June is coming to an end! I hope you guys are still staying safe despite phase 2 having begun! In this month's Tea With Queens, I decided to share Melanis's journey, I met her last year during the Miss Singapore Beauty Pageant. She then went to Korea to represent Singapore in World Miss University 2019.
Let's get to know a little more about Melanis, she's currently an undergraduate majoring in Communications and New Media in NUS. Her pageant journey did not actually start when she joined MSBP in 2019, but a few years back when her mother signed her up for the Little Miss Cinderella Beauty Pageant when she was in Primary school. She admitted she did not take that pageant very seriously. As she grew older, she started having thoughts of joining a beauty pageant again but did not have much self-confidence to do so.
She shared that she had two separate occasions where she had a 'calling' to join a pageant - watching Miss Congeniality, starring Sandra Bullock and when she covered post-pageant stories of Miss Singapore Universe 2017 when she was working with The New Paper.
"Her (Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality) journey seemed pretty fun in the pageant and it appeared like everything I wanted to do - represent women, represent my state/country, to share my story and to gain that sisterhood."
Despite having some reservations about joining the pageant in 2019, she stumbled upon ERM's post about MSBP 2019's auditions, and she took it as a sign to just go ahead and register herself. Of course, watching a pageant is a completely different experience from competing in a pageant! I think something we can learn from this is that taking a leap of faith can really bring you places!
"It's so hard for me to pick a specific favourite moment - I would say my favourite thing about both local and international pageants were the experiences with the sisters I made. When I look back at my pageant journey - it's not the judging or dresses I remember the most, but truly, it was the times and fun I had with my fellow pageant sisters."
Melanis had nothing but good memories to share about her various pageant journeys. Again, beauty pageants are not full of backstabbing and catfights (I remembered Melanis mentioning this during her Q&A during the MSBP2019 grand finals as well) and I hope that by sharing the experiences of various beauty queens, people will see that there are friendships and sisterhoods forged. Melanis shared that she had a good relationship with her local and international pageant sisters - from having little gatherings during their pageant days to outings outside of pageant activities. I'm sure they still keep in touch today!
On the flipside, she shared that handling hate-driven comments on social media posed as one of the harder things to handle during her time in the pageants. However, she picked herself back up again and remembered to be proud of who she was as a person. Melanis also mentioned that the international pageants brought on very long rehearsal hours and on top of that, she had a lot of research and 'homework' to do for her international pageant. The World Miss University pageant has forums with very specific topics where the delegates speak up and discuss about the issue, and some of them posed unfamiliar, so there was a lot of preparation for her to do with limited time.
Melanis mentioned that getting into the top 8 was exciting, but being part of the top 5 was one of the greatest moments of here life! Of course, she treasured her moments in both the local and international pageant so much that she wouldn't want to change a thing about her journeys.
Melanis shared that she was filled with pride during her international pageant and it was an interesting experience to meet ladies from different cultures, up-bringing and languages. Going into the international pageant with an open mind was important, meeting and interacting with the other delegates allowed them to accept and learn about each other's cultures. Melanis shared an anecdote or two about the times she spent bonding with the other delegates, and I think this interaction is so important because it's another step closer to everyone living in harmony.
"..We call each other by countries and I was so used to being called "Singapore" or "Miss Singapore" in WMU that it took a while to get used to my name back in Singapore. At the same time, being called by your country makes you feel proud. My sense of belonging and pride to Singapore greatly increased in WMU 2019 and I was so honoured to be able to represent this beautiful country on the international stage."
During her international pageant in Jeju, Korea, she shared that she got to experience many new activities such as horse riding, jet boat rides and go-karting! All these, on top of their visitations relating to the pageant. It was good to know that she really got along well with the other ladies too, she mentioned that so many of them cried at the airport when they had to say goodbye!
"My favourite anecdote of this: Miss Pakistan eating a rambutan! HAHAHA She hangs out with Miss Malaysia and I at the hotel buffet and we were so confused when we saw her using a knife to slice open the rambutan! Miss Malaysia and I ended up teaching some of the girls how to open and eat rambutan. It was really cute.."
"I used to be bullied when I was young so I had self-esteem issues and lots of insecurities growing up. The me from five years ago would never expect myself to make it this far. I never thought I could win, or even qualify for a local beauty pageant but I just dived right in and went for it - now, I've represented Singapore in an international pageant."
I'm not sure what could be more encouraging to anyone who's debating on joining a pageant right now! Melanis said that she had gained a lot of self-confidence from her experience, and on top of that, gained many friendships as well.
"The biggest regret would be not trying. Don't leave your dreams as a fantasy, for it may one day become a regret. If you truly want something, go for it all the way and never give up."
I hope you guys enjoyed this blogpost and that you'll pluck up the courage to register for a pageant like Melanis did if you've been sitting on that idea for a while! You'll never know until you try. Stay safe everyone, I'll see you in my next blogpost!