updated 24 Dec 2010, 11:37
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Mon, Sep 27, 2010
New Straits Times
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Are beauty pageant queens 'dumb and blonde'?
by Audrey Vijaindren

Q: What do you have to say to those who crack "dumb blonde" jokes?

A: When you think of pageant girls, you think of that stereotype. But it has to go away, a little at a time. Many assume pageant contestants don't have anything to say, they're just giggly. I tried out for the MUM pageant because the concept has changed. I felt that I didn't have to pretend to be overly nice and sweet. I didn't go into the competition with a "world peace" mentality, I just brought myself to the competition, no pretenses.

Q: What is your most memorable pageant question?

A: It was here in Malaysia, when I was asked about the MUM tagline. The question was: 'Hip, urban, relevant and real, which are you and why?' I chose 'relevant'. I was raised on the concept that as a woman, things might be more difficult. My mum always taught me to never really rely on anyone, and to make sure I can stand on my own feet. I was raised to be strong and to never underestimate myself. I believe Malaysian women don't realise their full potential. If you put your mind to it, you really can do anything. I want to help young women get out of their shell. We may still be traditional in our ways, but our culture is becoming westernised. So, it may be hard to understand what's right and wrong. Sometimes, kids get lost. But it's about knowing who you are. The younger generation, especially girls, need to find someone to guide them. I hope I can help them find their path.

Q: When/if you have a daughter, would you encourage her to join a beauty pageant?

A: If it is something that she wants to pursue, definitely. I believe the most important parenting lesson is to raise a child to be what he or she wants to be. As a mother, I would want to endorse that and help her reach that goal, within reason of course. I would tell her not to be bothered about what others think.

Q: When you compared yourself to the other participants in the recent Miss Universe pageant, in what areas are we lacking?

A: I would think it's exposure. For instance, Miss Puerto Rico bought her first make-up set when she was 10 years old and most of the other girls had done seven pageants before. For me, it was my first experience. Another area is support. I stayed with Miss Philippines and she got gifts everyday. Filipinos flew from all over the world just to support her. It may not seem like much, but it matters a lot. I would have liked to have more people from home push me forward, it would have really helped with my confidence level.


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