It's been a while since my last Tea with Queens, and I'm glad to be back with another piece with Mrs Singapore Universe winner: Clara Lee! I met Clara in one of the earlier pageants, in fact, it was my very first Mrs Singapore pageant where I met her! She was a very friendly and caring person, even when I first interacted with her. I did bump into her once or twice on film sets as well, and she's as joyful and lovely as always!
So it's been a while since her reign, but once a queen, always a queen!
I witnessed part of her pageant journey myself as I got to actually blog during her pageant! Unlike the previous queens that I have featured in TWQ. I do know them personally, but I didn't witness their journey myself. Clara was one of those contestants that interacted with me, which I thought was nice, because usually, I don't get to interact too much with the contestants as they're always busy with the event and I'm busy snapping photos/videos!
I know Clara, but you guys may not, so let's talk a little more about this lovely lady!
Clara identifies herself as someone who has a passion for helping the disadvantaged and also being involved in tackling environmental issues. This of course, has lead her to join the Mrs & Classic Mrs Singapore pageant in 2016. She definitely had a lot of encouragement and support from her family, she shared that it was particularly her son, who had encouraged her to join the pageant! I'm sure he must be so proud!
"I thought about it for a long time and bucked up the courage to join. I am so grateful to my son, my mum and siblings who gave me encouragement and stood by me on my journey. I would also like to thank ERM for their guidance and giving me this opportunity to be an inspiration and to represent Singapore at international functions. All these will be forever etched in my heart"
She mentioned that her journey had taught her so much about self-improvement, maintaining one's well being and being able to help her fellow contestants. One of her favourite parts of her journey was being involved in charity movements, which included sourcing for funds to help the underprivileged and bringing joy to the disadvantaged.
During her pageant journey, one of their adopted charities was Dignity Kitchen, where the contestants took the roles of being 'hawkers for the day' - they cooked food and sold them to raise funds for the cause! If you'd like to read more about their time at Dignity Kitchen, I'll link the old blogposts below and you guys can check it out! On top of the 'hawker' event at Dignity Kitchen, Clara also helped to raise funds for the underprivileged, disadvantaged and disabled at Retired Senior Voluntary Programme. She also sang at the Society of the Aged Sick with her fellow contestants and befriended many elderly patients. Needless to say, all her efforts and her bright personality brought a smile to their faces!
Besides the charities that she has worked with during her pageant days, Clara has performed at many charities like "Down Syndrome Association", "ICS" Rewards Visits, "YCH" Home + "SASCO Befriending Activity" and joined in helping out at community events like recent "Fu Dai Charity and Community", "Catholic Welfare Services", "Singapore Cancer Association" & "Fund Raising Contribution in Ration Distribution at Macpherson + Telok Blangah + Beach Road + Whampoa" to low income and needy families, as well as involved in "Kindness Movements & Touching Their Lives" simply by having games session with many home patients like Yishun Community Hospital, Kerdang Kerbau Hospital, and Handicaps Welfare Association!
Of course, it would be pretty obvious that she won the subsidiary award 'Mrs Charity Queen 2016'. No surprises there!
When she won the title 'Classic Mrs Singapore Universe 2016', she described it as 'a fabulous feeling', and I'm sure every queen would understand that amazing rush of emotions!
"These titles gave me more encouragement to follow my conviction of using the beauty platform to spread the message of empowerment to those who wish to improve upon themselves and help others in the process."
After winning her titles, she was invited to various charity events which then gave her even more opportunities to not only showcase the person that she is, but to also find her own hidden talents and skills, as well as giving her another confidence boost! If you guys are interested, you can definitely check out the blogpost on the talent round as well.
I always like to ask the queens if they would change anything that they did during their pageant journey, and Clara mentioned that she wouldn't change a thing, but she'd hope for a new subsidiary title to be added: "Ms/Mrs Environment" which I thought was interesting! You can definitely tell that she truly cares for the Earth, and interestingly, she won the title of Mrs Classic Universe Earth 2017!
Clara shared about her efforts to care for the environment, including her participation in activities by Environmental Challenge Organisation (ECO) Singapore, as well as her efforts to spread the words 'Reduce, Recycle and Reuse" during the Jurong Carnival 3Rs Project where most activities revolved around recycling efforts at void decks, and lastly, she participated in a beach clean up by Canberra Constituency's ECO Singapore project.
That's definitely a huge number of environmental activities! She's definitely someone who sets a good example for the younger generation.
Before we move on, just incase some people feel that the pageant world doesn't care for the environment, I'd like to shed a spotlight onto pageants like Miss Earth, as their objectives revolve around saving the environment! Different pageants do have their different objectives, visions and focuses, so I hope this helps to clear the air for my readers who do not really know too much about pageants.
Like I said, pageants are more than just a sparkly crown and a beautiful face!
Coming back to Clara's journey, she recalled her international pageant being very well organised. Despite the fact that she was amongst people from various countries, and they didn't all speak the same language, she still felt welcomed. She was proud to represent Singapore and not only did she walk away with the title of 'Mrs Classic Universe Earth', she forged new friendships that she'll be holding dear for life!
Prior to joining the pageant, Clara always saw pageants as a platform for younger women to inspire and help others, Of course, having fulfilled all these things, she admits that her original views on pageants have not changed, apart from the fact that older women were also given the same opportunities.
"My view about beauty pageants was these were meant for only the young and beautiful. However, with encouragement from my family, I found out that ERM pageants had a platform for married ladies who had a message of universal love/helping others'
Life after the pageant still included charity work for Clara. Despite having helped so many charities during her pageant journey, her eyes were open to more hidden underprivileged people.
"I saw how fortunate we are in comparison; how important it is for us to acknowledge close-ones for their contributions to our well being and cherish family bonds; to always show graciousness and be thankful for all good things bestowed on us"
Words of wisdom, just for you guys!
If these words of wisdom aren't enough, here are her words of encouragement:
"Take the first step towards realising your dream. Step out of your comfort zone. Be BOLD! Once you achieved your dreams, be a source of inspiration to others. Reach out to the disadvantaged and underprivileged, Use the platform to do good for human kind'
I hope you guys were totally inspired by Clara! As promised, I'll be ending off this Tea With Queens with links to my blogposts from the Mrs & Classic Mrs Singapore 2016 pageant:
Press Conference | Talent & Cooking Segments | Charity Day @ Dignity Kitchen | Grand Finals
I hope you guys enjoyed this blogpost and that you are utterly inspired by this wonderful lady! I'll see you guys in my next blogpost!