Attracted to a ‘mind- blowing’ solar boat
Published on: Sunday, September 08, 2019
By: Kan Yaw Chong
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Minh Anh with what she calls a ‘mind-blowing’ Race For Water Foundation ‘solar boat’.
HANOI-born and Moscow-raised supermodel Jessica Minh Anh – rated one of the world’s most famous fashion show producers – was in town last week.

Her mission? Fashion shoot aboard an iconic floating engineering masterpiece – a 100-tonne all renewable energy powered Race for Water Foundation catamaran, which stopped over since Aug 19 till Sept 10 in Kota Kinabalu. 

The stop over is part of its five-year odyssey around the world to highlight the five huge gyres of plastics that have poisoned the oceans and to prove that renewable energy is the future! 

If you are someone who likes good intellect, meaning and articulate English, this supermodel has them all in word and transeendental purpose.

“If I am just doing a fashion show there is absolutely no meaning attached to it, then to me it is completely worthless!”    

“When I saw the Race for Water Foundation vessel, I find it just like mind-blowing mainly because it combines all three types of renewable energy which is solar power, wind power and hydrogen power.” 

Minh Anh and Race For Water Solar Boat’ crew. (pics by Peter Charaf)

‘Technologically and visually attractive’  

Daily Express: Why do you say it is mind-blowing?

Minh Anh: To me, it is so beautiful. I love things that are technologically and visually attractive so when I see this boat and it combines all types of beauty that I prefer then obviously I will be drawn to it. For example, I am attracted to the solar panels than anything else.  

Daily Express: So, you think the world should begin to embrace renewable energy like the way Race for Water Foundation had built a clean energy portfolio using a combination of solar, wind, hydrogen power etc?

Minh Anh: Yes, because it is good for the environment. I mean, when you use renewable energy you will not harm the environment like what we are doing now. For example, using plastics instead of using renewable materials. That is the whole point of protecting the planet.        

Solar panel catwalk aboard Race For Water catamaran. 

‘Wonderful and logical cycle – 

turning plastic waste to electricity’ 

Daily Express: Besides your high opinion about this ‘mind-blowing’ boat, the real crux of the matter is Race for Water Foundation is going around the world in an unusually long voyage, saying they have developed a leading edge pyrolytic technology that uses very high temperature in an anaerobic emission-free process to turn so-called indestructible plastic waste into high value syngas and electricity. What do you think of that?     

Minh Anh: I think it is wonderful because it is very logical cycle to me where you transform plastic wastes into electricity, which is already a winning technique. After that, you actually use the sales from electricity to create jobs and pay the people who collect plastic wastes before it gets into the oceans. That’s really two good things in one. It is a very logical cycle to me.     

‘Spreading visually attractive photos on solar boat around the globe’  

Daily Express: Why have you decided to do a fashion shoot aboard Race for Water catamaran? 

Minh Anh: We are doing visually attractive images on a solar boat to promote fashion, sustainability and renewable energy. We are spreading the photos to the media all around the world so they can help us spread the message and this boat and renewable energy. That’s what is parallel… it’s a parallel world, this boat and fashion.        


A supermodel rich in ideas   

As aforesaid, Minh Anh is rich in innovative mind-opening ideas and it’s a pleasure to listen to the taped interview. 

Daily Express: We have been told you are the world’s most innovative fashion show producer who stresses the visual concept. Please explain that part.

Minh Anh: Okay, I just explain my shows at special venues. Basically, I started to do the shows at the most iconic venues in 2011. I chose London Tower Bridge which was the symbol of England. At the time, I just thought it’s very important to do something no one else had ever done before. To me, doing something unique and different is important and I will never choose a venue where there had been a fashion show before. 

I am always the first one on all the iconic monuments from the Eiffel Tower to the London Tower Bridge, Petronas Sky Bridge in Malaysia, One World Trade Centre, Grand Canyon Sky Walk, Hoover Dam… every one of the places I have done the shows. They have always been the first ever fashion show ever held at those locations. To me it is important to be the first, to be unique and to be different.

Elegant: Close-up shot of supermodel Minh Anh. 


‘Big interest in renewable energy started in Spain’ 

Daily Express: When did you get into this renewable energy thing?  

Minh Anh: Starting from 2015 I have big interest in renewable energy. I started to promote renewable energy alongside fashion with the Gemasolar Plant in Spain (the world’s first commercial concentrated solar power plant in southern Spain capable of 20MW with a central tower receiver and molten salt storage technology). This one is really visually attractive because it was thousands of shining mirrors. The central tower was right in the middle of it so it was really mind-blowingly beautiful. But then that was not good enough. I wanted to capture that beauty alongside a very important message about promoting renewable energy and sustainability. That is the reason why I added more meaning into my shows from that point on.


