updated 12 Jul 2013, 06:42
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Sun, Jul 07, 2013
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She has the exotic edge
by Charlene Chua



If there was a perfect resume for a Miss World Singapore contestant, then Singaporean Maria-Anna Zenieries, 18, is likely to have it.

Her background reads like a winner in the making, she lived in places like Ghana and China when she was younger because of her dad's work.

Settling in Singapore only when she was 12, Miss Zenieries - whose mum is Singaporean-Chinese and father, Greek - prides herself in having helped children from third-world countries because she was living among them in Africa.

She recalled: "In Ghana, it was a way more simple life... so you have more time with family and friends.

"I used to climb trees instead and didn't use the Internet at all.

"My mum would hold plenty of fund-raisers, where people would donate things and we'd sell them. The proceeds would go to the people (living) in poverty there." Her mother, Yvonne Ng, in her 50s, encoura

ged her to do charity work. She was also the runner-up of Miss World Singapore in 1978.

Talent-wise, Miss Zenieries can act, dance and sing. She's a trained opera singer as well as a ballet, jazz and hip-hop dancer.

The United World College graduate, who majored in English and psychology, said: "My future goal is to go to all the disaster areas and help out, either with the United Nations or Red Cross some day.

"I joined Miss World Singapore because I also believe in beauty with a purpose.

"The whole charity concept is what I'm all about and I love meeting people and just talking to them."

Although her mum was a Miss World Singapore contestant back in the day, she said that she's under no pressure. That's because her mum has reminded her that it's important that she just puts in her best.

While she has only been living here for the last six years, the Anderson Primary School alumnus claims she's "as Singaporean as can be".

For one, she's a huge fan of durian and can eat lots of the creamy fruit in one sitting.

Even though she's in a relationship with an officer who is serving his national service, she's crazy about the male cast of local film-maker Jack Neo's hit army flick Ah Boys To Men .

Miss Zenieries, who hopes to snag a role in the third instalment of Ah Boys To Men, said: "I've watched the movie five times and I can recite all the lines in it.

"Oh goodness, it's hard to pick a favourite because I like them all.

"Tosh (Zhang), (Wang) Weiliang and Maxi (Lim) are so enjoyable to watch.

"If I saw one of them on the streets, I'm sure I would be thinking about running up to him and telling him 'I love you', and I think he would freak out."

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