Elaine Daly, inspiring queen of beauty queens


  • Life Inspired
  • Monday, 09 Mar 2020

Practically a household name in Malaysia, Datin Elaine Daly has been active in the beauty. entertainment, social and fashion industries since she began her foray into the modelling world in the late 1990s.

In conjunction with International Women's Day, Life Inspired spoke to three women from different walks of life on their lifestyles and careers, and what it means to them to feel empowered, how they empower others around them, and how they feel they make a difference.


Datin Elaine Daly, actor, emcee, host, entrepreneur

The national director of Miss Universe Malaysia is currently gearing up for the upcoming pageant, while also managing her other projects as well as raising two young daughters (Eva, four and Mia, 21 months).

Practically a household name in Malaysia, the beauty queen has been active in the beauty, entertainment, social and fashion industries since she began her foray into the modelling world in the late 1990s.

Fast forward to 2020, she has seen and done it all, from modelling and emcee-ing to taking the lead in the national pageant and setting Lead Up by Elaine Daly, a platform aiming at empowering women.

Datin Elaine Daly in Wescara by Carven OngDatin Elaine Daly in Wescara by Carven Ong

“I’m currently the national director for Miss Universe Malaysia, I’ve been doing that for five years now, which means I’ve seen through five galas already, five different beauty queens, it’s very exciting, very exhilarating, it’s things that I enjoy doing, ” says Daly, 43.

“I also run an online tv channel hurr.tv, which caters to the mass Malay market, we produce our own shows, we cast our own talents, but recently I started an organisation called Lead Up and basically it's a training workshop, an empowerment programme for primarily women, ” says Daly, who includes channel director of hurr.tv as one of her many roles.

“I've been asked over the years to come to schools, universities, cooperates, to give talks to their marketing communications departments and I said why don't I just do something on my own? I actually created my own modules, I have training and workshop programmes for people who want to enhance their non-verbal communication skills.”

Miss Universe Malaysia for this year will be crowned soon, and Daly is pretty excited about this year’s batch of girls.

“We’ve got a batch of very strong 18 finalists, very empowered, very intelligent, and I’m happy to be at the helm of it, guiding them, making sure that everything goes smoothly.”

What inspires you and how do you keep yourself motivated and passionate in your career and your projects?

Do I have one particular idol? I don’t have one, the everyday woman inspires me. It's all these little stories from women who I come across, even the Makcik selling nasi lemak, they all inspire me. They make me want to do better, be better. My children inspire me, they just make me want to be there for them every single day.

How do you make sure you are keeping up with self-care physically, emotionally, mentally?

I go to a class, whether it's a spin class or a boxing class or a yoga class, I try and do one activity a day. This has been my resolution for 2020 and it's been going well so far, except for the days that I travel.

I want to be a lot healthier, I'm currently doing intermittent fasting where I do 18 hours of fasting and six hours of eating.

I lead a very, very busy life from juggling my kids to being a wife, and trying to cook as much as I can, I love cooking, putting a good meal on the table. My husband and I are both foodies, we love our food, so hence, yes, that’s why I need to work out a little bit more.

When are you at your happiest ?

I’m at my happiest when I'm snuggling in bed with my two girls, gently coaxing them to sleep, and of course, when I travel, I love traveling. With my husband, with the kids, without the kids.

Where are some of your favourite places to travel and why?

My husband (Datuk Dr Nick Boden) is South African, so we try and go back there once a year. It’s just beautiful out there. It's so therapeutic, going on a safari, being one with nature.

I'm very much a city girl. And I never used to be very much of a nature person until I got married and went to South Africa and visited some of the most amazing places.

What’s your personal style?

I'm very classic, I love pants, I feel very empowered in pants somehow, and it's also easy for me to move around. So I'm very classic, very utilitarian, kind of look, very muted colours. Sometimes I like to go bright, but most of the time I stick to the beiges and the blacks and the whites and I like very clean lines.

On a personal note, what are the values and principles that matter to you in raising your family?

(from left) Hannah Lo, Datin Elaine Daly and Shaleen Cheah.(from left) Hannah Lo, Datin Elaine Daly and Shaleen Cheah.

That my girls grow up knowing that they've got to be kind to people. Kindness is very important to me, there’s a lot of unkind people in the world and I'd like my girls to grow up with, you know, being honest. Also, being kind and being strong enough to stand your ground when you need to.

What do you think has been an important step forward for women in recent years?

We’re finding our voices a lot more, to stand up for what we believe in and we 're not afraid to do so. Just take a look at the #MeToo campaign for one, he's now in jail.

I think that's a very important step, women are a lot more empowered in recent years, I know I do.

I think that's just a lot more voices being heard, a lot more empowerment. And you know, that comes from within, and the fact that we're a lot braver.

How do you actively, in your daily life, challenge stereotypes, fight biases and celebrate women’s achievements?

I am passionate about creating a whole generation of women who are smart, intelligent, disciplined, who are independent, that's my goal.

As cliche as it sounds, my go-to mantra is to make a difference in people's lives, however big, however small.

So, whatever I see whether it comes on in print or video, it may not impact a person's life right now, then you may do so in 10 years time, but it's making a difference.

Photographer’s assistant: Ares Chan
Hair and makeup: Anita Tang and Yunn G from A Cut Above

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