zhao Yaqi in 2009, the same time Isabella was pregnant with twins. Zhao is the second runner-up in the Miss Tourism of the Globe and a model who has been involved in many pageants and contests.

Zhao Yaqi

Both Isabella and Richard have kept mum about the reasons for their split.

Isabella Leong ( aka Leong Lok-Sze)  was born 23 June 1988 in Macau. Her father was a descendant of a prominent Macanese family of Portuguese-English heritage, and her mother is Chinese. Leong dropped out of school at the age of 12 to join Emperor Entertainment Group as a teenage model.

Isabella in a sexy photo shoot

Another photo from the sexy photo shoot

She later turned to singing and released her debut album, Isabella, at 16 years of age. Isabella did not achieve the success hoped for and she turned to acting instead. From 2005-2007, she made a string of films including The Eye 10, Bug Me Not!, Isabella, Diary, and Spider Lilies.

"Spider Lillies" movie poster

Leong went on to land her first American film role in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, which was released in 2008.

Isabella in The Mummy

While starring in film “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor,” Isabella Leong was introduced to Richard Li by actress Michelle Yeoh. Although they had a 20 year age difference, Li fell in love at first sight with Isabella.

Isabella Leong and her close friend Michelle Yeoh

Isabella, who won a Porto Film Festival Best Actress for her role in the movie “Isabella”, had a contract at that time with Emperor Entertainment Group, one of the largest entertainment groups in Hong Kong.

"Isabella" movie poster

Emperor Entertainment Group filed a lawsuit in the High Court on 3 April 2008 to seek damages from Leong for breaking a 10-year contract which Leong’s mother signed for her when she was only 12 years old. Leong filed a writ against the company on 27 April. In November 2008 the legal battle between Leong and EEG ended in an out-of-court settlement, with the star “free to pursue her career”. Hong Kong media reported that Richard Li spent about 6.2 million US dollars to resolve Leong’s 13-year contract with Emperor.

The 22 year old former singer and actress gave birth to Ethan Li Changzhi, Li’s first son, in Toronto, Canada,  on April 26 2009, after which Li lavished property, services, and gifts upon the new mother. Leong was allowed to use Li Family mansions in San Francisco. The Li family also provided her with an entourage of care-givers, including five bodyguards, four full-time nannies and a personal attendant. There was some speculation about a large pre-nuptial agreement. A 100-day-old banquet was held for the son from July 9–11, 2009, for three consecutive days, with some of the city’s celebrities like Stanley Ho and his second wife Lam Wan Ying, and Tsang Yam Pui and his wife having been spotted in attendance.

Isabella Leong gave birth to Richard Li's first son, Ethan Li, in April 2009

Then in June 2010 she gave birth to Li’s twin sons. Because Isabella has borne three male heirs for the Li family, it was widely speculated that she would soon marry Li. According to tabloid reports, Richard’s father, Li Ka Shing, was extremely grateful towards Isabella for delivering three male heirs and approved of the marriage between Richard and Isabella. Indeed, recent rumors claim that Isabella may marry Richard in August.  Li Ka-Shing reportedly rebuilt his Deep Water Bay mansion recently, leaving the fourth floor for younger son’s family of five.

Li Mansion in Deep Water Bay

The announcement of the split has thus come as a shock to the entertainment world in Hong Kong and around Asia.

End of her Cinderalla story but might be the beginning of a brand new life for her.

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Girls’ Generation is a very popular nine-member South Korean girl group formed by SM Entertainment in 2007. The nine members are: Taeyeon (Kim Tae-Yeon), Jessica (Jung Soo-Yeon), Sunny (Lee Soon-Kyu), Tiffany (Hwang Mi-Young), Hyoyeon (Kim Hyo-Yeon), Yuri (Kwon Yu-Ri), Sooyoung (Choi Soo-Young), Yoona (Im Yoon-A) and Seohyun (Seo Joo-Hyun).

The nine members of Girls' Generation

The group is often referred to as Soshi or SNSD by international fans, the first of which is an abbreviation and the second an acronym of the group’s Korean name So Nyeo Shi Dae. They are known as Shŕon? Shídŕi in China and Taiwan, Siu Nui Si Doi in Hong Kong and as Sh?jo Jidai in Japan.

SNSD officially debuted in August 2007 with their single Into the New World or Dasi Mannan Segye in  Korean. The group released their first self-titled full album in November 2007 with the lead single Girls’ Generation, a remake of Lee Seung-cheol’s 1989 hit. The album also included the group’s first single Into the New World, Perfect For You retitled as Honey, and 8 other tracks by the group. In early 2008, Girls’ Generation began promoting their second single from the album, Kissing You, which won the group their first k-chart win after getting the number one position on the KBS Music Bank February chart.

