KUALA LUMPUR: The newly crowned Miss Universe Malaysia 2015 Vanessa Tevi Kumares has already started to make a name for herself.
Armed with her grace and eloquence, this 24-year-old former syncronised swimmer regards herself as a firm believer in strict parenting which has moulded her into who she is today.
“My dad has the biggest influence on me. I never liked him being too strict but he taught me if you want something in life, you have to be really sure about it and go all out,” said the Negri Sembilan girl.
Vanessa was born in Kuala Lumpur but experienced an amazing childhood in Seremban where she was raised. She thanked her father for teaching her to be certain and firm at all times.
“He made me explain why I wanted to study tourism for instance,” she said, adding that curiosity and courage was what had driven her to compete in the beauty pageant.
“I have always admired Miss Universe Malaysia queens. I love the way they speak with confidence like Carey Ng, Deborah Henry and Sabrina Beneett,” she said.
She also admitted that the beauty pageant was an uphill journey as she would never have thought of winning the title considering how she had initially performed during her ‘beauty bootcamp training’.
“The (beauty pageant) journey for me was very difficult, during the early stages. Some of the girls had experience while I started with zero,” she said, believing that her inner athlete quality played a major role. She had competed as a state athlete.
“I was quite upset as I did not win any of the challenges although I was not at the last place.
“Although I was failing, I knew I could do it so I kept telling myself to be on top and I started to have fun during the competition and am glad that I made it,” she said, adding that she was still in disbelief at winning the title.
As a product of mixed marriage, Vanessa described her “Chindian” life as unique for it made her become culturally sensitive through the differences she and her family embraced.
“My schooling years was really fun. Although I did not initially enjoy studying at a Chinese-type primary school but am now glad because I am able to speak three languages – English, Mandarin and Malay,” said Vanessa, who could also understand Tamil which she picked up from her Indian babysitter.
When asked if she would also fancy a mixed marriage, she chuckled and said she would accept just anyone who could relate to her on a deeper level regardless of race.
“I have never felt racism or segregation in Malaysia. In fact, my friends are all ‘rojak’ (multiracial) and we are very close,” she laughed.
Vanessa aspires to help underprivileged children broaden their horizons through the exposure and experiences of travelling.
“I had the privilege of travelling and I learned a lot of about life and culture with the experience.
“I would like to one day start a cause to help them (underprivileged children) travel and experience different cultures by themselves.
“Even a day trip to a different state will help enrich them and it does not have to be far outside the country,” said Vanessa, who will represent the country in the Miss Universe 2015 competition in China.
Did you find this article insightful?