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Tuesday October 20, 2009

The good, the bad and the ugly

Blogger Tiong Sue Lynn took part in the Miss World Malaysia 2009 beauty pageant recently and kept a daily diary on what goes on behind the scene. This is her story.

I HAD joined the Miss Malaysia Universe 2008 pageant just to try my luck, and also because many people had persuaded me to do so. Back then, I was an ordinary 23-year-old who did not know a thing about make-up or how to pose for cameras.

Rehearsals were hell, and I could not keep up. I broke a pair of heels when I nearly fell backstage, and the other one I had was not suitable for the gown I was supposed to wear.

Luckily, Soo Wincci (Miss World Malaysia 2008) was there to help me – she passed me her extra eye-liner, lent me a pair of black heels and taught me how to apply make-up. I left the pageant wiser, more confident and touched, by her friendliness and generosity.

Demure lass: The writer parading the Kebaya on stage.

Throughout my five days there, I experienced and learned a lot of things about myself and the other girls – good, bad and ugly. For those who are interested in joining beauty pageants, this might help you deal better with pageant life.

Trust me, it is not easy. I shall start with the good parts first. We were given a make-up workshop by Definite Cosmetics on the first night.

We were also very lucky to have modelling guru Cilla Foong to teach us how to catwalk. Many of the girls were models or had modelling experience, so they did not look like they needed the catwalk session, but I most certainly did. I had never done modelling in my life, and I was not sure how to walk and pose appropriately.

If you want to join a beauty pageant, you will need to observe a few golden rules and prepare yourself for a few things. Do not expect to get eight hours of beauty sleep; count your blessings if you can get four to five hours of sleep.

Do not be late, ever. If you cannot be punctual, then you are not fit to be a beauty queen.

Never eat like there is no tomorrow – this is a beauty pageant, not an “all you can eat” competition. Stuffing your face will make people question your credibility as a beauty queen.

Wear your high heels. I wore five-inch (12.6cm) heels from 7.30am till 1am every day (except during the gym session), and at the end of each day, I could not feel my toes.

Remember to cut out your bad habits – it is not elegant for a beauty queen to twitch her nose, pull out her wedgie or scratch her head, especially when there are cameras and video cameras following your every move. I was told I moved my head too much (I can be quite animated), so I had to stop that habit quickly.

Judges are everywhere. The one you least expect to be a judge will be one of them. So it is important to be nice to every one, including the room service people / bellboys.

Charity work: The contestants paying a visit to SMK Sunway OKU.

During the pageant, there were a few things I was not happy about. Some girls got way too much airtime, while a few others did not get enough.

For me, I was very happy with my amount of airtime – I got fair coverage in almost every video. Some of the girls were barely in the video, so how was the public going to get to know them and judge them personally?

You simply cannot judge a girl based on one or two pictures. This is why the airtime is important – you get to show people how bubbly/gorgeous/interesting/pleasant you really are. I thought a few girls had potential, but because they were not given much airtime, they lost out.

If you are one of those girls who want to enter a beauty pageant hoping to make plenty of friends, I am sorry to burst your bubble – it is not going to happen.

This is a beauty pageant, not a Miss Friendship of Friends Forever competition. Every one who joins a pageant wants to win, some much more than the others.

This year, when I participated in the Miss World Malaysia 2009 beauty pageant recently, I was a lot more confident and very focused, so none of the girls tried to mess with my head. If they did, I was so focused I did not realise it. You might get comments like “You should join Miss Petite” (indicating that you are short), “That red dress looks gorgeous, but it seems to make you look fat!”, and “Oh my, what skinny/chunky legs you have!”

In some pageants, the questions will be provided a day or two before the finals – this is to prevent some girls from making a complete fool of themselves on stage.

It is important to never sound too rehearsed. The judges and the audience want to see your real personality, communication skills and intellect.

Do not forget to read the contract and fine print that comes with it. Understand the terms and conditions before penning your signature. If you do not understand the contract, refer to the organisers or chaperons – they are there to help.

Winning is not everything. Just because you do not win a pageant, does not mean you are any less beautiful, talented or intelligent than the girl who won.

Every one is beautiful and talented in their own way; never compare yourself to others. If you keep comparing yourself with others, it will be your downfall. A pageant does not determine who you are or what you are worth as a person. It helps you build your confidence, learn about poise and better yourself as a person.

Thank you, every one, for supporting and voting for me. I won the Miss Popular subsidiary title and was 3rd Runner-Up in the pageant.

Thanks especially to Rif, my family, Tgin, Abby, Han, Shum, Mike, Hanim, May and friends for coming to cheer me on. Love you guys!

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