What does it take to snare a billionaire? Renyi Lim searches for one of the most eligible bachelors in Asia and discovers that it takes more than just a pretty face to compete in the race.
The whispers began even before Forbes published its annual list of the world’s billionaires. ‘Do you know where he is?’ was the question on quite a few women’s artfully-glossed lips amongst society circles in Malaysia and Singapore. There was bloodlust in the air, and it didn’t take the sounding of a bugle to signal that the hunt was on.
That was how I found myself rubbing shoulders with the It Crowd at a glamorous F1 event, but with eyes for one man only: Eduardo Saverin. Commonly referred to as ‘The Other Facebook Guy’, you may have watched Andrew Garfield’s portrayal of him in the recent movie The Social Network. Aged 28, he’s currently worth an estimated USD 2.5 billion – somewhat less than co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, who’s said to have amassed a personal fortune of USD 13.5 billion – but hey, it’s nothing to sniff at, right?
Last year, rumours began to circulate that he was residing in Singapore, followed by reported sightings at The Butter Factory and Robertson Quay. It was then that the girls started arriving in hoards. The crucial point is that unlike Mark Zuckerberg, who’s decidedly attached to his girlfriend Priscilla Chan, Eduardo is single – and, by many accounts, ready to mingle.
The other thing piquing many women’s interest is the belief that he has a thing for Asian women. It’s even referenced in The Social Network, where Eduardo’s character jokes, “It's not that guys like me are generally attracted to Asian girls. It's that Asian girls are generally attracted to guys like me… They're hot, they're smart, they're not Jewish and they can't dance.”
Well, I don’t know about the ‘hot’ part, but I’d like to think that I have the brains to match the brains. And I can dance. Challenge accepted, Eduardo.
In reality, I’m aware that even if I’m planning to follow the race as a curious spectator, as opposed to a serious competitor, it won’t hurt to get some advice from someone who already knows the ropes of the bag-a-billionaire game. I contact Donna Spangler, author of How to Get a Rich Man: The Princess Formula. A former Playboy model happily married to a rich prince of her own, she gives me some heartening advice indeed:
“First off, nobody is perfect,” she tells me, after I ask her how I can capture the attention of a man who’s probably used to having beautiful models throw themselves at him on a daily basis. “A model has had hair, makeup and probably some airbrushing in their pictures. Confidence is the most important thing. This includes looking your best, along with your personality, which is equally important for the total presentation. You just have to make the most of what you have in order to present your personal best – then of course, the ordinary female has a chance.
“Many rich men have married women who are ordinary-looking females; however, these women usually have something that’s special about their personality, or there’s another reason they want to keep them around. Warren Buffet, for example, married his maid. Other wealthy men have married women who have worked for them, such as a secretary, so getting a job around a billionaire is also a favourable option.”
I wonder whether Eduardo needs a personal assistant or a PR representative, but since he’s so low-profile, it’s probably the last thing he wants. Still, I can at least do what any other good journalist would, which is to ask him for an interview. I attempt to contact him via – oh, the irony – his Facebook account, making sure to use the most attractive profile picture I can muster.
It doesn’t work. I receive no response, which isn’t at all encouraging – but not entirely unexpected. Short of flying over to Singapore and camping in the lobby of the luxury five-star hotel where he’s rumoured to be staying, dressed up to the nines like a desperate groupie-stalker, Eduardo’s trail seems to have gone cold far too early.
In my moment of dismay, it’s our Lifestyle Writer who steps in and saves the day. With her extensive list of contacts, she gets wind of the rumour that the man himself will be in KL for this year’s F1 Grand Prix. Where there’s a Prix, there’s a party, and it’s quickly predicted that Eduardo is most likely to turn up at one of them. “Get her an invitation. I want her at the event on Saturday night,” comes the order from above.
It’s certainly in line with Donna’s advice: “If you want to meet rich men, you must treat it like a job. Go to as many charity and political events, frequent high-end establishments, and stay involved. You must infiltrate that circle. It also helps if you do a lot of social networking and research to find out which billionaires are in or close to your area. The rich travel and are in certain places at various times of the year. The key is being out and going to places that they are known to frequent.”
On the morning of the big day, I’m polished, primped, pearled, false-eyelashed and maquillaged. Everything is calculated to net Eduardo: my chosen dress for the evening is a figure-hugging, hot red number, selected after hearing that scientific research shows that women wearing red dresses tend to be rated by men as more attractive and more sexually desirable. It never occurs to me at any point that Eduardo couldn’t care less whether I get a French manicure or if I haven’t had my hair professionally styled.
Finally, under Junne from Estée Lauder’s skilful hands, I’m transformed into the A-List version of myself: flawless skin, huge, huge eyes, and sweeping lashes. That’s the moment when I feel I might be capable of holding my own in the race for Mr Saverin’s hand (or bank account). The evening feels full of promise, and that wedding in the Maldives that my colleagues have been joking about seems almost within reach.
Did our Features Writer ever bag her billionaire? Pick up a copy of our July 2011 issue and find out…