Chapter 1 : Getting In & The preliminary interview.
As you are reading this. I'm pretty sure that it has came to no surprise that I am a finalist for Miss World-Malaysia. If you did not know then well, Surprise!
I have decided to document my journey, emotional walk, candid moments and whatever else that is related to the pageant here. I know this does not fit into the usual content of this blog, but do stick around.
There are a couple of reasons for why I wish to have a candid documentation of my journey with Miss World Malaysia. The first being that I still regret not documenting my journey with Miss Universe Malaysia the year before (2013). All I have with me now are pictures and a couple of videos but I still wished that I could take away more memories from it.
Throwback. At the Miss Universe Malaysia Top 100 Auditions. I'm at the bottom row, 5th from the right.
Also, while considering to join Miss World, I was researching on the internet hoping to find stories from past contestants of their experiences with the Miss World Malaysia Pageant and could find less than a handful. Hopefully this would serve as a means of future contestants to prepare them of what is to come.
The last and I would say most important reason is that when I'm 40 and have kids and they think their mom is not cool, 'Shabam!'. Living Proof.
Unlike Miss Universe Malaysia, Miss World Malaysia was not something I was as ecstatic about. Don't get me wrong, it does not mean that I joined the pageant halfheartedly, neither does it mean that I am not as invested in it, but it took a lot of thinking before I decided to apply to MWM. I went into MUM amateurishly with no experience. At that time I had no agents, never stepped foot in a casting and had never landed job.I didn't think I would even make it to Top 40 and didn't have a game plan. Everything was 'fun' for me and it didn't go any deeper than that. When I did make it to Top 40, I was introduced to the public and did not realize how encouraging/mean they could be. I definitely underestimated how much Malaysians cared about the pageant industry. Getting so far with MUM only to be cut off stung quite bad but I believe that it came to no surprise to many as my lack of experience was apparent.
Joining MWM, I told my self that this time it was no longer fun and games. If I was going to do another pageant, I wanted it to be for a purpose. I wanted to be sure that the next time I joined a pageant, I was equipped and actually had a chance of getting that crown. I got myself a couple of agents, got educated, went for at least one casting a week and even landed my first commercial.
Throwback. My first commercial was for Digi . It was such an eye opener.
I also wanted to mature mentally before I joined my next pageant. Public criticism is something that is bound to happen and I did not take it at the best of my abilities the last time. This took a lot of thinking, talks with good friends and alone time. Even as I was filling up my application for MWM, I still questioned if I was ready.
The application process was easy and swift. I had to prepare the usual 'pageant resume' with my vital stats , bio and past experiences. With this I also wrote a cover letter in the email. This wasn't compulsory or mentioned but I wanted to give myself an edge. In the cover letter I introduced myself and the reasons why I was joining the competition. I introduced my love for people and community empowerment. A reply saying that I was accepted into the competition came after a month or so but I first needed to go for an interview.
The Preliminary Interview
I was e-mailed by Dato' Anna Lim, the Miss World Malaysia pageant licensee and organizer, asking to meet her for a short interview. Dato' Anna won Miss Malaysia/Universe in 1990 and again won Mrs Malaysia/ World n 2004, 10 years after her marriage. I also learnt later that Dato' Anna was a fellow Ipoh girl and surprise, surprise, a fellow classmate to my mom back in her Main Convent high school days. What a small world!
Miss World Malaysia Pageant Organizer, Dato' Anna Lim
The interview was held at Papa Rich, Bangsar which I first though was a little odd. What I had in mind was something more quiet, private and slick. I wore light, neutral makeup and what I'd usually wear for a casting call which was neutral colors and heels.
The entire interview was surprisingly short. It lasted for not more than 30 minutes and was very casual. Questions that I were asked was the normal 'How tall are you?', 'Tell me more about yourself', 'Where are you from?', 'Do you have any concerns about the pageant?' and more. There was a certain chilled aura about the conversation. Dato' Anna mentioned that she chose to carry the interview in the outdoor section of the F&B outlet because she wanted to see my face under natural light. I would say it was a balanced interview. She encouraged me on my looks and personality but also told me what my weaknesses were and how I should work on them. While speaking to her I also felt like she was checking me out (haha). That was proven to be correct when she later told me that it was best if I could tone up my arms and thighs and possibly loose a couple of pounds. This was no surprise to me. Many commented on my MUM pictures that I looked 'beefy'.
Throwback. Back in the MUM days
Dato' Anna also shared with me how many girls from the past were skeptical of her mentorship. She explained to me how her actions were for our best interest and it took a lot of trust between both parties in order to make a beauty queen. I remember her telling me "Whatever I tell you to do, you do it. If I tell you that you need to be at a certain place at a certain time, you'll be there because I know what is best for you". I have to say that I took this with skepticism. It is not normal for you to immediately trust a stranger whom you have just met but I do believe that through her many years of experience in pageants Dato' Anna has became a wise strategist.
The interview ended with her letting me know a couple of essential things I needed. Very high heels (she mentioned that my height at 165cm was a disadvantage in the pageant industry), Cocktail dresses, an evening gown , makeup, and the other the usuals. I was also advised to not change my hairstyle, hair color or participate in any activities that would put myself in any harm. Whatever else information that I was needed was to be communicated to me through text messaging and e-mails in the future. Overall it didn't feel like an interview but more of a conversation.
As it was a one-to-one interview, I still had not had the chance to meet any of the girls. Dato' Anna gave me a book that she authored about her experience in the pageant world. I made it a point to finish the book cover to cover that very day. The fact that I was joining another pageant still had not sunk it to me at that time and I carried on with my daily routines. In fact even after the interview, I was still doubting if I was ready for the pageant. Good friends encouraged me along the way and Dato' Anna reminded me that because of the age limit, this was the last year that I could ever compete in Miss World ( I was turning 23). I think that was the extra kick that I needed. Only about 5 people knew that I was in Miss World Malaysia at that time and I didn't see the need to publicize it. Little did I know the journey that was awaiting me...
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