updated 28 Jan 2013, 09:22
Login password
Thu, 24 Jan 2013
The Straits Times Urban
Email Print Decrease text size Increase text size
She joined pageant on a dare
by Joyce Chua

Ms Marion Nicole Teo, 45, Miss Universe Singapore 1987

She joined the pageant on a dare but Ms Marion Nicole Teo went on to be crowned Miss Universe Singapore in 1987.

It is hard to imagine the poised and immaculately groomed image consultant to be anything but ladylike, but the 45-year-old recalls: "I was very tomboyish during my school days and seldom wore a dress. Back in Marymount Convent, I used to play the role of the boyfriend in our school plays."

Then, while studying in Anglo-Chinese Junior College, she was approached by a talent scout on the streets one day to be a model.

"Some of my friends thought it was funny and they dared me to join the Miss Universe Singapore pageant after my A levels. So I did and I won."

That year, the international pageant was held, for the first and only time in its history, in Singapore.

While that meant she was not able to travel, there were benefits to being at home.

"I was initially disappointed at not being able to travel, but I later saw the value of being able to know every contestant as the representative of the host country. I also got to meet and chat with my family when I was stressed. Also, my designer could come alter my gown as I had lost weight before the finals," she says.

To date, she is one of only two Miss Universe Singapore winners to make it to the top 10 - she came in ninth.

In 1983, Ms Kathie Lee Lee Beng took eighth place, the best showing by a Singapore contestant in the pageant so far.

In response to critics who said she did well only because the pageant was hosted here, Ms Teo says candidly: "At times, I do think I got into the top 10 because I represented the host country."

Then she adds: "But I also believe my confidence and personality helped. Not every representative of the host country has made it to the top 10."

Ms Teo, who graduated from the National University of Singapore in 1991 with an honours degree in biochemistry, went on to establish a career as an image trainer.

She joined the Service Quality (SQ) Centre, a service training and consultancy set up by Singapore Airlines and the then National Productivity Board, as an image trainer. She conducted workshops on customer service and was later promoted to customer service manager.

In 1988, she set up her own image consultancy, The Leading Image.

The divorced mother of two sons, now aged 15 and 17, says: "After the birth of my two sons, I decided to set up an image and etiquette consultancy as it gave me time to volunteer at their schools as well as at the church I go to."

Read the full interview here.

  >> Next

(Photos: Marion Nicole Teo, ST, TNP, Wanbao)




prev next
Hide Thumbnails
readers' comments


Copyright © 2013 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.