Girls' Generation

In March 2008, the album was re-packaged, re-released and re-titled Baby Baby. A third single, Baby Baby, was used to promote the album. During the group’s promotions, members Jessica, Tiffany and Seohyun were also featured on a mini-album released by Roommate, a one-man band from Purple Communication. The mini-album was titled Roommate: Emotional Band Aid, and was released on December 1, 2008. The 3rd track from the mini-album was performed by the 3 Girls’ Generation members and is titled Oppa Nappa. The track was digitally released before the album was, coming out in April 2008 and topping several charts.

On December 26, 2008, the pink unicorn posters of the Girls’ Generation members wearing sporting simple white shirts, jeans and roller-skates were posted up in various locations around Seoul. The posters were met with such popularity that SM Entertainment’s phone-lines were blocked up by callers asking whether the posters were for sale and the company was forced to ask fans to stop taking the posters down for personal use. Three days later on December 29, the group’s management confirmed that the posters were indeed teaser posters and that the group would soon release their first EP, The First Mini Album – Gee the following month in January 2009.

A teaser video was released in January 2009 and the first single Gee released soon after. Gee was a mega hit, topping Cyworld’s hourly music chart on the release day. The song also went #1 on all major digital music charts within two days. Gee holds the record for being the longest running #1 song on KBS’s Music Bank, having held the #1 chart ranking for 9 consecutive weeks. The music video set a record on release, garnering 1 million views on GomTV in under a day. The music video became the first to reach “Diamond Track” status on GomTV after breaking the 5 million view mark on January 16. The music video now has over 36 millions views on Youtube, snatching the spot for the most viewed video in Korea.

After a short break, SM Entertainment announced that the group would be back with a new mini-album sporting a "Marine Girl" concept. The new single was to be titled Tell Me Your Wish (Genie); with the full mini album being released digitally on June 22, 2009. The track proved to be a success as it conquered various music sites like Melon, Dosirak, MNet, Bugs and it was No.1 on the weekly charts and SKT ringtone weekly charts of the first week of July. The mini-album sold an estimated 50,000+ copies in its first week after released (almost double the numbers from the first-week sales of Gee), an unusual feat for any Korean girl group.

Most Influential Artist in the Industry...Girls' Generation

SNSD began a foray into the Japanese music scene in late 2010 under Nayutawave Records, a part of Universal Music, with a Japanese version of Genie in September 2010, which marked their official debut in Japan. The single sold over 100,000 copies and reached #4 spot on Oricon weekly chart. The group released their second Japanese single Gee in October, which peaked at #2 on Oricon with over 110,000 copies sold.

SNSD kicked off 2010 with their second full length album Oh! in January 2010. The lead single Oh!, was digitally released on January 25 with the music video being released two days later. The song proved to be another big hit, topping various charts upon release. With 'Oh!', the group went on to win 5 consecutive K-charts on KBS Music Bank, as well as achieving a triple crown on SBS Inkigayo. 'Oh!' also went on to win Music Bank's half-year K-chart, coming in at 2nd on Hanteo's first half album sales chart, and also winning the end-of-year K-chart, proving to be the most successful release of the year. The music video also proved to be popular, ranking as the number one most viewed youtube video in Korea by the end of 2010. It was also #1 in Hong Kong and made the top 10 in both the Taiwan and Japan rankings.

SNSD

Starting from March 11, 2010, photos of the members were released online showcasing a dark concept, dubbed "Black SoShi". A teaser video was released on March 16, with the new single Run Devil Run being released as a digital single on March 17. The music videos for both "Oh!" and "Run Devil Run" made it into GOMTV's 2010 First Half Top 10 ranking, the group having attracted over 13 million views in 6 months combined. The "Oh!" video on Youtube has garnered over 32 millions views.

The group released their third Korean mini-album, Hoot on October 27, 2010, consisting of five tracks. “Hoot” quickly rose to the top of the charts and received the #1 spot numerous times on music shows, proving to be another successful release for the group.

On December 22, 2010, “Hoot” was repackaged with additional tracks from previous albums and released in Japan. The release rose to the #2 position on the Oricon charts and selling 21,000 copies on the first day, faring surprisingly well considering the track itself is entirely in Korean.

