A former model with a penchant for helping others is determined to change the way people view Malaysian athletes.
Jersey Chong, who has been Chinese superstar Fan Bingbing’s international spokesperson and manager since 2012, is based in Beijing, China, but has big plans for her fellow Malaysians.
The Johor Bahru native entered a partnership with former Malaysian badminton player Robert Lin Woon Fui earlier this year to provide consultancy, management services and publicity support to help athletes get a second career as social influencers.
Lin will shortlist athletes who he feels have the potential to shine and Chong will then assist in how best to package them into being ‘celebrities’ or ‘idols’ and turn them into role models.
Part of their job is to brand these former athletes as fashion icons or lifestyle key opinion leaders.
Besides Lin, Chong has started working on Eddie Lim Yit Min, a former national taekwondo exponent, who won a gold medal in the 2003 SEA Games. He is a speaker and trainer in the field of personal safety and self-defence.
Also a film producer, Chong hopes to use her experience in talent and artist management, public relations, marketing communications, event planning, advertising, project management, and business development to help Malaysian athletes forge a second career.
“Most elite professional athletes, from all sports, retire with little knowledge or understanding of business,” she explained.
“I‘d love to help them transfer their skills to the most appropriate business environment.
“I’ve met many retired athletes who enter this new phase of their life with no qualifications, no experience and no guidance. The earlier an athlete prepares for ‘life after sport’, the smoother the transition is likely to be.”
The 35-year-old Chong, who has a Masters in Communication Management from the University of South Australia, set up her company, J-Link Management Sdn Bhd in 2002 when she was only 18 and was involved in talent-scouting, management and career development. She is also a special officer to Pemanis assemblyman Dr Chong Fat Full.
Her clients were, among others, Wayne Chua, Moo Yan Yee, William San and Cathryn Lee from Singapore’s Mediacorp Pte Ltd.
She was then appointed organising director of Broadway Events & Marketing, the franchise holder of Miss Malaysia Chinatown/International 2005.
A two-year stint as artiste manager with Harmonic Studios Sdn Bhd in 2007 saw Chong’s active involvement in film production, film distribution and artiste management.
In 2009, she partnered Shaolin Monastery of the Songshan and director Zhan Xiaonan of the ‘Thousand-Hand Guanyin’ film to bring 14 shows of the professionally choreographed theatrical performance, ‘Happy Shaolin Legend’, to Genting Highlands.
She was also involved in producing a 2012 Singaporean movie ‘My Dog Dou Dou’ and a 2015 Malaysian movie ‘Wira Wah’ headlined by singer-actor Auguste Kwan.
Her experience and network in the entertainment industry led her to Fan.
She became a member of Fan’s team when the Chinese superstar made her debut at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010.
This marked the beginning of Chong’s role as Fan’s media officer, communication advisor and a personal assistant on the annual international fashion, film and festival circuits around the globe, including the prestigious Academy Awards Ceremony.
She joined Fan Bingbing Studio as the International Public Relations Director and Artiste Manager, a position she has held since 2012.
“I’m confident I can help our athletes start another life beyond the sports field and forge a new career,” said Chong.
“It is something I feel passionate about.”