ONE young woman’s life was changed forever as she was crowned Miss Universe Malaysia 2015 at midnight on Friday in front of an audience of some 700 people at the Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.
Tourism management graduate Vanessa Tevi Kumares, 24, was ecstatic when she was called to receive her crown and sash from outgoing Miss Universe Malaysia Sabrina Beneett.
The thrill-seeking Indian-Chinese beauty from Negri Sembilan, who works in a hotel in Singapore, thanked the organisers for the incredible journey that brought the finalists to that special moment.
“I hope that Malaysians will be patient with me as I learn and grow, and with all of your support, I will do my best to bring Malaysia to a whole new level at Miss Universe next year,” she said at a press conference.
As one of the 17 Miss Universe finalists, Vanessa spent the past four weeks competing for a spot as one of the top six finalists in intense televised challenges, which saw the elimination of contestants in a style akin to reality television shows.
Having survived the elimination rounds, she went on to impress the judges at the Gala Night and beat a few fan favourites to the title.
Though many disgruntled fans took to social media the next morning to voice their disappointment over their favourite contestants losing out, many others also voiced support for the newly crowned beauty queen.
“The judges chose her because they saw a spark in her that gave her potential to represent the country. We want to hone that spark so that in due time, she will be ready to bring a good name to Malaysia on the international stage,” said Miss Universe Malaysia Organisation national director Carey Ng.
For winning the title, Vanessa took home a lucrative cash prize of RM50,000 plus over RM180,000 worth of sponsored prizes consisting of vouchers and numerous products and services.
First, second and third runners-up Pauline Tan, Kelly Jagan and Sugeeta Chandran also walked away with prizes for their superb performance throughout the competition.
A few subsidiary titles were also awarded during the show. Gloria Tneh was presented with the Miss Naza Maserati Elegance title, Sugeeta the Female Miss Photogenic title while Tan won the Miss mydentist.my Winning Smile title. The Miss Body Beautiful title went to Meera Maniar.
An additional secret subsidiary title, Miss Talent, was awarded to April Tang by the judges.