On December 9, 2010, the group attended the Golden Disk Awards, being awarded three awards including the Disk Daesang (Album of the Year) for their 2nd album Oh!. The group became the also first ever to have both a Disk Daesang and Digital Daesang, having received the latter in 2009 for their hit Gee. On December 15, 2010, the group attended the Melon Music Awards winning the Best Dressed Singer award, Hot Trend Song award for their latest song, “Hoot”, as well as the prestigious Artist of the Year award. This would be the 2nd consecutive ‘Artist of the Year’ award for the group. They topped the Hanteo annual Singer Award chart for 2010.

SNSD aka Girls' Generation

On December 27, the group was chosen “Star of the Year”, Most Influential Artist in the Industry by Sports Korea. They were named on Asia Today’s list of 50 Korean power leaders for 2011 at the #44 spot, being the only idol group from the list. Girls’ Generation was designated “Artist of the Year” by Dosirak, Soribada, Korea Gallup, Hanteo and Sport Korea and also won Best Song of The Year with “Oh!” at Monkey 3.

On January 20, 2011, Girls’ Generation swept the 20th Seoul Music Awards, returning victorious with an Artist of the Year award, a Bonsang prize, a Popularity award and a Hallyu award. In doing this, Girls’ Generation became one of four artists in Korean music history (the others being Seo Taiji, Jo Sungmo and H.O.T.) to win two consecutive Artist of the Year awards at the Seoul Music Awards, they are the only girl group to achieve a triple crown in of Artist of the Year awards for Seoul Music Awards, Melon Music Awards and Golden Disk Awards.

The nine members of Girls' Generation in Korean costumes

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Natalie Glebova, (born November 11, 1981) is a Russian-born Canadian beauty queen who won the Miss Universe 2005 title.

Stunning beauty....Natalie Glebova

Glebova was born in Tuapse, Russia. She is a classical pianist and also has won various regional gymnastic championships. Prior to competing at Miss Universe, Glebova worked as a model and received her Bachelor of Commerce in Information Technology Management and Marketing at Ryerson University in Toronto. She has also worked as a motivational speaker for grade school and high school students.

Lovely!

Glebova currently resides in Thailand and is married to Paradorn Srichaphan. The couple, who met during the 2006 Thailand Open, became engaged in April 2007 and were married on November 29, 2007 in Bangkok, Thailand. Her husband’s family gave her the Thai name Piangfah and a nickname Fah. Sadly, Glebova and Paradorn announced their separation this week after three years of marriage.

Glebova and Paradorn's engagement party

Natalie Glebova kissing Paradorn at their wedding ceremony

The wedding ceremony

In 2004, Glebova attempted to win the Miss Universe Canada pageant where she ended up as 3rd runner-up. The eventual winner, Venessa Fisher, failed to place in the Miss Universe 2004 finals. Glebova competed again in January 2005, and won the Miss Universe Canada title.

Sexy!

Glebova went on to compete in the Miss Universe 2005 pageant held in Bangkok, Thailand in June 2005, where she became the fourth Canadian in ten years to make the initial cut of semi-finalists. She competed in the evening gown and swimsuit competitions, advancing to the top five where she competed in the final interview round. The final interview round was a tough selection; the strongest delegates who managed the Top 5 were Cynthia Olavarria of Puerto Rico, Laura Elizondo of Mexico, Renata Sone of Dominican Republic, and Monica Spear of Venezuela, who were all considered to be pageant powerhouses. At the conclusion of the pageant, Glebova survived the Latin onslaught and was crowned Miss Universe 2005 by outgoing titleholder Jennifer Hawkins of Australia.

Glebova crowned as Miss Universe 2005 by Jennifer Hawkins

Miss Universe 2005 Natalie Glebova

Natalie Glebova in bikins at the Miss Universe pageant

Natalie Glebova in a leopard bikini

Glebova’s win was Canada’s second: Karen Dianne Baldwin of London, Ontario had won in 1982. Glebova and Baldwin graduated from the same high school, London Central Secondary School.

Karen Dianne Baldwin

As Miss Universe, Glebova represented the Miss Universe Organization. Her “sister” 2005 titleholders were Allie LaForce (Miss Teen USA, of Ohio) and Chelsea Cooley (Miss USA, of North Carolina).

As part of her year-long reign as Miss Universe, she resided in a Trump Place apartment in New York City and assumed the role of HIV/AIDS awareness advocate. She attended the G8 Summit in New York City on August 11, 2005, which reflected on ending poverty in underdeveloped regions and ending gang activity and drug cartels in Colombia. In November, Glebova attended a special Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in Delhi and was on a week long tour of several Indian cities on an AIDS Awareness Program. In December, she attended the national pageants of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic before going back to Thailand to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the 2004 Tsunami tragedy.

