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Tea with Minhua Li | #TeaWithQueens

Hello everyone! I hope the start of March has been treating you well! I know we missed last month's Tea With Queens, but I'm back this month with an amazing queen, and just in time to get you guys hyped up for the upcoming Mrs & Classic Mrs Singapore Pageant! I got the pleasure of meeting Minhua during last year's pageant, and I see her every now and then during the other pageants as well!

I believe you've probably read a few articles here and there when she was just crowned Mrs Singapore Universe 2019, but in case you didn't, this amazing lady sells vegetables for a living with her husband, and has a double degree in law and finance.

"Regardless of my title/achievements in pageantry, I know for sure that my husband and children will always support me and be proud of me! The family bond is stronger than ever."

She shared that running a business with her husband has not only allowed them to strengthen their marriage, but has also allowed them have a good work-life balance. This would mean that they get to enjoy every milestone their children reach. Minhua shared that she is a very family-oriented person, and being able to work from home allows her to sustain the business, and attend to her children whenever they need her, which I think is something almost every parent would hope for!

Now, more about her pageant journey: Minhua isn't actually new to the pageant scene, she was one of the finalists of Miss Singapore Universe in 2013 but had to withdraw from the competition because she was getting married that same year. Of course, she had lingering thoughts of winning a crown. Surprisingly, she didn't really intend to sign up for Mrs Singapore at first until she signed her daughter up for 'Little Cinderella' and was encouraged to sign up for the Mrs Pageant. She wasn't too fond of the idea at first, but her husband encouraged her to re-live her pageant dreams, and she also took it as an opportunity to be a role model to her daughter.

"Following my daughter through her pageant, I realised that she is very shy and lacked stage confidence. I wanted to help her by being her role model, to show her that if mummy can do it, so can you. That ignited my interest all over again."

I think this was one of the more interesting reasons to join a pageant, although it was also something for herself, it was more than just about her. It was also for her daughter who was being shy and reserved during the Little Cinderella Pageant. Incase you didn't know yet, preparing for a pageant requires sacrifices, including being away from the family for a while when you go overseas for a photoshoot or international pageants. For a mother with young kids, I'm sure that would be hard, but she pushed through and she really became the best role model for her little girl!

Of course, she did have similar sentiments about beauty pageants as most people do at some point in her life. However, after joining the Mrs Singapore pageant, those feelings changed. It was more than just being judged for your physical looks, but also your charity work and talents. Of course, she made good friends during her journey, and none of those backstabbing toxicity that happens in the movies or on TV.

Minhua shared that she found both the local and international pageants really enjoyable and found that she had evolved into a better version of herself and is still seeking to improve herself by engaging in more voluntary work. She also mentioned that her husband constantly reminded her through her pageant journeys that there was nothing more important than being herself, and to just enjoy the journey - which I think she did! One of her favourite things about her pageant journeys was getting to meet the other contestants and being able to build relationships with them while learning about the different cultures and backgrounds. I could imagine it would be a great eye-opener and a refreshing experience!

Of course, the icing on the cake was when she won the Mrs Singapore Universe 2019 title! She shared that she felt so much happiness, being able to not only reach the goals she had set for herself, but exceed them as well! I think her daughter must've been really proud and inspired by her mummy's achievements! She shared that she was still surprised and even kept asking her husband if she had really won such an amazing title days after the coronation!

Minhua mentioned that she couldn't have done it without the support of her family, and that she was also super grateful to ERM and Angela (Managing Director of ERM) for giving her the opportunity in the beginning!

Apart from the title of Mrs Singapore Universe 2019, she also won the "Mrs Mirage Aesthetic 2019" award, and placed 11th in the international pageant! Not forgetting, she won the "Mrs Angel Heart" during the international pageant as well, reflecting all the volunteer work she had been participating in!

Of course, the pageant journey wasn't all carefree and fun, Minhua shared that she had to overcome her stage fright. Honestly, I couldn't really tell she had stage fright, I felt she held herself together on (and off) stage really well. Stage fright was something she struggled with, even in university, she even had comments from her classmate that she wouldn't be able to speak in the courtroom in front of the judge because she turned bright red and stuttered through a presentation. Despite those comments, she practiced hard and worked on her stage presence at home in front of friends and children. Obviously, she's come so far, and I sure didn't see her turn bright red or see her stutter at all during her Q&A! It also made her realise that all she needed to do was be comfortable in her own skin, and really just be herself. With that in mind, she really overcame her stage fright.

"Then I realised that the best thing I could do, was to be myself! All along, I had been my own biggest hurdle. Believing that I am the best version of myself, and there is no other person who can do a better job of being 'me' than me.."

Like I mentioned earlier, being away from her kids was one of the harder things she had to overcome during the various pageant photoshoots and even more so, during the international pageant! She mostly worked on her phone when she was done with the pageant events of the day. She admitted that although she was homesick, her kids became more independent, which was a blessing in disguise! Of course, she was really grateful towards her husband for taking over her duties at home while she was away. You can tell that her husband is just so generous with his support!

The international pageant spanned over 11 days, and this usually means that all the contestants will be hyper focused on pageant activities, unlike in the local pageant, where the events and visitations are spread out over a few months. We can only imagine how tiring it would be to be so focused on the competition for 11 days straight - let's not forget that she was still working form her phone before she went to bed while she was overseas! Not missing the point that the international had 90 contestants while the local one only had 24, it must've been quite an intense experience especially since she was away from home too! Of course, Minhua did not disappoint despite the large responsibility and stress that would have come along with it.

Well, I'm sure quite a few of us would be interested to know what Minhua would like to change about her pageant journey, so take a guess. I was surprised myself, because most queens shared that they'd either spend more time practicing their walk or not change a thing at all, but Minhua mentioned she wished she spent more time learning to cook! If you're confused, the Mrs Singapore pageant has a cooking competition, and Minhua admitted to not having too big of an interest in cooking, but has managed to cooking simple dishes for her children! it's nice to see that some contestant do not take the cooking round lightly!

"It is not rare for one to be unwilling to move out of her comfort zone, but if you don't you will never improve and know what you are capable of. The world is constantly moving forward, and no one will like being left behind. Challenge yourself to take the step out of your comfort zone and an exciting experience awaits!"

"My biggest and most important advice will be given to me by my husband - to just be yourself and enjoy the journey. Be true to yourself and those around you by being sincere, and this in turn, will be reciprocated to you in terms of finding real friends on your journey."

Really wise words, and I think is something that anyone can learn from, not only if you're thinking of joining a pageant, but if you're going into a new environment or even just trying to improve your social skills, just be yourself because the right people will love you for who you really are! Earlier I mentioned that Minhua felt that she has been able to become a better version of herself through the journey - finding her confidence as well as kicking her stage fright to the curb. She is also more involved with charity and voluntary work as well.

I hope Minhua's story has inspired all of you as it has inspired me. She is absolutely fun and I cannot be happier for her! I'll be seeing you guys in my next blogpost, but in the meantime, you can find Minhua through her social media!




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