It's been nearly 15 years since Alicia Amin first illuminated the Malaysian spotlight, yet the model and actor insists there's so much more to learn. Here, she opens up to BURO about shedding her rebellious youth and embracing maturity in her career.
Dress: Behati.
Alicia Amin is engrossed in a game of Honkai: Star Rail on her iPhone as she sits for hair and makeup on the morning of our photoshoot. It's her way of maintaining peace of mind. After all, for someone like Alicia—who began her modelling career at the tender age of 15—finding solace in small pleasures is essential amidst the rush of her day job.

Now at 29, she continues to thrive, constantly adapting and evolving within the fashion and entertainment industry. This is precisely why, when selecting our cover star for May—with a focus on the theme of 'Growth'—the top model was a clear choice. With an impressive fourteen-year career, she has blossomed into a multifaceted personality—balancing between modelling, acting, and occasionally DJing—all driven by her relentless passion for her craft.

Alicia's early years were spent in Johor and Singapore, where she attended primary and secondary school, before eventually moving to Kuala Lumpur at the age of 15. It was during her teens that she stumbled upon the world of modelling almost by chance—a pivotal moment that sparked her interest in the fashion industry.

"A friend of mine wanted to try out for the Ford Supermodel casting in 2010 and I joined to accompany her. I didn't win but got so into it—the runway, backstage and the whole chaos of it all just felt kind of, like, home," she reflects.

Despite her parents' reservations due to her young age and with school to finish, Alicia was drawn to the exhilarating rush of modelling. "I was a rebellious spirit that couldn't be tamed. I just did whatever I wanted to. Seriously, if I met my 15 or 16-year-old self now, I'd probably be like, 'Oh my god, you're so unsafe. Something's going to happen to you!' But I love her; she was such a riot," she recalls.

"I guess that's the best part of being really young, right? You're fearless and take risks without thinking twice."

Her boldness paid off as Alicia's modelling career flourished over the years, earning her national and global campaigns, multiple solo magazine covers, a spot in Asia's Next Top Model (Cycle 5), and numerous runway gigs at prestigious events such as Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week.
Dress: Joli Poli from Gelly Wee.
While modelling provided Alicia with a platform to express herself creatively, her aspirations extended beyond the runway in another entertainment craft: acting. In 2017, she landed her debut role in a Malay drama titled Meh Sandar Lagi.

"Modelling was something I stumbled into at a young age when I was still figuring out what I wanted in life. Now, with acting, I'm going through a similar process, but with a level of maturity I didn't have 15 years ago. So, the journey feels less daunting compared to when I first started," she contemplates.

When questioned about her passion for being on-screen, Alicia explains that there is a deep sense of fulfilment that accompanies the art: "On set, I often question myself: 'Am I doing this right?' 'Do I truly understand what I'm doing?' That's what I find most enjoyable."

"It's incredibly fulfilling because there's a continuous learning experience. There are so many skills I still want to develop—mastering accents, nailing micro-expressions, and refining other techniques," she shares.
From runway to the screen
As Alicia navigates the intricacies of being an actress, she continuously seeks guidance from industry veterans for specific roles—including notable actress Fatimah Abu Bakar and the late director Azhari Zain—aiding her in refining her work.

"The beauty of acting is that, in my opinion, you can pursue it long-term. As long as an audience wants you to grace their screens, you can continue to act. This factor, which isn't common in modelling, is something I value," she declares.

Now, Alicia boasts an impressive array of TV and movie accomplishments, including a role in a Prime Video Original titled That Cover Girl. Additionally, she received a nomination for Best Actress at the Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian 2023, and Best Breakout Actress at the Filem Festival Malaysia 2022 for her lead performance in The Disappearance of Irdina Adhwa.
Earrings: Kate Spade New York.
In an industry often characterised by misconceptions and superficiality, Alicia's resilience serves as a reminder of the importance of staying true to yourself.

"I am not the kind of person who can fake it for the 'Gram or pretend just for the sake of others. I am genuine about who I am online and in real life," she exclaims. "I don't subscribe to a persona or feel the need to present a curated image to the world. Nonetheless, I deeply respect those who can."

Despite often facing backlash for her personal choices, Alicia strongly maintains her authenticity, refusing to compromise her values for popularity or acceptance.

"The biggest challenge is deciding whether to stay true to yourself and face criticism or conform to expectations and lose your truth. I've always chosen to be myself," she asserts.
Embracing authenticity
Part of what contributes to Alicia's success as a model, enabling her longevity in the industry, is her versatility and androgynous appeal, a rare trait among models in Malaysia. She effortlessly transitions from rocking feminine, long hair to exuding ultra-coolness with a shaved bald head. Coupled with her devil-may-care attitude, this formula ensures her continued triumphs.

"I don't really have an aesthetic that I lean into, however, people would say that I'm kind of boyish. I'm not good at sitting in skirts and dresses, but I wear them so much for work. I feel blessed to be able to wear different kinds of clothes made by different designers from all over the world."
Dress: Denise from Gelly Wee. Shoes: Manolo Blahnik
Alicia enjoys experimenting with different looks for work and embraces each transformation with an open mind. Because of this privilege, her personal style remains laid-back in comparison. On a typical day, she prefers a really good pair of jeans and anything that matches—whether a graphic T-shirt, sleeveless top or something oversized.

As we discuss her passion for fashion, Alicia enthusiastically expresses her appreciation for its limitless nature. "I know that there's a lot of discourse about how style is nowadays and that there's an aesthetic for everything, which makes it seem so limited and rigid. But there are still so many wonderful people out there who are just dressing the way they freaking want. This is how it should be! People not caring and just expressing what they feel and wearing what they want to wear."

To drive her point home, Alicia urges individuals to showcase their personalities through the way they dress: "There is a piece of clothing for everyone, everywhere, for every occasion. You can genuinely do whatever you want with it—you can choose to fit in a box, follow a trend, or just go crazy with it!"
As Alicia reflects on her journey thus far, she remains optimistic about the future. While her career has reached new heights, she stays rooted in her beginnings and is committed to ongoing growth and self-improvement, not only for herself but also for the fashion and modelling industry as a whole.

"What the industry lacks is more support, care, exposure, and inclusivity. I'm not just talking about body sizes or affordability. The current fashion scene seems to exist within its own bubble, focused on specific styles, designers, and cities. However, it's essential to showcase the talent of our local designers beyond major urban areas. We need to inspire people from a young age to embrace fashion and appreciate it as a community. By doing so, we can foster more designers, show venues, shoots, and brands. Currently, there's a lack of unity—it feels like it's them versus us."
Quilted jacket: Masyadi Mansoor.
It's clear that Alicia is drawing from her years of experience and knows what she's talking about, especially as next year marks her 15th anniversary in the industry. "I feel so old now, but I'm just 29," she laughs.

For the rest of 2024, Alicia wants to focus on making the most out of her talents. "As we speak, I'm gearing up for my next project. This month, I'll begin filming my next series with film director Osman Ali, which I'm incredibly excited about. Additionally, I have a few movies lined up, although the release dates are yet to be confirmed so please look out for them. Ultimately, I'm just looking to have a blast doing what I love." And really, who could object to that?
Dress: Khoon Hooi. Shoes: Louboutin. Accessories: Kate Spade New York.
Editor-in-chief, CONCEPT & COORDINATION / Sarah Hani Jamil
Videography / DENNIS KHO
LOCATION / Courtesy of UR-MU