Glebova in India

A very beautiful Natalie Glebova

During Glebova’s official “homecoming” to her hometown of Toronto, the Miss Universe was formally offered an apology by the city’s mayor David Miller after she was barred from attending a “Tastes of Thailand” festival while wearing her sash and tiara nor being introduced as a beauty titleholder. A 1990 bylaw, which prevents sexual stereotyping of either men or women in public events, was strictly enforced and largely criticized by Miller and Miss Universe Organization president Paula Shugart. Shugart called the episode an “insult” to not only Glebova, but to the Thai government who named her an “honorary tourism ambassador”. According to Shugart, this was the first time in Miss Universe’s history that a titleholder was uninvited from a public event.

Miss Universe 2005 Natalie Glebova

As well as promoting charitable causes, Glebova had the opportunity to attend many entertainment events and VIP parties in New York, and throughout the United States. She participated in numerous photo shoots with photographer Fadil Berisha.

Miss Universe 2005 Natalie Glebova in FHM Magazine

During her reign Glebova travelled to Africa in July to attend an AIDS Educational Tour with the Global Health Council, Malaysia in late September, the Bahamas and St. Martin. In late March 2006, Natalie visited Russia for the first time since leaving the country in her pre-teens. She participated in an HIV-AIDS Awareness campaign in Moscow and attended a Russian fashion show as a special guest. She also made numerous trips to Thailand, where she commemorated the anniversary of the Tsunami and Canada, her home nation.

Glebova relaxing by the pool

She also attended the national pageants of Ukraine in mid October, Puerto Rico in November, Dominican Republic in December, Czech Republic in February, Thailand and Nicaragua in March, Brazil in April. She also crowned Alice Panikian as her Miss Universe Canada successor the night of March 21, 2006. Alice finished 6th in Miss Universe.

Natalie Glebova crowns Alice Panikian

Glebova was supposed to travel to Indonesia to crown Miss Indonesia Universe 2006 in late July, but because of Canada’s travel ban to the Southeast Asian country, Glebova was officially replaced with Puerto Rico’s Cynthia Olavarria, the First Runner-Up of Miss Universe 2005. Since the Miss Indonesia pageant’s revival in 2000, this was the first time in which Miss Universe was unable to attend the coronation.

On July 23, 2006, Natalie crowned Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza of Puerto Rico as her successor.

Miss Puerto Rico Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza is crowned Miss universe by Miss Universe 2005 Natlie Glebova

In May 2006 it was announced that Glebova, along with golfer Vijay Singh and pro tennis player Paradorn Srichaphan, would become a brand ambassador for Thailand-based beer brewers Singha Corp. owners of Boon Rawd Brewery. Glebova completed her 1-year contract with Singha in July 2007.

Glebova in Thai costume

Glebova in Thai attire

In December, 2006, Glebova starred in an expensive two-minute television advertisement for The Beverly Hills which attempts to recreate an air of French romanticism for a housing development project of Henderson Land Development in Hong Kong and is one of the most prestigious and expensive housing developments in Asia. Natalie received “The Best Actress” award for this commercial during “The 13th Annual Most Popular TV Commercial Awards” ceremony in Hong Kong on May 5th 2007.

In February 2007, Natalie published her first book Healthy Happy Beautiful and it turned out to be a major best seller.

In February 2007 Glebova became a brand ambassador for Better Vision (the eyewear company in Thailand).

In May 2007 Natalie Glebova was appointed as Brand Beauty Ambassador for ICC International, the producer of BSC cosmetics.

In 2008, Glebova joined The Amazing Race Asia 3 and she partnered with Pailin Rungratanasunthorn. They represented Thailand and came in 8th place.

The Amazing Race Asia 3

Natalie Glebova and Pailin Rungratanasunthorn

In November 2008 Natalie Glebova started a new charity organization called Party 4 Charity.

Glebova also serves as an ambassador for Soi Cats and Dogs, a non-profit organization aiding homeless street animals in Thailand.

Natalie Glebova in a sexy photo

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The game of marriage is over for former Thai tennis star Paradorn Srichaphan and 2005 Miss Universe Natalie Glebova who have separated after three years of marriage.

Thai tennis star Paradorn Srichaphan and 2005 Miss Universe Natalie Glebova duiring their wedding in 2007

The couple said in a statement Thursday that they decided to split last July because work commitments had kept them apart but most people suspect that this is not the real reason for their separation.

“Over the past few years, responsibilities and work turned our married life in a different direction. However, we still care for each other and we are still good friends,” the couple said in the statement issued by their publicists.

As the former No. 9-ranked tennis player and former Miss Universe have together launched beauty products, diet supplements and a Bangkok restaurant, they said in the statement they plan to continue with their business.

