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Published: Thursday July 25, 2013 MYT 8:00:00 AM
Updated: Thursday July 25, 2013 MYT 12:41:38 PM

The girls behind the Miss Malaysia World controversy

PETALING JAYA: The four Muslim contestants who were disqualified from the Miss Malaysia World pageant have been subject to media scrutiny after their dropping due to the ruling that states Muslim girls are not allowed to compete in beauty pageants.

The Star Online spoke to three of the four girls who told us they joined the competition to give them a chance to show Malaysia who they are and why they are proud to be Malaysians.

The fourth finalist, Kathrina Ridzuan could not be contacted for an interview

Wafa de Korte

City girl Wafa de Korte is 19-years-old and grew up in Kuala Lumpur. Her father is Dutch and her mother is Malay.

Wafa got an early start in the industry. “I started runway modelling when I was 16-years-old and I've done television commercials since I was five-years-old,” she said.

Wafa says that her mother is her role model. “She's been through a lot and she is a very strong woman. She's my best friend and she has supported me in whatever I've done in my life,” she said.

“I joined the Miss Malaysia World Pageant because I wanted to represent my country and to showcase how beautiful Malaysian woman can be. I would be honoured to represent my country. To showcase my intelligence, poise and inner beauty,” said Wafa.

Wafa admires how we as Malaysians “still stand together” through the ups and downs. She also loves the diversity of our cultures and how Malaysians come from different races and backgrounds.

“Everyone lives peacefully and it's amazing to see us living in harmony,” she added.

Sara Amelia Bernard

20-year-old Sara Amelia Bernard was born and raised in Ipoh and attended convent schools for her primary and secondary education.

Her mother is half British and half Malay, while her father is half Iban and half German.

Sara had a later start to modelling, beginning her career only when she started college in Kuala Lumpur where she studied at Taylor’s College Sri Hartamas.

Sara looks up to iconic model and actress Michelle Yeoh. “She has proved that a girl from a small town like myself can be so successful. She's not only a great actress, but has a very loving and kind personality,” said Sara.

Sara said that she joined to show the world what true Malaysian beauty is.

“I saw it as an opportunity to promote intellectual women as well as participate in various charities worldwide and help the underprivileged,” she added.

“In school, I had friends of every race and had the opportunity to learn about their customs and beliefs. I also love the variety of food in Malaysia, my favourites being popiah, banana leaf and ayam masak merah!” she said.

Miera Sheikh

Miera Sheikh will turn 19 in a couple of weeks. She spent her younger years in Singapore before moving back to Malaysia with her parents.

She is of Malay-Arab decent with ancestors deriving from Melaka, Arab, Australia, Pakistan and Java.

Miera shared how she dived into modelling when she was in Form 3.

She sees her father as a role model.

“He is a father with strong will, strength, perseverance and endurance to patiently see me pass through what I want in life,” she says.

“He supports me as my father, friend and advisor and consultant. He has sacrificed his time and attention just to see that I am okay,” Miera adds.

Miera says that Miss Malaysia World is not the first pageant she has taken part in.

“Last year I won the Miss Malaysia Kebaya 2012 (1st runner up) and then followed by Miss Malaysia Tourism 2013 (where I was one of the finalist),” she said.

She shares how through pageants, she has learnt the important lessons of being punctual, committed, sincere and working towards a mission.

Meira appreciates the gift of being a Malaysian citizen.

“Malaysia has gifted me the most expensive gift of being a citizen of Malaysia and being a Bumi Malaysian,” she said.

“I am trying and hoping someday I could be a role model to the youngsters not only in Malaysia but the whole world,” she adds.

Tags / Keywords: Miss Malaysia World, pageant, beauty queens, disqualified

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