From Cancer Stricken Patient to Renowned Manager- Allen Khor is the man who’s just warming up
The Youth-driven fashion culture is an exceptionally difficult terrain to maneuver; particularly for the uninitiated. Especially in this post-modern era where trends and fads come in and leave as fast as the abrupt changes of the erratic Malaysian weather. This cycle is even faster in the more modernized parts of Kuala Lumpur where fashion, music, culture and art are so intricately woven into the city’s identity. That’s why it’s important- imperative even, to note the talent of quickly rising talent manager, Allen Khor.
Hailing from the bustling hive of activity we know as Kuala Lumpur, Allen has made quite a name for himself in the modeling industry by being one of South East Asia’s foremost championing personal identity strategist, visual strategist and talent manager.
After playing a pivotal role in the aggrandizement of the career of his much-publicized girlfriend; May Ho, he is now popularly known as the ‘Oracle of the Modeling Industry’, with throngs upon throngs of eager, fame-hungry models seeking him for consultation and help on making it big in the industry.
With his relatively new management agency; AK Star, the still-budding 32-year-old has been able to procure a notable plethora of formidable and rising Talents/Models that really embodies the new Malaysian ‘beat’.
Growing up, Allen always dreamed of being a celebrity himself, but quickly realised that he had a knack for being the principal behind the scenes, booking photo-shoots, managing Talents and setting up lucrative deals for models.
He deftly guided May’s career from one peak to the next and eventually got her into the big leagues with big corporate fishes like Universal Studios, Coach and Disney, just to name a few.
A few of the major moves he’s orchestrated with his Talents include securing deals and features with Coach, Lacoste, Sony, Samsung, Digi, Universal Studios, among several others.
It may seem like all lights, cameras, action, glamour and fun from the outside, but the Modeling industry has evolved to what has now become one of the shadiest industries around. The odds of making it big in this increasingly competitive industry, even if a Talent has an abundance of natural looks cocktailed with a charming personality and talent is 50/50 at best. There are just so many possible pitfalls, dishonest promoters, sneaky managers, underhanded lawyers and deceitful fashion executives willing to hoodwink eager young blood trying to hit it big in the industry- which is why many greenhorns approach Allen due to his reputation in the industry for being dutifully honest and straight as an arrow, as well as being effective.
Allen’s secret for success lies in his unique management style, which involves viewing music artists as living, breathing brands. An integral facet of success is having a grand vision, and Allen Khor certainly exceeds in this aspect.
However, Allen’s leviathan-sized success didn’t come easy. The frail-framed man has had to stand up to monumental hurdles in life that would easily knock the stride of any average person- the biggest hurdle being, cancer.
About four years ago, Allen started experiencing ungodly stomachaches. Brushing it off as a run-of-the-mill case of food poisoning or imbalance in his diet, Allen thought little of it and didn’t think it would be necessary to pay a visit to the doctor.
However, after three weeks, the paralysing pain started growing at a worryingly pestilential rate and despite his objections, his then friend, May Ho, dragged him to a hospital to have a medical checkup.
Allen, who was so sure that it was nothing more than something minor, was floored when the doctor diagnosed him with stage 4-stomach cancer a week later.
It was a somber and tenebrous time for Allen- but he had his then best friend, May to battle the odds of overcoming cancer. The doctor’s initial diagnosis lit the proverbial fire under her feet and she became his cornerstone in the midst of the gruelling battle to come.
Following the initial diagnosis, the doctor had Allen transferred to the care of a specialist to undergo a possibly-mortal surgery to remove nearly 70% of his stomach to stop the cancer from spreading through his body.
Giving up his love for seafood and alcohol, Allen fully converted himself to a vegan diet in order to keep his body at its prime-state to ward off the possibility of the cancer re-developing.
It was hard to give up the many things he enjoyed in life, including his guilty pleasures like partying and late nights with friends, but the thought of staying alive to photograph and care for the woman he was beginning to love more than just a friend (May), kept him strong-willed to outlast the storm.
After two years of relentless soul-crushing battles with cancer, Allen was finally in the clear- he was officially cancer-free.
However, he was left with a big hole in his pocket from using up all of his savings, which he had intended to use to open a Café, to pay for his medical expenses. If it weren’t for his insurance that covered a majority of his medical expenses, Allen would’ve been a bankrupt.
Sad but unregretful that he had used up all of his savings to open his dream café, Allen looked at the brighter side of life- grateful that he had emerged victorious from his battle with cancer, and began planning his next step in life.
It was then that he decided that his best friend, the woman he fell in love with while she fought side by side with him through cancer, would make an amazing breakthrough in the modeling industry with her charming personality that was cocktailed with her ravishing looks.
It was then, May Ho slowly started rising into the spotlight- becoming one of the most renowned models in Asia.
However, a big part of her success must go to her second half; Allen, her partner cum manager, who oversaw the day-to-day running of her social media pages. His all-encompassing job included managing her schedule, licensing corporate deals and everything else. Allen connected with many big fishes in the industry full-time and quickly went to work. Riding the wave of a bulletproof work ethic, he pushed May’s career into dizzying heights.
The rest as they say is history.
Every now and then, Allen inspires legions of cancer-stricken patients to make a trek to conferences to hear him speak about his experience with cancer and how he had beaten the odds to make a full recovery.
His story inspired many, that even a documentary-ish video about him was made.
Apart from managing his roster of talents, Allen goes café-hopping with the love of his life, May, during his free time- and also enjoys photography as a penchant, framing photos of May, and bagging himself a few photography awards in the process.
Till this day, Allen maintains a vegetarian diet to keep himself healthy- but still yearns and dreams for a time in the near future where he will be able to indulge himself with seafood once more.
Taking a bat at the fashion industry, Allen is also now the visionary behind The Next Apparel– a brand that has now landed on the shores of Hong Kong and is donned by prominent stars like Peace Teo, Danny Koo and Candy Lim.
Today, Allen and May continue working together, with Allen being her manager. They are living proof that you can have a working relationship with your spouse and still make things work.
Allen’s career is a perfect example of how determination and all-out grind can take you from nothing to the top of the heap.
This cancer-stricken turned Talent Managing Baron never spends a day in an office. He now surveys the smoking ruin of a vast modeling edifice that once housed eager young models, talents, managers, all of those who did not see him coming or take him seriously.
Out of this reckoning, Allen is poised to preside at the top of the industry at heights reserved for only Gods amongst men- Allen is the man who’s just warming up.
Allen’s Facebook Page : Allen khor
Allen’s Instagram Page : @allenkhor
The Next Apparel’s Instagram Page : @thenextapparel