Natalie Glebova crowned as Miss Universe 2005

The very first time the public saw the two together was in 2006 when Glebova kissed Paradorn as a reward for beating Tim Henman in the quarter-finals of the Thailand Open, which she attended as Singha’s brand ambassador. They quickly became one of Bangkok’s most recognizable celebrity couples and were married in September 2007, the year that Paradorn’s tennis career ended due to a wrist injury.

An inside source confirmed yesterday that the couple, whose separation was officially announced by their publicist on Thursday, would appear in a prerecorded episode of the “Tee Sip” (Attend) programme, which will be aired by Channel 3 on Tuesday at 10pm.

Paradorn’s father and former coach, Chanachai Srichaphan said the couple would continue to share the same house but no longer as husband and wife and that they had split up because of irreconcilable differences, adding that they had got together far too quickly for things to last.

“They had not dated long enough before getting married. However, it was all up to him. The decision was all his own,” Chanachai said.

“I don’t find the news worrying, I’ve been prepared for this,” the father added, dismissing reports that his son’s flirtations were the root of all problems.

“The media just stirred rumours, and Natalie would get upset when she read the reports. Every man is flirtatious by nature, and because my son is famous, people like flocking to him. But I don’t think that was the reason,” Chanachai insisted.

Paradorn’s brother Thanakorn said the couple had tried to sort things out but it was in vain. They just could not get along.

Their breakup has not come as a surprise to many, because rumours abound about how fragile their marriage was to start with. The two kept brushing aside the gossip, but were rarely seen in social events together recently.

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For update to this story, please go to this link.

Shooting for the world’s first 3D pornographic film by a group of King Kong filmmakers has reportedly been completed and the long-awaited erotic 3-D movie is set for release in May.

The US 3.2 million dollar ’3-D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy’ has already generated great interest in a host of Asian film markets, as well as Europe and the US.

Yukiko Suo as Dongmei

Read the rest of this entry…

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Popular Discovery Channel reality show ‘Deadliest Catch’ star Justin Tennison was found dead in a room at Homer’s Best Western Bidarka Inn on Tuesday, a year after the tattooed and gruff cast-mate captainCaptain Phil Harris of the ‘Deadliest Catch’ fishing vessel Cornelia Marie passed away in February 2010 from a stroke suffered while his crew offloaded crab at St. Paul Island, Alaska.. The body of the 33-year-old engineer/deckhand on the Time Bandit boat was discovered by a hotel cleaning staff on Tuesday. Police and paramedics were called to the hotel after Tennison’s body was found

Justin Tennison found dead in a Alaskan hotel room

A search of the hotel room, registered to Tennison, turned up a small amount of marijuana, as well as several bottles of alcohol in the refrigerator. Cops believe there had been a party in the room the night before — two rooms were registered under Tennison’s name and nearby guests complained about the noise.

Tennison died of unknown causes and his body was flown to Anchorage, Alaska, for an autopsy by the state medical examiner’s office scheduled  for Wednesday afternoon.

Time Bandit is one of the vessels on the popular Discovery Channel reality series that depicts the crab fishing industry in the dangerous waters off Alaska.

Deadliest Catch

Discovery Channel released this statement: “Discovery Channel is saddened by the passing of Time Bandit crew member Justin Tennison. We send our sympathies to his entire family and fellow crew members during this most difficult time.”

Time Bandit Capt. Andy Hillstrand wrote on Facebook:

Justin fished commercially for many years, living in Alaska for 28 years. He worked on the Time Bandit, alongside his second cousin, Eddie Uwekoolani, Jr., serving as Engineer during the tendering seasons, and joined the Time Bandit crew as a deckhand fishing the Red King 2010 and Opilio 2011 seasons.

Justin was tough as a bull and was an all-around good hand. The Captains and Crew appreciated his hard work and many contributions this past year. We will miss him terribly and wish his family all the best during this most difficult time.

Tennison is survived by a son, daughter, sister, father and grandparents.

The 33-year-old Tennison is set to make a posthumous debut in the series’ seventh season, which is scheduled to begin in April, Discovery spokesman Josh Weinberg said.

RIP, Justin Tennison!

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Have you seen the latest Old Navy Super Cute commercial that is creating such a buzz online?  Usually it’s Kim Kardashian who is burning up the internet, but today it’s her clone Melissa Molinaro that is causing a flurry of online activity as folks search for information on the Old Navy model.

Melissa Molinaro

Molinaro, though a little thinner and younger than Kim Kardashian, struts her stuff in the commercial bearing a striking resemblance to Kardashian.  The commercial has fooled more than a few people.

