Pretty squashed egos

PGS stands for the Pretty Girl Syndrome, which some beautiful girls suffer from. Not all beautiful females suffer from this syndrome but I’m sure most guys have met our fair share of women who suffer from some form of PGS.

ONE theory that I’ve always promoted to my friends is my PGS theory. Please don’t get me wrong. I am not a Vietnam War veteran, and I have not experienced life to its fullest but let’s just say I have some stories to share.

PGS stands for the Pretty Girl Syndrome, which some beautiful girls suffer from - these girls think that “if I’m pretty, then I usually can have my way, or get out of trouble or tilt the scales in my favour”.

Not all beautiful females suffer from this syndrome but I’m sure most guys have met our fair share of women who suffer from some form of PGS. 

The symptoms obviously are - being extremely attractive, used to getting their way all the time, dislike the word “NO”, and are used to people dancing to their every whim and fancy.  They also have an ego the size of Texas, but act as if they are as humble as Mother Teresa. Sounds familiar?

I am sure many decent gentlemen have been fooled and given the run around by members of the PGS club, and I am also certain there are many girls who have been passed up for promotion or lost career opportunities because the boss chose the more attractive candidate.

I am sure you are expecting me to say, “What goes around comes around” and tell a nice story that will make one feel good or even vindicated. 

Sorry folks, not today. Today, I am going to tell you that God has a funny way of teaching people humility and respect. Recently, I had the privilege of being the television host for the Miss Universe Malaysia 2010 contest. My job was to conduct pre and post audition interviews for each contestant.

The selection process was quite straightforward – walk in, fill in some personal details, answer some basic mini essay questions and impress a panel of four judges with her winning personality. 

However, the final part was the most challenging, as each girl need to face the judges - comprising actor Hans Isaac, radio man Phat Phabes, 2004 Winner and National Director Andrea Fonseka and Julia Dolmotova, a Russian-born professional who has substantial experience in beauty brand marketing.

All judges were looking for candidates who were attractive, had a pleasant personality, good communication skills, intelligence and the X-Factor. 

The word X-Factor sounds ex­­­tremely grey but in the entertainment world, it is about having the ability to turn heads and capture an audience. The judges’ job was to look for that big X-Factor which I am sure many of the girls thought they had. 

Prior to the individual auditions, I asked many of the candidates what their main strengths were. Some of the over-confident girls answered, “I am confident, beautiful and humble. I have just what it takes.” 

When I probed further and asked if that could be misconstrued as “slightly arrogant”, most of the responses was a very confident “No”.

I think they forgot what the word humble means.  In those moments, I wanted to place a PGS tag around their necks to give the judges a bit of a heads-up on what to expect.  

But a colleague quickly whispered in my ear, “Just you watch, they have no idea that they are about to enter the lion’s den”. 

In this type of situation, warriors fight and prove their worth, or get eaten alive. She will get eaten, but which lion will bite the hardest? The judges tore these girls apart. It was not done using the Simon Cowell method but rather the honest truth. 

Hans, Phabes and Andrea used a more diplomatic approach but Julia was more direct. “NO, you don’t have it, you should do something else. You are not ready; you are not beauty queen material.” Talk about reality check. 

The judges also said that some of them did not get shortlisted because they did not respect the com­petition. According to the judges, some of the girls did not come prepared, looked like they had just come from a nightclub and had the mentality that looks alone could get them through. 

One judge stressed, “We are looking for a beautiful, ambitious, well-informed lady who carries herself well. That is what people sometimes forget.”

To sum it up, they are looking for someone who has class and poise. This goes to show that while there are many beautiful women in the land of Malaysia, classy women do not grow on trees.

Let this be a reminder to us all that looks can only get you so far. It can open doors but you also need skills and knowledge to keep the door open. If not, you will just be known as a “dumb blonde”, a tag which is very hard to shake off.

I am always reminded about what my friend once told her young and beautiful sister.  Her ‘big sister’ advice was that, “Even though God gave you a huge advantage with good looks, if that is all people remember you for, then you are easily forgotten.” 

This friend stressed to her sister, “If you have the looks, then make sure you have the brains to go with it.” Girls who have PGS start their day by singing the song, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” 

Well, I suggest they change their tune to, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, do I have the skills to do it all?” 

And if I were the mirror, I would answer, “No, but please do something about it!”

> Ben Ibrahim is a TV host, MC and writer. He has hosted shows ranging from The Breakfast Show to the 2008 Olympic Games. For more information about Ben, log on to

Letters , Opinion