KOTA KINABALU: Two finalists from Sabah are among the 17 selected for the Miss Universe Malaysia 2013 beauty competition.
They are 24-year-old May Salitah Naru Kiob from Kota Kinabalu and Jassinta Mirasol, 25, from Tawau.
The other finalists are Angely Yew, 25, Alor Setar; Carey Ng, 23, Kuala Lumpur; Karissa Simon, 23, Kuching; Marissa Paramaraj, 22, Petaling Jaya; Naomi Chandrasegar, 24, Petaling Jaya; Natalia Ng Mei Mei, 24, Petaling Jaya; Samantha James, 18, Kuala Lumpur; Sarah Schipper, 25, Taiping; Shareeta Selvaraj, 22, Petaling Jaya; Symren Kaur, 20, Kuala Lumpur; Chammaine Tan, 20, Penang; Kelsey Rabindran, 23, Sunway; Leanndrea Paramaraj, 21, Petaling Jaya; Trisha Tuck, 20, Kedah and Rice Hing Zhiyu, 21, Kuantan.
May who loves reading and surfing the internet, refused to let comments that she was too short to represent Malaysia in a pageant at an international level be a hindrance.
She rather drew her inspiration from Miss USA this year, who is petite herself. Nevertheless, she is grateful for the opportunity to participate in the pageant and is all set to show Malaysia what she¡¯s made of.
May loves being part of competitions, describing herself as a very competitive person. She enjoys the thrill of competing, adding that it challenges her each time she takes part in any competition, regardless of whether she wins or not.
She has previously participated in other pageants, as well as competitions related to public speaking and debating, swimming and singing in choirs.
“In order to be competitive, one has to be determined, focused and passionate in everything that one wants to achieve,” she said.
May also has a unique ability to entertain other people and make them laugh by impersonating different characters. She hopes to be a TV host one day.
Jassinta would like to inspire other women that it isn¡¯t beauty alone on the outside that matters but also the personality that they bring together with them that will win them the pageant title.
“I appreciate the various cultural backgrounds we enjoy here in Malaysia. Having studied in the field of tourism management has helped me to develop an in-depth knowledge about the various cultures and traditions here, while having friends from other backgrounds and states have given her a deep respect for each others¡¯ beliefs, despite being different,” she said.
Listing playing sports, especially basketball; travelling and experiencing adventures things in life as her hobbies, Jassinta garners joy from helping other people and motivates her to constantly strive towards becoming a better person.
She has participated in various charitable works involving old folks, foster children, animals and the environment. By helping other people, she has also learnt to appreciate life, rather than blaming others for a particular circumstance.
Meanwhile, Andrea Fonseka, National Director of Miss Universe Malaysia Organization (MUMO), said the application response for this latest installment of the pageant was very overwhelming and better than expected. “Although the pageant is still in its early stages, these 17 finalists have already come a long way to emerge top amongst all the applications sent in. It is very exciting to be working with these ladies, and we are confident that they will make for a thrilling pageant,¡± said Andrea in a statement yesterday.
Besides winning the eligibility to vie for the Miss Universe title, the winner of the Miss Universe Malaysia title will also receive a monthly salary from the Miss Universe Malaysia Organization, and more than RM200,000 in prizes.
She will join the ranks of past title holders including Nadine Anne Thomas, Deborah Henry, Andrea Fonseka and reigning queen Kimberley Leggett, who have all gone on to great heights in their respective careers since winning the pageant.
The top four finalists will each receive a full scholarship from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology to pursue any course of their choosing while the remaining finalists will receive a 50% scholarship from the university.
The Miss Universe Malaysia pageant is not only the most prestigious beauty pageant here, but unlike other pageants, where people only recognize the pageant winner, all the finalists of the Miss Universe Malaysia pageant in the past have become household names,¡± added Fonseka.
She explained that this is in part due to what the pageant stands for, which is to enable young women like these, to realize their dreams and to become role models to others with the message that success, in whatever we choose to do, is attainable.
She also stressed that candidates need not win the pageant to achieve their dreams.
These girls have already come a long way to make this thus far in the pageant, and are on their way to doing great things. I am proud that last year¡¯s finalists are all doing well for themselves. Second runner-up Boon Lu Xanne is now a motivational speaker, third runner-up Juanita Ramayah is now a radio DJ for a major radio station while another finalist Suchitra Kumar even had a stint on TV as a veejay. To put it simply, being in the pageant has been life-changing for these girls,¡± she commented.
The pageant in Malaysia, part of the greater international Miss Universe franchise, owned by real-estate moghul Donald Trump, will take on a similar reality TV series format as last year, but with some exciting twists.
The series, titled The Next Miss Universe Malaysia, will see the finalists living together in a Beauty Camp¡±, a beautiful bungalow in Bandar Setia Alam, official venue sponsor for the pageant. The series will be aired over six episodes on 8TV later this year. This will culminate in a grand finale, which is expected to take place in December at the S P Setia Convention Centre.