Kim Kardashian

Watch the Old Navy Ad….

So who is Melissa Molinaro?

Molinaro (born 1985) is a Canadian-born, U.S.-based pop singer, actor, choreographer and model. She is perhaps best known for her reality TV appearances on Making The Band 3 and Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search For the Next Doll. She is currently recording her debut pop/dance album scheduled for 2011 release, recently co-starred in Dolph Lundgren's action film, Command Performance, and had a major role in Honey 2 (2011).

Italian beauty Melissa Molinaro

Molinaro is the daughter of Divina and Stephen Smith and has a brother called Nicholas. She adopted her mother's maiden name as her professional surname. Born Melissa Ann Smith in Toronto, her family moved to Rochester Hills, Michigan when she was 13 years old. She began figure skating at the age of 3, gymnastics at age 5 and soon began attending Deborah's Stage Dance Door Performing Arts Academy and went on to become a solo dancer as well as dancing in groups.

A very pretty Melissa Molinaro

She was cast as the lead in on-stage productions like "Cinderella", "Beauty and the Beast", and "Cabaret".

At the age of 18, Melissa auditioned for the girl pop group, "Goddess", and became its lead singer. She was signed to a production deal with Interscope Records, and made her first recording demo. While Goddess never achieved commercial success, Melissa continued to work as an actor, dancer and model, appearing in several films, television shows, music videos and commercials.

Her early credits include feature film High Crimes and The Hillz; TV series Happy Family, Rodney and Grounded for Life and the unaired WB pilot Prep; music videos for Celine Dion and JC Chasez and The Black Eyed Peas Instant Def webisode. She has appeared in many commercials and done promotional modeling for Miss Fitness, Detroit Automotive Show, Sports By Brooks, Microsoft, Xbox, Sketcher, Nappytabs, Nivea and Dickies Girls.

Melissa Molinaro showing off her cleavage

Sexy Melissa Molinaro

She auditioned for MTV's Making The Band 3 and almost won a spot in the group Danity Kane. She made the final eleven girls but when it came to the finale of the show, the final slot came down to Melissa and Aundrea Fimbres and Fimbres made the cut. She later took part in another music-themed reality TV show called Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search For the Next Doll in which she competed to become the next member of The Pussycat Dolls. She won many challenges and finished as the 3rd runner up. She went on to host the Detroit auditions for Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious for CW 50.

She recorded her debut solo single "I Believed" with producer Rex Rideout, which was released independently with 4847 Records in 2008 on iTunes. Her music video to I Believed has collectively received nearly one million views on YouTube.

She landed a lead role in an action movie starring and directed by Dolph Lundgren, Command Performance in which she plays Venus, a massive music star who becomes a hostage after a Moscow charity concert turns bloody. She performs a song called Lost In Love in the film, which is commercially available on the 2008 compilation album Soul By The Pound from Fluid Music USA Inc.

Melissa Molinaro

She landed the role of Carla, the HD Crew's petite beauty with the firecracker personality, in the dance sequel Honey 2 due for release in 2011. In addition to Honey 2, her debut album "The Love Dance Project" is expected to be released by mid-year and features collaborations with some of the hottest producers and songwriters working today. In 2009, she appeared in the Fox sitcom Brothers and on Jimmy Kimmel Live at the Los Angeles premiere of the film Michael Jackson's This Is It.

Her other films include in the forthcoming Penelope Spheeris-directed comedy Balls to the Wall. For episodic television, her credits include "Brothers," "Grounded for Life," "Rodney" and "Happy Family.

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Ann Bodkin, a woman who took cover under her desk when the 6.3-magnitude quake struck Christchurch on Tuesday, was rescued from earthquake ruins Wednesday, raising hope as rescuers frantically searched for survivors. Bodkin had been trapped in her office building for 24 hours.

Applause broke out from the rescue workers as Bodkin was pulled alive from the rubble of the Pyne Gould Corp. building in the central business district. She was one of around 30 people rescued Wednesday from buildings on the two blocks most severely damaged in the quake. It is estimated that at least 22 people were still trapped in Pyne Gould building.

Rescue workers search for victims on the collapsed Pyne Gould Guinness building.

A woman is pulled from the rubble

“The sun came out the moment she was removed from the building,” said Mayor Bob Parker of Christchurch. “It was like God turned on the lights.”

Ann Voss, who spoke to the media from her mobile phone beneath the rubble, has also been rescued.

“A couple of hours ago, I thought I’d had it,” Voss told New Zealand network TV3 Tuesday. “I thought it was ‘goodbye Ann’.”

