WITTY and beautiful women at the 2018 Wheelchair Queen Malaysia proved they were boundless when it comes to chasing their dreams.
The pageant sought to push this unique concept as it was last seen conceptualised on a smaller scale in Malaysia by a different organiser in 2004.
Giving a breath of fresh air to the pageant, founder Sangeetha Veloo collaborated with Harry International Talent to highlight that beauty should be universal and inclusive.
“The idea transpired after I received the Timeless Beauty Award ambassador last year and with great power comes great responsibility.
“I wanted to do a community service project that is not only charitable but something that is out of the ordinary.
“After doing a bit of research, I found out that Malaysia is probably the only country without a wheelchair beauty pageant that sends their champion to compete at the world level,” said Sangeetha, a mother of two.
She added that the 30 participants, ranging between 20 and 30 years old who auditioned last September, were not only judged for their physical appeal but also their character, communication skills and education background to represent their community.The three-month journey to the crown brought the participants through multiple activities and trainings comprising CSR projects, photo shoots, talent rounds, grooming and self-confidence training sessions.
The 15 wheelchair-bound finalists, including a Sukma paralympic athlete, master holders and degree holders, dressed to impress on the night of the grand finale to compete for the Wheelchair Queen Malaysia title.
Nur Ashikeen Iqbal, 28, a degree student in psychology wowed the judges and emerged as the first winner of the pageant.
She explained that an accident in 2008 involving a drunk driver had fractured her spinal cord and resulted in her becoming paralysed from the waist down.
As a differently-abled person, Nur Ashikeen has always refused to let her disability stop her from gaining new experiences.“I was truly shocked and ultimately proud of myself for how far I have come. Thankfully, my dream came true in winning the Wheelchair Queen Malaysia 2018,” she gushed as she recollected in her stunning yellow gown on that memorable night.
Held at Star Light Arena Petaling Jaya, the grand finale saw over 500 attendees with proud families and friends of the finalists.
Nur Syazalina Radzuan, 23, was first runner-up, Nerosha Krishnan, 25, bagged the second runner-up title while Noreeda Redzween, 31, and Anna Fira Elias, 22, emerged third and fourth runners-up respectively.
The top five winners of the night brought home an individual crown, a diamond ring from Ceres Jewels, RM3,000 scholarship from Cambridge English and hampers.
All the 15 finalists received subsidiary titles and prizes.