It's been a while since I've done a Tea With Queens, and I'm glad to bring it back with Christina Cai, who has become a dear friend of mine! Christina's pageant journey started in 2017 when she joined the Miss Singapore Beauty Pageant 2017 and won the Miss Singapore Chinatown title! During her time in the competition, she and her batch mates faced quite a lot of harsh criticism. However, this strong-hearted young lady did not let that faze her at all, and she just kept going!
Christina has since joined a few more pageants in the last two years, thus I decided that doing a two-part for her Tea With Queens feature would be better! I'll be covering her local pageant experiences in this post, and in next week's post, her international journeys.
Miss Singapore Beauty Pageant 2017 (MSBP2017) was where her pageant journey began. Although it wasn't always something she had always dreamed of, she decided to join the pageant just because she wanted to something to do during her school holidays. I suppose you can say the start of her journey was rather serendipitous! She shared that joining the pageant wasn't really something that she did to boost her confidence, but rather to just simply explore something that she isn't used to.
Ever since her reign in 2017, Christina shared that she had a craving to be back on the pageant stage. After she had fulfilled her duties as Miss Singapore Chinatown 2017, she was constantly volunteering and helping out with the subsequent ERM pageants, which made her miss the stage. This lead her into joining Miss Earth Singapore 2019 (MES2019), she admitted that it was a bit of a stretch because she knew the one of the winning criteria was being a minimum of 165cm tall, but that didn't stop her from joining it anyway.
A lot of people would know Christina as a dancer, and during her pageant journey, it was evident that she was born to be on stage. Even now, she choreographs things for the MSBP stage - if you saw what the MSBP2019 finalists performed during their Charity Day.
I remembered watching her on stage for the first time during MSBP2017 and it was just amazing. She got into the top 4 for the talent round and despite not winning the Best in Talent that year, I thought she did amazing. I didn't get to attend her MES finals, but I did get to see a video of her dance, and I think she definitely deserved to win Miss Talent.
She also took away other subsidiary awards during her journey:
Ms Nails Couture 2017
Ms Popularity 2019
Ms Talent 2019
She shared that her MSBP journey was a relatively independent one. She admitted that she felt a little more competitive since it was her first competition, so she didn't mingle with the other contestants more than she felt she needed to. Although it didn't paint her in the best light, it didn't shake her confidence and she stayed true to herself.
I think that this would be something important to all ladies who are joining or thinking of joining a pageant. Being yourself is important, because eventually people will see you for who you are and the right people will stay by your side till the very end.
She also shared that her experiences as a dancer and dance student did help her during the pageant. Mostly, it was about discipline and responsibility. She recalled always being one of the first few to reach for events! She also shared about how her dressing style changed during the journey, previously she was always in track pants (dancers, I'm sure we can all relate!) and she found herself needing to get prettier clothing for the fringe events. I'd say it made her a little more conscious of her image, in a good way!
Of course, everyone knows the 'drama' that went down during MSBP2017. I still have the nasty hate comments on my vlog as proof. It was pretty savage and quite uncalled for, in my opinion. Then again, putting yourself out there in a pageant and the internet will definitely garner hate from somewhere. However, Christina did not feel affected by the hate that was being directed at the finalists, which I felt was important as a beauty queen.
People will love you, people will hate you, but what really matters is how you react to it, and I felt that Christina did herself a favour by not letting herself get affected by it. However, she did mention that she didn't receive the worst of it all as some contestants did receive more 'hate' and 'animosity' than she did.
As for her MES journey, she shared that it was a lot for relaxed as compared to her MSBP journey. She shared that MES felt a lot less competitive as a whole. Having less contestants did make her feel closer to her fellow finalists, but at the same time, it still kindled her competitive spirit. She shared that her time with the MES pageant was a lot more spread out, and the training provided was more extensive with extra rehearsals to make sure everyone was on the same page.
She shared that the talent segment in MES wasn't public, and it was optional as well. I'd say this makes MES a great pageant for girls who want to give pageants a go for the first time as not everything is out in the open, though Christina pointed out that being put on the stage 'without a choice' would help to train up confidence for the finals as that would be held on stage in front of an audience.
She also shared that one of her favourite things about her MES journey was actually getting to meet the reigning Miss Earth. It was something that she felt was special because it's not everyday that you get to meet the international winner of the pageant before she sits at the judging table! I think that would have been a very special event for all the girls - to be able to meet the reigning queen and to not only have a meal with her, but to also get some words of encouragement and advice from her as well.
When I asked her about what she'd like to change about any of her pageant journeys, she shared that she wouldn't want to change anything because these various experiences have moulded her into the person that she is today. She had no regrets and she's grateful for the friendships that were forged during the pageant as well.
Prior to joining the pageants, Christina admitted that she wasn't very aware of the various pageants that Singapore had and joining the pageants opened her eyes to what being a beauty queen truly entailed. At the beginning, she didn't expect the pageant to open doors for her, be in for her career or just being able to meet inspiring and influential people.
Of course, I had to ask for some advice when it comes to joining pageants. One key thing that I felt people do need to know, is that joining a pageant isn't really something you can just jump into with a fixed mindset. Joining a pageant is more than just a stepping stone, but it's a full-on experience that you'd need to immerse yourself into in order to reap its benefits.
Christina shared that there were a lot of preparations for those few moments you're on stage, and it's like preparing for any other performance on stage - you'll need to work on various aspects like your walk, posture and the way you present yourself. Additionally, research on previous pageants also proved to be helpful, especially when it comes to preparing for your Q&A, interviews, or even just meetings with sponsors. So ladies, do your research!
I hope you guys enjoyed this TWQ piece! Do look forward to part 2 next week where Christina shares her experiences during the international pageants. I'll see you then!
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