“I’ve managed to wiggle out a bit because I couldn’t breathe. Now I’ve got a wee bit of air here. I rang my kids to say goodbye.”

My daughter was crying and I was crying because I thought ‘this is it’. You’ve got to tell them you love them.”

She said she was unaware of what was happening and that she was waiting to be rescued.

“I’m not going to give up — I’ve got here now you get me out,” she said.

Rescue workers have abandoned hope of finding anyone alive in the collapsed Canterbury Television (CTV) building in the city centre, saying the damage to the structure was “not survivable.” It is believed that up to 100 people, including foreign students at a third-floor language school and TV station staff , were inside the building when the quake hit.

The collapsed CTV building

Prime Minister John Key said that hundreds are still missing, including 10 Japanese students and teachers believed to be trapped at a local college. The Japanese group, which was visiting the city, was having lunch when the earthquake struck.

Buildings toppled onto buses and buckled streets and the facades of iconic churches were ripped, including the Christchurch Cathedral and the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.

A damaged cathedral after an earthquake in central Christchurch.

Seventy-five people have been confirmed dead, but that toll was expected to rise with more than 300 people missing in the country’s second-biggest city, including about 100 in the CTV building, police said.

Much of the city remained without power and water, and hundreds of people queued for water supplies brought in.

A national state of emergency has been declared. It is the country’s worst natural disaster since a 1931 quake in the North Island city of Napier which killed 256 and it is estimated that the damage could cost $12 billion.

Power was cut off for most of the city, resulting in rescuers working overnight under floodlights. Rescue teams had to perform amputations to free some of the 120 survivors pulled from the wreckage of the tremor, which was the second strong quake to hit the historic tourist city in five months.

“This is just heartbreaking,” Key said. “This may be New Zealand’s darkest day.”

Rescue workers search for survivors in a collapsed building

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It was a cold day in December. A little boy about 10-year-old was standing before a shoe store on Broadway, barefooted, peering through the window, and shivering with cold.

Boy peering through the window

A lady approached the boy and said, “My little fellow, why are you looking so earnestly in that window?”

‘I was asking God to give me a pair of shoes,’was the boy’s reply.

The lady took him by the hand, went into the store, and asked the clerk to get half a dozen pairs of socks for the boy. She then asked if he could give her a basin of water and a towel. He quickly brought them to her.

She took the little fellow to the back part of the store and, removing her gloves, knelt down, washed his little feet, and dried them with the towel.

By this time, the clerk had returned with the socks.. Placing a pair upon the boy’s feet, she purchased him a pair of shoes.

She tied up the remaining pairs of socks and gave them to him. She patted him on the head and said, ‘No doubt, you will be more comfortable now.’

As she turned to go, the astonished kid caught her by the hand, and looking up into her face, with tears in his eyes, asked her,   ‘Are you God’s wife?’

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MediaCorp star Joanne Peh is so keen to play legendary striptease dancer Rose Chan that she’s ready to do the full monty, to strip herself naked if she has to, to play the role.

Joanne Peh

Peh said she has no qualms baring all to play the controversial Chan in Eric Khoo’s upcoming big-screen movie The Charming Rose.

The movie role of the late 1950s striptease dancer – who achieved notoriety as the Queen of Strippers – has gone through several rounds of casting musical chairs. Other well-known personalities who have been linked to the role are actress-singer Celest Chong and hot Malaysian model Christy Yow.

Celeste Chong

Christy Yow

Chong, who had expressed interest in the initial stages, dropped out of the picture, while Yow gave up the role to start a family.

Rose Chan, who died of cancer in 1987, was the most famous stripper in Singapore and Malaysia in the 1950s and 1960s. One of her most famous acts was wrestling with live pythons on stage.

Rose Chan, who died of cancer in 1987, was possibly the most famous stripper in Singapore and Malaysia in the 1950s and 1960s. One of her most famous acts was wrestling with live pythons on stage.

Explaining her willingness to go nude, Peh, 28, said that every part of her body is a tool in acting.

“It doesn’t matter that people see it all. Deep inside is what people will never be able to see. They may say ‘I can see your breasts or pubic hair’, but they may not know what kind of a person I am.

“That is what’s valuable to me, rather than my physical body. When I entered this industry, my body is something I have to give up. I have to let my co-stars or strangers touch or kiss me.”

Physical intimacy and nudity is nothing more than just part of the job, she concluded.