‘Doing fashion show that has something for everybody’  

Daily Express: So you always put yourself in the context of the most famous architectural wonders in the world?

Minh Anh: Yes, exactly. Yes.


Daily Express: Is there a reason for that? 

Minh Anh: Yes. Actually, I divide my shows into different types of catwalks. The first one is at the most iconic architectural wonders, so we are talking about London Tower Bridge, Petronas Sky Bridge, Eiffel Tower, One World Trade Center and many other places.  I am a very visual person, and I love art and architecture and the shows are not just fashion shows. I mean, fashion shows happen all around the world on a daily basis and it’s not that special, it’s just a fashion show… but my show combines art, architecture, culture, fashion and now technology. When you combine all of that, it is something completely different. There is something for everybody, so it’s not just a fashion buff who is interested in my shows but even people who are interested in engineering and technology who are also interested in the show from different angles. I think that’s the reason why I am very addicted to my job. 

Minh Anh on solar panel catwalk during sunset aboard Race For Water Foundation ‘solar boat’.  (Pictures by Aznan Johary, Peter Charaf)

‘Fashion in famous landmarks and high places’  

Daily Express: Besides famous landmarks you also went for record-breaking situations?

Minh Anh: Yes, the highest fashion show in the world, the Grand Canyon, on a catwalk 4,000ft above the Colorado River. It’s like walking in the sky because it was a glass structure and it was completely see-through and then it was so high so when you walk on it it’s really like walking in the sky.


Daily Express: That’s how you select your context – record breaking, the most famous and now you are into renewable energy. What gets you into renewable energy? 

Minh Anh: As I was saying, in 2015 I was first introduced to renewable energy at the Gemosolar Power Plant in Spain. I think it is a process of learning, experiencing and seeing things in real life. When we promoted that show with renewable energy concept, it was very captivating to the world and it captured the global media’s attention. Then I looked into different types of renewable energy, starting with solar power. We also promoted hydroelectric power on top of Hoover Dam. And when I saw the Race for Water Foundation vessel, I find it just as mind-blowing, mainly because it combines all three types of renewable energy, which is hydrogen power, solar power and wind power.


Daily Express: Your themes cover oceans, rivers and water?

Minh Anh: Yes, I have a series that is catered to catwalk on water… ocean catwalk if you call it. Basically, the show will either be on cruise ships or on boats but so this one Race for Water is a combination of all the ones I am interested in, the renewable energy, the water like a floating venue. It just basically combines everything and is beautiful as well… so architecturally beautiful.  


‘Inspiring new generation to embrace renewable energy’  

Daily Express: You are doing this to inspire the new generation to embrace a transition to renewable energy? 

Minh Anh: Yes. I think it is very important for the new generation starting from very young age even from primary school to learn about the importance of sustainability and renewable energy so they will be able to help protect the planet against all the terribly dangerous wastes all around the world.  I mean, of course, there are so many different ways of promoting sustainability in my personal way. You can promote it through visually attractive showcase and visuals like photos and video because it is sometimes a little bit hard to digest things being jammed into people’s throats but if you present them in a beautiful way then hopefully it will be more universally embraced.


‘Always doing fashion show along a better good and important cause’ 

Daily Express: You celebrate innovation, technology and sustainability? That’s how some people describe you. Kindly explain what that means.  

Minh Anh: Yes, I do that because I believe that if I am just doing a fashion show. There is absolutely no meaning attached to it then to me it is completely worthless. If I do a show alongside a very important cause it is doing something good and obviously it is a very good example of the new generation to do the same. 


Daily Express: Back to this boat – is it part of your iconic series to promote sustainability, beauty and fashion? 

Minh Anh: Well, as I mentioned, it is important to show people the different ways of how sustainability is important and my way is through beautiful fashion photos and videos. That’s how I combine fashion and sustainability.

Fashion shoot aboard Race For Water catamaran. 

‘Visually attractive ways to highlight sustainability’ 

Daily Express: There is a paragraph from Race and Water Foundation quoting you as saying: ‘I want to highlight sustainability through artistic and cinematic captures that will hopefully be universally embraced. We can achieve great results by stimulating the mind set towards green initiatives in a creative way.’ Can you expand on that? 

Minh Anh: Sometimes it is a little bit hard to digest a lot of information at the same time about sustainability and ways to do new things differently… When they are presented in a visually attractive way, in a creative way, photos and video shots in cinematic and innovative style, they capture people’s attention more. As a result, we will be able to promote what we want, which is sustainability. 


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