This year’s Miss Universe Singapore pageant promises to be a diverse affair, with various ethnicities and professions represented among its top 20 finalists.
“You have Chinese girls, you have Eurasian girls. This year’s finalists are very representative of the melange of ethnicities that we have here in Singapore,” said national director Nuraliza Osman at a press conference on Monday (28 August). “I love the fact that they’re all Singaporeans coming from all walks of life.”
Nuraliza, 40, participated in the pageant and won the crown of Miss Universe Singapore 2002. She also represented Singapore during the international round, which was held in Puerto Rico that year.
Among this year’s finalists include theatre student Emilbiany Nenggal Intong, who is of Malay, Chinese, Filipino and Spanish descent. The 18-year-old Emilbiany is not the only finalist with an arts background, however. Others include dance specialist Setia Vegawati, 25, and Camira Asrori, 24, a fashion communication graduate from the LASALLE College of the Arts.
Last year’s winner, Cheryl Chou, 21, had also graduated from the same arts school. Besides having a mix of ethnicities and creativity, this year’s finalists showcase some of the most intellectual and compassionate Singaporean ladies.
Among them are Tanooja Rai, 27, a graduate from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, who shared her thoughts about AI (artificial intelligence) during the press conference.
“I’m working in a company that is fronting the Artificial Intelligence machines. (I think that) civilisation is the product of intelligence, whether it’s human or artificial,” she said.
There’s also 27-year-old Amanda Tan, who once volunteered at a charity to help victims of domestic violence, and 24-year-old Ashley Rita Wong, who teaches English to migrant workers in Singapore.
Besides showcasing beauty, brains and heart, this year’s pageant has also proved itself as a great platform for improving women’s confidence, which was the case for finalist Suffianah Baharin. “To be completely honest, I was quite surprised to find myself among the top 20 finalists,” Suffianah said.
“Throughout the journey, I have overcome so much of my issues with my confidence and I’ve built up so much of it. Most importantly, I have been in the best shape I’ve ever been,” said the 26-year-old human resource professional, who added she has been “healthier” and “more focused” on what she wants to do in life since joining the pageant.
The grand final for the national round of this year’s pageant will take place at the Resorts World Sentosa on 11 October. The winner will walk away with a cash prize of $10,000, the right to represent Singapore in the international round, as well as other prizes amounting over $50,000.
More on the press conference in this video:
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