Joanne Peh with a frog

Joanne Peh showing off her cleavage

With such an open-mindedness and attitude, it’s little wonder Peh won the New Paper’s Flasher Of The Year title at their Flame Awards last year, for wearing a strategically-cut Gucci gown that revealed the side of her breasts in last year’s Star Awards.

Joanne Peh wearing the Gucci gown revealing the side of her breasts at last year's Star Award

Some nudity and striptease performances will be required for the Rose role, but Khoo said he hasn’t decided if there will be full frontal nudity.

He had received more than 200 applications and auditioned around 20 actresses since he first launched a casting call in 2008 for his film. Khoo has yet to cast his leading lady but admitted he is considering Peh.

Both met once for a preliminary chat last November, but did not discuss the script.

Khoo is full of praise for Peh.

“She has great presence and is very smart. It’s always easier to work with smart people. She’s a very, very good actress and also strikingly tall. I feel like a midget next to her.

Peh is gaining reputation for herself as one of the more outspoken showbiz personalities in Singapore. Her real-life boyfriend is actor Bobby Tonelli. They met on the set of Chapter 8 blockbuster drama series Little Nyonya where she played the long-suffering tragic Yuzhu and he played the love interest of Jeanette Aw’s Yueniang. Though their characters barely crossed paths in the show, their mutual attraction for each other sealed the deal and the duo decided take things one step beyond the cameras.

Joanne Peh & Bobby Tonelli

Rumors of Joanne dating an ang moh (colloquial term for Caucasian) guy was talk of the town and the couple finally confirmed the brewing romance between them after they were spotted attending a show with a group of friends at a local nightclub in September last year.

Peh’s relaxed attitude extends even to the way she handles industry rumours that have engulfed her ever since she hit the big time.

The latest rumor on the Caldecott Hill grapevine is that she’s related to someone senior in MediaCorp and that it may have helped her in her career.

Instead of being outraged or reacting defensively, Peh laughed uproariously at the latest speculation.

“Oh, don’t they just love a good scandal like that! I love it too,” she burst out in amusement, claiming that she has never heard it before.

“When you see someone doing well, it’s because this person is related to someone, or sleeping with someone. “But sorry to disappoint, there is no conspiracy theory. I’m not related to this person.

“Where I am today is a result of a lot of hard work. I fell hard too and had to pick myself up… I paid my dues.”

Joanne Peh on cover of SHAPE

Peh (pinyin: Bái Węixěu) was  born on 25th April 1982. She studied at Temasek Secondary School where she was head prefect and subsequently went on to Victoria Junior College then to Nanyang Technological University. She graduated with a Bachelor in Communication Studies (Second-upper class honours) in 2006.

She was talent-spotted after she won the title of Miss Elegant and Miss Personality in Miss Singapore Universe 2002. Peh has since been involved in hosting and acting projects such as PSC Nite, Miss Singapore Universe Semi Finals 2003, The Lunar New Year Show 2004, I Love My Home and The Ties That Bind.

Peh has acted in more than 20 productions, including two local movies, 2004′s The Best Bet and this year’s It’s A Great Great World.

In the 2004 Star Awards, Peh won the Most Popular Newcomer Award as well as one of the Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes award. The following year, she won her second Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes award, but failed to win the same award in 2006.

In the 2009 Star Awards, Peh beat hot favorites Jeanette Aw and Chen Liping to win her first ever Best Actress award for her role as the mentally unstable Huang Yuzhu in The Little Nyonya, on the day after her birthday. She also won her third Top 10 Most Popular Female Artistes award on the same night. She is placed along the likes of other young actresses such as Jesseca Liu, Jeanette Aw, Fiona Xie, Rui En, Felicia Chin and Dawn Yeoh, widely known as The 7 Princesses of Mediacorp.

Joanne Peh in The Little Nyonya

This year, she is up for Best Actress again for the drama Your Hand In Mine and Best Info-ed Programme Host for The Activist’s Journey.

Peh landed the coveted and prestigious position as the new LUX girl, alongside Hong Kong star Karen Mok. Her list of endorsements includes Fujifilm, Citigems, Japanese beauty brand Fancl, True Yoga, Bonia, Vagary, Carlsberg. Currently, she has been appointed as ambassador of Jetstar Airways and Laurier.

Pretty lady Joanne Peh

Peh describes herself as an avid reader, listing her favorite books as Pride & Prejudice, Phantom of the Opera and Great Expectations.

Peh represented MediaCorp TV as one of the torchbearers in the passing of the Olympic flame at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games held in Singapore.

Peh also runs a very popular personal blog “A Jolly Affair – Musings of a young Singaporean actress – Joanne Peh” at http://joannepeh.com/.

Joanne Peh's lucky star is shining rightly.

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