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Thu, Sep 23, 2010
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Beauty at the crossroads
by Meera Murugesan

SHE can go from girl-next-door to glamorous beauty in just minutes. Nadine Ann Thomas has a face that is sure to turn heads and a sense of style that's equally eye-catching.

The reigning Miss Universe Malaysia answers the door of her Subang Jaya home looking pretty and youthful in a simple, grey spaghetti strap top worn over shorts.

She has a fresh, almost college girl appeal. Mid-way through our interview, Nadine pops into her bedroom to change for the photo shoot and comes out looking drop-dead gorgeous in a short, low cut black dress that shows off her long legs and slim figure.

"I'm not brand conscious but I love clothes with a good cut and fit," she says, as she gracefully slips her feet into high heels that complement her simple yet striking dress.

The sultry beauty, who just recently returned from representing the country at the 2010 Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas, the United States, is clearly a young woman with a distinct sense of style and who has a flair for mixing and matching clothes and accessories.

[Above: Nadine likes elegant open-toed high heels]

Nadine says she has nothing against those who are brand conscious. But to her, fashion is much more than just a famous label.

She defines her style as "a little funky and urban but not too girly or sweet". She prefers clothes with simple, clean silhouettes that allow her to get creative with her wide collection of accessories.

She admits to having a weakness for large, eye-catching earrings and rings and striking bead and stone necklaces and trendy leather belts. Her collection of shoes range from glamorous open-toed heels to comfortable high top sneakers.

Nadine also looks for versatile, multi-functional pieces when shopping, such as short, stretchable skirts that can double up as tube tops or flowing, wrap-a-round skirts that offer plenty of style options.

"I usually don't take a long time to shop because I know what I want," says Nadine who shops in Sunway Pyramid, Sungei Wang Plaza, Pavilion and small, stand alone boutiques.

When she's out with friends, she prefers jeans, sandals or sneakers, paired with tank tops or spaghetti strap tops while dinner dates call for well-cut dresses with slight embellishments and cleverly chosen accessories.

Nadine, who's of mixed parentage, says that as a teenager and right up to when she was 22, she struggled with acne. That affected her self esteem. Growing up, she was also taller than her classmates and that made her very self conscious.

Over the years though, she realised that whatever shape or size a woman is, she can still look fabulous if she knew how to put together her wardrobe.

While it's more challenging for bigger built women to find flattering clothes, things are changing and more labels today cater to women with "real bodies".

Nadine, the middle child in her family, has teamed up with her younger sister to start an online shopping site called which offers trendy separates that buyers can easily mix and match.

The sisters used to shop online but often found that the clothes they had bought didn't have a good fit or came with too many embellishments.

For their business, they look for clothes that stand out in terms of cut and style and hope to eventually source from Thailand for even more variety.

Nadine says it's normal to follow trends and to experiment with new things as fashion is never static. She believes a woman can try different things while staying true to the core of what constitutes her personal style.

[Above: Nadine's accessories include striking necklaces
and rings]

"My best friend, whom I shop with, has a style that's completely different from mine. It's more colourful and she likes lace and frills but sometimes, she asks me to try something she has picked and when I put it on, it actually looks good," says Nadine who names Beyonce and Audrey Hepburn as her style icons.

After winning the Miss Universe Malaysia crown, Nadine had many of her clothes sponsored or custom-made by designers. One of her personal favourites is a stunning, brown chiffon halter-neck evening dress that she wore during the official evening wear photo shoot in Las Vegas.

She says flying in to Las Vegas to participate in the glitzy, glamorous ceremony that's watched by millions was a surreal experience. The challenge for her was to hold her own in such a large, world class event while being surrounded by the most beautiful, talented women from around the world.

The 3½ weeks she was there were mostly taken up with hours of rehearsals for the big day.

"Can you imagine being up at 5.30am, having barely four hours of sleep a day and standing in six or seven inch heels the whole time. It was completely crazy but it was very exciting too."

Las Vegas, she says, was so hot that some girls fainted when they went outside while the temperature in the hotel was almost to the point of being freezing.

Nadine became close friends with some of the participants, especially Miss Singapore and Miss Philippines and they helped each other cope with the exhausting regime in the weeks leading up to the pageant.

Now that she's home, Nadine is keen to explore the many options that have come her way. She hopes to do modelling, both on the runway and for print and is even open to doing stints as a radio or TV host. She has also been asked whether she would consider acting and is looking forward to holding workshops on personal development and growth for young women.

"There are so many opportunities out there and I'm keen to explore them all. It's an exciting time for me."

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